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

Posted by Tim Ireland at March 7, 2005

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

BBC – Nicola Calipari: An ‘extraordinary hero’: On Friday, Nicola Calipari was an unknown Italian secret agent, close to completing another successful mission for his country. A few hours and a selfless and fatal act later, he had become a hero mourned by his entire nation. Calipari was on the verge of delivering Italian journalist Giuliana Sgrena to safety after her hostage ordeal in Iraq, when their car came under US army fire.

Guardian – Italian hostage accuses US of trying to kill her as thousands mourn her rescuer: The former Italian hostage who saw her rescuer shot dead at a US checkpoint in Baghdad said yesterday they might have been targeted because of US objections to Italy’s policy of negotiating with kidnappers.

Independent – Italian hostage tells of rescuer shielding her from bullets: Piero Colari, Ms Sgrena’s partner, told reporters angrily: “There are only two explanations, either it was an ambush or those soldiers were complete idiots.”








Posted by Tim Ireland at March 1, 2005

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

Hrm. Best make that; another *opinion* that Iran is next…

Please investigate/consider this and then act as you see fit.

You may need a grain of salt and a bit of steady-headedness.








Posted by Tim Ireland at February 28, 2005

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

Independent – New charge undermines Blair claims on Iraq war
Independent – The Crawford Deal: did Blair sign up for war at Bush’s Texas ranch in April 2002?

Hmm. How interesting that Blair knew this was coming and needed a justification and then all of the sudden a there was a ‘real and immediate’ threat. That was neither real nor immediate.








Rebekah Wade has a thing for horsesYou may recall that the Osbournes got robbed the last time (almost) everybody was talking about security measures and the legal advice given for the invasion of Iraq (November 22 and 23 2004) but I’m *pretty* sure The Sun doesn’t have a team of professional crims on the payroll to provide timely distractions.

No, what I find most curious about this two-day sequence of front pages is that horse. Remember the puppy thrown off an overpass that got more coverage than the Abu Ghraib torture victims? (Click here and scroll to bottom.)

Now, as British soldiers are found guilty of abusing Iraqi prisoners and sentencing is nigh, Wade has decided to reserve the front page for the Queen’s guards getting a horse drunk.

This is yet another instance where Rebekah Wade seems to be suggesting that Iraqis are less important than animals. Either that, or she’s been reading Bloggerheads and this is a secret message to let me know that she has a thing for horses.

(ahem)

Speaking of such matters, the fun continues on Page 3 where, following Blair’s somewhat desperate ploy of upping the minimum wage, work-a-day peeps (who would well-and-truly freak out if they knew about this tax-dodging motherhumper) are assured by The Girl With The Boobs that all is well and the economy is strong.

Today Jak (19, from Tunbridge Wells) is delighted that British business is booming. And she’s doing her own bit for exports – by taking 10,000 advance orders for her single Come On. She adds: “Profits are up for British business. That’s a good sign the economy is doing just fine.”

Hrm. The propaganda is there, but somehow someone also found space to work in a plug for Jak’s single. This *may* have something to do with Jak being the stepdaughter of an executive editor.

UPDATE – Boris Johnson – Sorry, Blair, but that is so much phooey: Under the Bill that went through the Commons last night, the Home Secretary (the chap with the big ears and the white bumfluff beard) will be able to inflict this incarceration indefinitely upon any British person that he suspects – on the basis of we are not allowed to know what evidence – of being involved in “terrorism-related activities”. Above all, he will be able to do this without any obligation to bring that person to trial, and there, I think, he goes too far.

UPDATE – Perfect.co.uk – Minority Report (an extract won’t do it justice, I’m afraid; you’ll have to go and read it)

UPDATE – Peter Gasston – Proud to be civilised: None of the Iraqis were asked to give evidence; the British army says it could not find them. The Independent found them in 48 hours, living within a few km of the British base (note: the story is not online at the moment due to legal issues). They claim they were beaten by the British soldiers as suspected thieves; some of them, however, were employees of the camp.

UPDATE – Ahahahahahahahaha! Curtail those civil liberties! Quickly! Before the terrorists get us! Don’t think! Do it NOW! Chop-chop! Oooh, look out… I think I can hear them coming (and so on and so forth)….

The Scum – Don’t delay: There is no reason now for the Tories to stand in the way of the anti-terror laws. The Government has listened to the concerns of those who say, rightly or wrongly, that locking up suspects solely on the say-so of a politician is wrong. On Monday an amendment will be made so that a judge is involved in this process at an early stage. That will safeguard civil liberties. So Parliament must get on with making this new law effective as soon as possible. Every delay is one more day when the terrorists could inflict a dreadful outrage on this country and its citizens. No political party would ever be forgiven if its actions caused a delay which allowed a disaster to happen.

UPDATE – Press Release: Boris Johnson MP denounces Government’s latest Anti-Terror plans

Boris, you fool! Can you not hear them coming for us?! RIGHT *NOW*?! Stop this madness and get on board before we all get blowed up, man!

;O)

UPDATE – The UK Today – End of an era: And what a corrupting influence power is. Back in 1994, the Labour Shadow Home Secretary stated that; “the liberty of the subject should be taken away not by the act of a politician, but by a court of law.” The name of this clear-thinking individual? Tony Blair.

UPDATE – Via WibblerBoing Boing – UK Labour MP flays govt over terror laws – incredible speech!: UK Labour MP Brian Sedgemore has given his last speech in Parliament, and it’s a doozy: he excoriates – nay, flays alive – the Blair government and Labour’s tame backbenchers for collaborating to turn Britain into a police state in the name of fighting terrorism.








Yes. Two in a row. Deal with it.

Climate change: Someone’s blowing smoke to hide or compromise the science.

Bush to Putin: “…the Russian government must renew a commitment to democracy and the rule of law.”

Don’t say “Pffft!” yet…. you may want to reserve some of your morning quota for this.

Ever watch those Funny Home Video shows where children are falling over or being mauled by pets, and yet their parents think it’s more important to keep the camera rolling? That’s all I have to say about this.

UK: British soldiers found guilty of abuse
UK: Four face jail after guilty verdicts in Iraqi prisoner abuse court martial
US army conducting 100+ criminal investigations into claims of detainee abuse in Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay

Meanwhile…

Majority halved for Clarke’s terror law
Anti-terror Bill wins second reading after Clarke warns of ‘Madrid attack’

Yes, the threat will be greater during the election campaign. That’s been my opinion for quite some time. But I also believe that the threat is greatly exacerbated when politicians manipulate that threat or the public’s perception of it. It compromises readiness, and it encourages the terrorists. After all, Madrid was a big win for the terrorists, but only because Aznar tried to play games with the atrocity.

(UPDATE – BBC – Election ‘could be terror target’)

Speaking of manipulating the terrorist threat for political gain…

UK govt feared Iraq war illegal

Guardian – Transcripts show No 10’s hand in war legal advice: Transcripts of evidence given in private by the attorney general, Lord Goldsmith, to an official inquiry suggest that the crucial advice on the legality of war, presented to parliament in his name, was written for him by two of Tony Blair’s closest allies.

So that’s ‘independent’ intelligence backed up by ‘independent’ legal advice. Well, I feel better.

UPDATE – Chicken Yoghurt: Being a novice at Doublethink I’m struggling somewhat with these two statements from the Attorney General over whether he equivocated over his legal advice with regard to the Iraq war and whether his subsequent summary of that advice given in an answer to a parliamentary question was in fact written by Number 10.








Posted by Tim Ireland at February 18, 2005

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

Guardian – Papers reveal Bagram abuse: New evidence has emerged that US forces in Afghanistan engaged in widespread Abu Ghraib-style abuse, taking “trophy photographs” of detainees and carrying out rape and sexual humiliation. Documents obtained by the Guardian contain evidence that such abuses took place in the main detention centre at Bagram, near the capital Kabul, as well as at a smaller US installation near the southern city of Kandahar. The documents also indicate that US soldiers covered up abuse in Afghanistan and in Iraq – even after the Abu Ghraib scandal last year.

This is from an embargoed press release from the ACLU. You can read a copy of it here.

Guardian – ‘Nobody is talking’: The evidence of two new books demonstrates that 9/11 created the will for new, harsher interrogation techniques of foreign suspects by the US and led to the abuses in Guantanamo, Iraq, Afghanistan and beyond. In a special report, James Meek reveals that it is the British who refined these methods, and who have provided the precedent for legalised torture

Nice double-meaning in that headline. Nobody’s talking.

And nobody’s investigating. One can only wonder why.

Also, nobody’s asking questions. Well, to be more accurate, nobody willing to ask genuine questions can get anywhere near Bush. Instead, whores lob softballs his way…

New York Times – The White House Stages Its ‘Daily Show’: It is a brilliant strategy. When the Bush administration isn’t using taxpayers’ money to buy its own fake news, it does everything it can to shut out and pillory real reporters who might tell Americans what is happening in what is, at least in theory, their own government.

Even if you don’t have a shred of humanity in you (or if you’re more concerned about the latest jobless figures for Blyth Valley) this should disturb you greatly.

Why?

Washington Post – War Helps Recruit Terrorists, Hill Told: The insurgency in Iraq continues to baffle the U.S. military and intelligence communities, and the U.S. occupation has become a potent recruiting tool for al Qaeda and other terrorist groups, top U.S. national security officials told Congress yesterday… “The Iraq conflict, while not a cause of extremism, has become a cause for extremists,” Goss said in his first public testimony since taking over the CIA. Goss said Abu Musab Zarqawi, a Jordanian terrorist who has joined al Qaeda since the U.S. invasion, “hopes to establish a safe haven in Iraq” from which he could operate against Western nations and moderate Muslim governments.

Meanwhile, we have this happening in Britain, while Blair’s supporters are busy depicting protest voters as petulant children wanting to ‘slap Tony’s wrist’ for purposes of self-gratification.

It’s the whole ‘naive peacenik’ thing again. We lack wisdom in the ways of the world, you see. If only we would open our eyes to the ‘truth’…

My eyes are open. And I can’t stop screaming.








Posted by Tim Ireland at February 16, 2005

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

Independent – British troops face new charges as bodies of Iraqi civilians are exhumed: Charges against British troops are believed to be imminent following fresh allegations of crimes committed in Iraq, including cases relating to the deaths of civilians. Army investigators have exhumed the bodies of civilians who were allegedly shot dead by soldiers in the British-controlled region of southern Iraq for investigators to perform forensic tests. Their reports are in the final legal stages with the Army Prosecuting Authority. The Independent has uncovered evidence relating to the deaths of six Iraqi civilians whose families claim they were killed by British troops. Two of the cases are being considered by the Army Prosecuting Authority and are expected to result in charges. It is not known whether British troops will face any charges in relation to the other cases but the Government is believed to be considering claims for compensation from the families.

If you read further, you’ll see that compensation for the accidental/unlawful death of a family member goes about as high as 800 squid if you’re an Iraqi.

Obviously compensation levels can’t be higher than this, otherwise Iraqis would be throwing women and children into firefights and under passing tanks in the hope of cashing in.








Posted by Tim Ireland at February 8, 2005

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

Guardian – Fraud and corruption: Forget the UN. The US occupation regime helped itself to $8.8 bn of mostly Iraqi money in just 14 months.

Of course, in the interests of world peace, it’s far more importnat that we undermine the UN. So feel free to ignore this (or, at your discretion, replace “but Clinton…” with “but the UN…”).

(Link via Bob Piper.)








Seymour Hersh – “We’ve Been Taken Over by a Cult”: …the amazing thing is we are been taken over basically by a cult, eight or nine neo-conservatives have somehow grabbed the government. Just how and why and how they did it so efficiently, will have to wait for much later historians and better documentation than we have now, but they managed to overcome the bureaucracy and the Congress, and the press, with the greatest of ease. It does say something about how fragile our Democracy is. You do have to wonder what a Democracy is when it comes down to a few men in the Pentagon and a few men in the White House having their way… there’s been a tremendous sea change in the government. A concentration of power…. We’re nowhere. The press is nowhere. The congress is nowhere. The military is nowhere. Every four-star General I know is saying, “Who is going to tell them we have no clothes?” Nobody is going to do it. Everybody is afraid to tell Rumsfeld anything. That’s just the way it is. It’s a system built on fear. It’s not lack of integrity, it’s more profound than that. Because there is individual integrity. It’s a system that’s completely been taken over – by cultists.

How can they get away with such a thing you ask?

In a word; television.

How Democracy Was Subverted in Peru: What they found was a stunningly bold and effective effort to circumvent three institutions key to maintaining democracy in Peru: the judiciary, the legislature, and the media. “Montesinos and Fujimori maintained the facade of democracy – the citizens voted, judges decided, the media reported – but they drained its substance,” McMillan and Zoido wrote. What’s more, by analyzing the size of the bribes, they demonstrate that the media, or more specifically, television, has become the most forceful of the checks and balances that underpin constitutional government.

But this is also enabled by an echo chamber in the press and on Teh Interwebs. And money. Lots and lots of dirty money.

McPaper – Report: PR spending doubled under Bush: The Bush administration has more than doubled its spending on outside contracts with public relations firms during the past four years, according to an analysis of federal procurement data by congressional Democrats.

Now, let’s turn our heads toward home…

Europhobia: As Clarke also told Channel Four News presenter Jon Snow, it is the media’s job to help the government spread “the truth” about the terrorists lurking around every corner, in the wardrobe, under the bed and behind the curtains (gotta love the Murdoch press). If the media carries on questioning the government, people might start to think that our wondrous leadership is doing things wrong. We can’t have that now, can we?

It almost sounds as if we’re going to end up with a system where people are detained without trial.. unless it’s a trial-by-media. Hang on a mo; retract “It almost sounds like…”

The Sun – I stayed at terror camp with Osama: One of the four Camp Delta prisoners now walking Britain’s streets came face to face with Osama Bin Laden in a terror camp, court documents reveal.

Court documents? Why, that almost suggests that this man had a trial. If so, then that’s news to me. Anyway, he’s been convicted by Murdoch, and that’s what counts…

The Sun – Truly terrifying: From his own mouth, Briton Richard Belmar admits that he was trained as a Muslim terrorist. He confirms he came face to face with al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden in Afghanistan. He reveals he was a disciple of Abu Qatada – Bin Laden’s so-called “Ambassador in Europe”. These admissions were not made under fear of torture but in a military tribunal with lawyers present. And yet Belmar is a free man. Despite warnings from the Pentagon that America considers Belmar a threat to security, Britain has taken him from the safety of Camp X-Ray in Cuba and set him loose in London. The transcript of Belmar’s legal hearing casts grave doubts on the wisdom of that action.

Ah, I see. When they say ‘court’, they mean a US military tribunal… one that has no bearing on this man’s legal status in this country. But trial-by-media operates a little differently, as you may well expect.

Oh, and I just love that – because he wasn’t actually strapped into a chair and being beaten at the time – The Scum presents Belmar’s statements to this tribunal as being untainted by 2+ years of incarcaration without hope of release, solitary confinement and torture.

Anyway, getting back to the burning beans, that nice Mr Murdoch is taking the assurances of the Bush administration and feeding them to the British public as ‘proof’. And – as Charles Clarke seems to think – it is their duty to do so.

You may want to revisit a few public reactions to the release of these men and see how many arguments in favour of their continued detention rely on total belief in their guilt. This belief is based largely on what they are fed by butt-munching neo-con media barons like Murdoch, who take ‘evidence’ that’s deemed inadmissible in this country, bypass all of that ‘due process’ nonsense and go straight to the lynching.

You may also want to get in touch with Mr Clarke today and have a few words. You can do so via his homepage (which helpfully advises us that Mr Clarke is still Secretary of State for Education and Skills, and therefore is well-placed to teach those pesky terrorists a lesson or two).

UPDATE (Feb 1) – Washington Post – Judge Rules Detainee Tribunals Illegal: A federal judge ruled yesterday that the Bush administration must allow prisoners at the military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to contest their detention in U.S. courts, concluding that special military reviews established by the Pentagon as an alternative are illegal. U.S. District Judge Joyce Hens Green said that the approximately 550 men held as “enemy combatants” are entitled to the advice of lawyers and to confront the evidence against them in those proceedings. But, she found, the Defense Department has largely denied them these “most basic fundamental rights” during the reviews conducted at Guantanamo Bay, in the name of protecting the United States from terrorism.








Posted by Tim Ireland at January 25, 2005

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

My, my… what a jolly day. Would anyone mind if I just posted a string of articles and then just held my heads in my hands and wept…?

ACLU – Newly Released Investigative Files Provide Further Evidence Soldiers Not Held Accountable for Abuse Investigative files released today by the American Civil Liberties Union suggest that the Army failed to aggressively investigate allegations of detainee abuse. Some of the investigations concern serious allegations of torture including electric shocks, forced sodomy and severe physical beatings. “Government investigations into allegations of torture and abuse have been woefully inadequate,” said ACLU Executive Director Anthony D. Romero. “Some of the investigations have basically whitewashed the torture and abuse. The documents that the ACLU has obtained tell a damning story of widespread torture reaching well beyond the walls of Abu Ghraib.”

Independent – US and UK ‘ignore torture by Iraqi police’: Iraqi security forces have been committing widespread torture and other human rights abuses while US and British authorities turn a blind eye, according to a report. The accusation that police and soldiers, trained by the occupying powers, are routinely mistreating detainees, including children, is made by the pressure group Human Rights Watch. In a report called The New Iraq – Torture and Ill-treatment of Detainees in Iraqi Custody, it has catalogued malpractice by security forces ranging from arbitrary arrest and severe beatings to extortion. It says the interim government of Iyad Allawi had flouted the principles for which the overthrow of Saddam Hussein was justified.

And here’s the report:
The New Iraq? Torture and ill-treatment of detainees in Iraqi custody

Meanwhile, in the land of liberty and freedom…

HRW – Human Rights Watch Opposes Gonzales Nomination: Human Rights Watch opposes the nomination of Alberto Gonzales to serve as Attorney General of the United States. Mr. Gonzales played a key role in providing legal justification for policies that led to torture and abuse of detainees in U.S. custody… Human Rights Watch has never before opposed the nomination of a cabinet official in the United States.

BBC – Guantanamo four flying back to UK: The last four British men held as terrorism suspects at Guantanamo Bay are expected back in the UK on Tuesday, after almost three years in US custody… Five other British detainees were freed from Guantanamo last year and were released without charge after questioning by police in the UK… Some later said they had been hooded, shackled to the floor in painful stress positions and witnessed beatings and other abuse during their time at Guantanamo.

BBC – Mass Guantanamo suicide protest: Twenty-three prisoners tried to hang or strangle themselves during a mass protest at Guantanamo Bay in 2003, the US military has revealed. A spokesman said the incidents were “gestures” aimed at getting attention, and only two of the prisoners were considered suicidal. Officials would not say why they had not previously reported the incident.

Like somebody needs to ask. The answer is security! And security requires secrecy…

Washington Post – Secret Unit Expands Rumsfeld’s Domain: The Pentagon, expanding into the CIA’s historic bailiwick, has created a new espionage arm and is reinterpreting U.S. law to give Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld broad authority over clandestine operations abroad…

BBC – Secret Pentagon spies confirmed: Senior officials in the US Defense Department have confirmed reports that the Pentagon ran a secret unit to help gather human intelligence.

Oh, and money. Security requires money. Lots and lots of money that’s being invested ever-so-wisely.

Boston.com – Bush wants $80 billion more for Iraq, Afghan wars as new deficit forecast is released: President Bush is getting ready to ask Congress for an additional $80 billion for conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, as budget analysts prepare new estimates of the federal deficits that would have loomed even without the wars. An $80 billion request would push the total provided to the Defense Department so far for those wars and for U.S. efforts against terrorism elsewhere in the world to more than $280 billion.

AP – Bush to Seek $80B for Iraq, Afghan Wars: Aides said about three-fourths of the $80 billion was expected to be for the Army, which is bearing the brunt of the fighting in Iraq. It also was expected to include money for building a U.S. embassy in Baghdad, which has been estimated to cost $1.5 billion.

But things are looking up. Freedom is on the march in Iraq…

BBC – Iraq election at-a-glance
Independent – Allawi fights to mobilise a terrified electorate

(At this point I feel I need to remind you that this is the same Allawi charged with torturing his own people and personally executing insurgents.)

And – just as they promised before bullshitting their way into Iraq – the US and the UK are promising to find a diplomatic situation for Iran…

Guardian – Straw emollient on Iran rift after US talks
Telegraph – Straw says no rift between US and UK on Iran
Politics.co.uk – Straw: US committed to diplomacy on Iran

*sigh*

The final word goes to Chicken Yoghurt.








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