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

Posted by Tim Ireland at January 25, 2008

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

The Rootin Tootin Cowboys discuss Iraq (via). Enjoy:

The Rootin Tootin Cowboys 2 – Iraq

(The Rootin Tootin Cowboys are John Hopkins and Gareth Tunley. And they rock.)








Posted by Tim Ireland at January 22, 2008

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

The Lion Book of War Adventures (1962 Annual)Tch. We’re pathetic, aren’t we?

Almost a decade into the 21st century, and the long-promised flying cars, moving sidewalks, one-size-fits-all silver jumpsuits and cities on the moon continue to elude us.

Remember when we used to dream of a better world for our children?

Remember when seemingly insurmountable challenges fell before our superior technology like nine-pins as we strode into the future as masters of our destiny?

And where are we now?

I’ll tell you where we are now… we’re up shit-creek without a paddle.

According to the 1962 Lion Book of War Adventures (first printed in 1961), our technology and even our approach to war has now been rendered obsolete by the future of the past.

Look on in horror and cower in fear as I present this special report on Missile Bases in the Sky!

(In the f’kin *SKY*, people!!!)

Lion Book of War Adventures 1962: Missile Bases in the Sky! 1 of 6

[———- fold ———-]

(more…)








Posted by Tim Ireland at December 12, 2007

Category: Anne Milton, It's War! It's Legal! It's Lovely!

The Times – Britain’s breach of honour over Iraq interpreters: More than half the Iraqi interpreters who applied to come to live in Britain have had their applications rejected, drawing accusations that the Government is “wriggling out” of its promise to help former Iraqi employees. The Times has learnt that 125 of the 200 interpreters who took up the offer to resettle in Britain have failed to meet the strict criteria laid down for eligibility… In three cases seen by The Times, former Iraqi employees were told that they were ineligible because of “absenteeism”. The 200 interpreters are among a total of 600 Iraqis who have applied to come to Britain, all people who have worked for the British and who today face intimidation from Iranian-backed Shia groups.

PA – Iraq interpreters ‘can get help’: A Foreign Office spokeswoman said that a total of 400 applications had been received but would not confirm how many had been turned down. She said: “Although we cannot discuss individual cases, we have a very clear policy that staff who terminated employment as a result of intimidation are eligible for assistance. We fully recognise the difficulties of such staff and do not insist on official or formal notification or on staff working out their notice period. Individuals who are recorded as having let us know by telephone or any other manner are still considered eligible. Decisions are taken based on records taken at the time but where individuals who feel they have further evidence to support their case for assistance they should notify us immediately.”

1. Note how mindful the government has been in not calling them cowards. See? They *do* care.

2. Remember that the charge of absenteeism is made against those claiming to have done 12 months service, when the typical service period was 6 months. So we have a clear pattern of whittling down as well as wriggling out.

3. Is it 400 or 600 who have applied? Or are we looking at more whittling here?

4. The Danes evacuated first and sorted the paperwork back at home, where there were fewer death squads determined to complicate matters (see #6 and #9). We left Basra a month before any policy regarding those we left behind was made or announced.

5. And this government had to be goaded into that. Miliband’s announcement was effectively a last-minute face-saving spoiler designed to take the wind out of the campaign to save these people. Classy.

6. The people being targeted daren’t show their faces on *any* street… and the facilities/routes one might use to seek escape are being watched very carefully. Oh, but any special measures that might be required to rescue those we left behind? You can rule them out in roughly two weeks’ time. Not that our government has an intention of taking these measures, it’s just that they will soon have a perfect excuse not to bother.

7. A tactic not unlike the one used by my Conservative MP, Anne Milton. I asked her if she would be signing EDM 2057, but she didn’t answer. I pressed her for an answer a couple of weeks later, and was told that she wouldn’t be signing it because it had effectively expired. [Why won’t you drink the milk? (No answer.) Why won’t you drink the milk? (No answer.) Why won’t you drink the milk? (Because it’s past its use-by date. Ha-ha!)] Now I’ve asked her – twice now – if she’ll be signing the renewed version, EDM 401, and guess what? No answer!

8. Check the latest EDM. To date, it’s been signed by:

– 22% of Liberal Democrat MPs (14 out of 63)
– 3.6% of Labour MPs (13 out of 352)
– 2.5% of Conservative MPs (5 out of 194)

Everybody needs to lift their game, but you would expect a better showing from Her Majesty’s Official Opposition, wouldn’t you? What’s holding them back?

9. A tip for those on the run and in fear of their lives: due to the very real possibility that we may not have kept records of any reported absences, it is important that you keep a firm grip on any relevant paperwork as you dash from bolthole to bolthole, because you certainly can’t leave it in the care of any relatives or friends whose home may be invaded and searched at any time.

10. If you haven’t yet done so, you should at the very least ask your MP if they will be signing EDM 401. If they will… great, you can take things from there. If they won’t… ask them why.

UPDATE – Dan Hardie – Red tape and murder… read and share.








Posted by Tim Ireland at December 5, 2007

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

Lynne Featherstone has retabled her EDM calling on the British Government to move further and faster in its help for the Iraqi interpreters:

EDM 401: IRAQI EMPLOYEES

My MP (Anne Milton) missed her opportunity to sign the last version. Perhaps she’ll be a little quicker off the mark this time. Let’s see.

[sends email]

You may also want to ask ever-so-politely if your MP will sign their name to this. If they don’t or won’t, do take the time to find out why.








Posted by Tim Ireland at November 26, 2007

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

Dan Hardie – Letting them die: I’ve had emails from three people who claim to be – and who almost certainly are- Iraqi former employees of the British Government. All three say that they and their former colleagues are still at risk of death for their ‘collaboration’… You’ve heard this before, but it’s now more important than ever. The last lot of letters and emails got the Government to announce a change in policy: an inadequate change, badly implemented. The next lot of letters and emails will force the Government to announce another change in policy, one that will be properly implemented and will not be based on leaving people to die.

Read the post and email your MP. Offer them a personal briefing. The impact of certain information that can’t be broadcast/published for reasons of safety is considerable. It took me a couple of days just to convince myself that I’d come to terms with it… before I unexpectedly collapsed in a blubbering heap in the middle of cooking supper a few days later.








Posted by Tim Ireland at October 24, 2007

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

David Miliband: “Iran has responsibilities in being part of the international community and needs to live by its responsibilities if it wants to enjoy the rights of the international community.”

He really is a shameless little bastard, isn’t he? In fact, he deserves to be kidnapped in the dead of night, taken to a secret location, and spanked on live television.

UPDATE – For those with concerns that I mean this as a threat and may actually carry it out; don’t worry… I’ll tape it for you.








Posted by Tim Ireland at October 24, 2007

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

Now EDM 2057 is back online, perhaps it might be an idea to keeping a running tally of those MPs who actually give a damn, as this is a unique issue where both supporters and opponents of the war in Iraq are forced to face up to a moral and practical imperative.

By late yesterday, only 35 MPs had signed it.

Today, Charles Kennedy adds his name to the list, bringing us to a grand total of 36 MPs who give a damn about human beings that our government has knowingly abandoned to the mercy of roaming death squads.

These people live daily with the risk of assassination. When they cannot be found, members of their family are targeted (and you can read more about this kind of thing at weoweittothem.com).

And yet, despite the high stakes and the really quite urgent urgency, it’s been over a week since Anne Milton, my (Tory) MP expressed her concern and promised to raise the issue with other MPs, and:

a) There are still only 3 Conservative MPs listed as signatories.

b) She hasn’t yet signed it herself.

Very few MPs should have good reason to refuse signing this EDM. But it’s up to us to put them on the spot about it so they can’t later claim that they were unaware of it or (as many former supporters of the war are fond of doing) pretend that they were unaware of certain pertinent facts at the time.

Write to your MP about this today. Make sure that they’re aware of Early Day Motion 2057.








Posted by Tim Ireland at October 23, 2007

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

This is an appalling state of affairs. Simply appalling.

Further, via comments over at Justin’s, we find that Early Day Motion 2057 has been taken offline!

Google has a cache of the removed page here. Please note that – despite her lip-flapping – my MP did NOT sign it (at least, not before 19 Oct).

In fact, it appears that only 31 MPs have agreed to the following:

EDM 2057: That this House recognises the courage of Iraqis who have worked alongside British troops and diplomats in Southern Iraq, often saving British lives; notes that many such Iraqis have been targeted for murder by Iraqi militias in Basra, and that an unknown number have already been killed, whilst many others are in hiding; further recognises that many Iraqis who have worked for fewer than 12 months for the UK are threatened by death squads; and therefore calls upon the Prime Minister to meet the UK’s moral obligations by offering resettlement to all Iraqis who are threatened with death for the ‘crime’ of helping British troops and diplomats.

[That list of signatories for your reference: Lynne Featherstone, Peter Bottomley, David Drew, Andrew George, Stephen Williams, John McDonnell, John Pugh, Robert Smith, Paul Holmes, Jeremy Corbyn, David Taylor, David Anderson, Dai Davies, Elfyn Llwyd, Mark Oaten, Derek Conway, Bill Etherington, Hywel Francis, Edward Vaizey, Greg Mulholland, Nick Harvey, Alistair Carmichael, Katy Clark, Angus MacNeil, Paul Rowen, Dr William McCrea, Paul Flynn, John Austin, AJ Beith, Lorely Burt, Jenny Willott.]

Meanwhile, Miliboy revels in his family’s ‘refugees from the Nazis’ status in one breath and totally disregards it in another.

Just what does it take?!

UPDATE – Read this comment over at Miliboy’s weblog. It’ll breaking your fucking heart… if you have one.

UPDATE – For those who came in late… Bloggerheads – Brown’s government delivers the bare minimum at the last minute

UPDATE – I brought this to Lynne Featherstone’s attention and have been informed by her office (following an inquiry to the Table Office) that the EDM’s removal is “a technical problem that is in the process of being fixed.” So I would hope that from tomorrow at least I can at least take a fresh look at the list and see who gives a damn.

UPDATE (3:52pm) – Early Day Motion 2057 is back online. No, my MP still hasn’t signed it. It would appear that I failed in my mission to convey a sense of urgency.








Posted by Tim Ireland at October 12, 2007

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

Dan Hardie has requested that we each write a letter to our MP, and has provided some bullet-points here.

I’m writing a letter and blogging it, and would urge you to do the same. Make sure that you push this Early Day Motion.

Oh, and when you’re done, drop by and leave a firm-but-polite comment under this entry at David Miliband’s weblog.

Tips:

1) A letter, as opposed to an email, will carry more weight… but most MPs should be aware of the need for urgency during an ongoing postal dispute. However, if you want to really impress them, draw up a hand-written letter and hand-deliver it to their constituency office.

2) Use the information from Dan’s bullet-points by all means, but make your letter an original appeal.

3) Be firm, but polite.

4) Try not to follow my example beyond the suggestion that my MP talk to fellow MPs, as I have a rather (*ahem*) unique relationship with my local elected representatives.

Dear Anne,

I did not see you at Tuesday’s meeting regarding the plight of Iraqi employees, but I’m aware that you had a partially conflicting engagement and I may have missed you entering/leaving. I’m hoping that you had a researcher stay for the entire meeting and/or were there yourself just long enough to catch some or all of what Mark Brockway had to say, but reference links are provided below just in case you somehow missed this important information:
http://nether-world.blogspot.com/2007/10/quick-write-up-of-last-nights-meeting.html
http://www.weoweittothem.com/

You should pay particular attention to the stories at the latter site, which is run by Brockway, and be aware that they are the tip of the iceberg.

You should also know that, while there is some satisfaction to be had from forcing the government to finally acknowledge the issue, that their initial promises are quite empty and actually counter-productive;

a) The ’12 month’ requirement is not at all fair. Many Iraqi employees at risk left service after a 6-month stint (the standard contract length) precisely because they were at risk; others may have worked an initial or additional stint with the American forces, which will not show up on our records. I’m sure you can see how easily people can slip between the cracks here.

b) Most of those at risk are only alive now because they are one step ahead of the local death squads; a public promise of an ongoing study into the possibility of maybe giving a damn does more than provide former Iraqi employees with false hope, it also lights a fire under the arses of the local death squads while doing nothing to protect their victims from harm. We would do well to instead follow the example of the Danes, who evacuated those they considered to be at risk first and worried about the paperwork later:
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/19859763/

c) I suspect that this is part of the reason that the FCO is still bandying about their Big Scary 20,000 Number (i.e. to give the impression that this measure would be impractical or impossible):
http://blogs.fco.gov.uk/blogs/david_miliband/archive/2007/10/12/14046.aspx

A far more responsible way forward would be to mobilise our forces to immediately identify and locate those at risk, and remove them and their families (which so far have yet to be mentioned by our government) to safety.

I’m providing you with this information not because I doubt that you’ll raise this matter with the FCO or put your name to the following Early Day Motion…
http://edmi.parliament.uk/EDMi/EDMDetails.aspx?EDMID=33930&SESSION=885

… but because I would further request that you speak to your fellow MPs about this matter with some urgency.

Support for this needs to swift and overwhelming; if it comes in dribs and drabs, the government will have no reason to change their existing strategy (beyond the moral and practical imperatives, which appear to elude them):
https://www.bloggerheads.com/archives/2007/10/browns_governme.asp

The result of this malaise is sure to be more needless deaths that shame our country and further complicate our relationship with the people of the Middle East.

I strongly urge you to be part of the driving force that takes this message from MP to MP and then, in numbers, to government.

Tim Ireland
www.bloggerheads.com

UPDATE – Here, Garry raises something that also emerged as a key point at Tuesday’s meeting; saving lives risks undermining the narrative…

BSSC – From the Pale and Downtrodden: Doing my best to see this from “the other side”, I can see that this is a tricky situation for the government. They are desperately trying to claim that the south of Iraq is a success story and that security situation has improved to the extent that British troops can withdraw. The fact that Iraqi employees of the British are in grave danger makes a mockery of this assertion and is politically embarrassing for the government. As a consequence, they’re trying to publicise a policy to deal with a problem which they don’t want to acknowledge even exists. The result is the half-hearted effort announced at the beginning of the week.

UPDATE (17 Oct) – The reply from my MP’s office, received 15 Oct:

Dear Mr Ireland,

Many thanks for your email to Anne; she did appreciate all the information and links you provided. I was present for part of the meeting and briefed Anne afterwards; as you mentioned in your email, she had another meeting in Guildford at the same time. In addition, she has since spoken to Ed Vaizey who also briefed her and she plans to raise the plight of the Iraqi translators with other MPs.

Yours sincerely,

Simon Hill

Office of Anne Milton
Member of Parliament for Guildford
Shadow Minister for Health








Posted by Tim Ireland at October 10, 2007

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

The Times – Assistance package for Iraqi interpreters is ‘too little, too late’: Serious shortcomings have been exposed in the Government’s plan to offer compensation or resettlement to hundreds of serving and former staff in Iraq.

Davide Simonetti has a report on last night’s meeting here.

Also, if you haven’t done so already, check out weoweittothem.com and read some of the stories.

(I’d write more, but I’m still a little shell-shocked, to be honest.)








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