Thursday, September 27, 2007

The Iraq Jigsaw

The pieces are all coming together now. A recently published transcript of a discussion between Jose Maria Aznar and Bu$h shows how this belligerent, arrogant war criminal thinks - and backs up the real reason for the war - oil.

Bu$h shows that getting rid of Saddam is not enough when they talk about an offer for him to flee into exile. Now nobody in their right mind would like to see a mass murderer like Saddam let off the noose, but given the alternative involves the death of a lot of people (a million so far) - what would you pick? This is the dicussion about that point;

'Aznar: Is it certain that any possibility exists that Saddam Hussein will go into exile?

Bush: The possibility exists, including that he will be assassinated.

Aznar: Exile with a guarantee?

Bush: No guarantee! He is a thug, a terrorist, a war criminal.

So one way to avoid war is lost because Bu$h says so. I beleive that the reason that he cannot accept this is that it would not leave U$ troops on the ground in Iraq, and without that, they do not control the oil. There is no solution he can accept that does not put him and his cronies in control of Iraqi oil. He is gambling with the lives of millions of people. If this is shocking, you can see how he does it again later on in the discussion;

Aznar: I’m not asking that you have endless patience. Simply that everything is done to [have maximum international support].

Bush: Countries like Mexico, Chile, Angola, and Cameroon should know that what’s at stake is the security of the United States . . . [Chilean President Ricardo] Lagos should know that the Free Trade Accord with Chile is awaiting Senate confirmation and a negative attitude about this could put ratification in danger. Angola is receiving Millennium Account funds [to help alleviate poverty] and that could be jeopardized also if he’s not supportive…

Aznar: Tony [Blair] wants to wait until March 14.

Bush: I prefer the 10th. This is like a good cop, bad cop routine. I don’t care if I’m the bad cop and he’s the good cop.

He does not care if he has to withdraw money given to help some of the poorest people on the planet in Angola to boost support for his murderous war. Bu$h is not the bad cop, he's a war criminal as is Bliar for supporting him.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Word of the Day: Denialism


Denialism describes the position of governments, business groups, interest groups, or individuals who reject propositions that are strongly supported by scientific or historical evidence and seek to influence policy processes and outcomes accordingly.[1] The term has been used in relation to 'holocaust denial', 'AIDS reappraisal', and 'climate change denial' and the creation-evolution controversy.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Mercenary Firm to be Banned From Iraq

Following a shootout in which at least eight civilians died, mercenary firm Blackwater USA run by Republican billionaire donor Erik Prince, will be banned from Iraq. Blackwater has come in for a lot of flack, so I went to thier website to see their side of the story; guess what their 'Media' link says?

Service Unavailable

I hope so.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Iraq: It WAS All About Oil

Confirmed, by a member of the political elite, what we all knew - that the Iraq war was about oil. Alan Greenspan, former head of the Federal Reserve spells it out;

"I am saddened that it is politically inconvenient to acknowledge what everyone knows: the Iraq war is largely about oil..."

This when American's are protesting the war and Bu$h confirms the ongoing occupation of Iraq and the terrorists agree as letter written by senior al-Qaeda operative Atiyah Abd al-Rahman states that "prolonging the war is in our interest."

Makes you think;

"The big bankers of the world, who practise the terrorism of money, are more powerful than kings and field marshals, even more than the Pope of Rome himself. They never dirty their hands. They kill no-one: they limit themselves to applauding the show."
Eduardo Galeano

Friday, September 14, 2007

The Green Reality

A good article in the Guardian about the reality of what needs to be done to stop climate change - and it is way more than turning the lights off and switching things off from stand-by;

Lest you think I am being harsh, look at this from a different point of view. Imagine that someone came up with a brilliant new campaign against smoking. It would show graphic images of people dying of lung cancer followed by the punchline: "It's easy to be healthy - smoke one less cigarette a month."

We know without a moment's reflection that this campaign would fail. The target is so ludicrous, and the disconnection between the images and the message is so great, that most smokers would just laugh it off.

So why then do well-intentioned schools, councils and green groups - and let's face it, Live Earth was an eight-hour tip-fest - persist in promoting such ineffectual actions?

Thursday, September 13, 2007

The Evening Post's Wrong Headed Drugs Ranting

There was a big two page spread in the Evening Post recently given over to the question of if the Bristol Drugs Project and its aim to set up a 'Shooting Gallery' in Bristol for addicts to use. This is not an unusual project and there have many many similar project in the UK and world wide. What was depressing to read alongside this was the Post's editorial with their emotive language and ramblings on the evils of drugs. It was rubbish and unhelpful hyperbole from a newspaper with a right-wing ideological stance. It was also wrong on a number of counts. It advocated a tougher line on dugs – tougher penalties for dealing etc – the usual right-wing rant;

"So what should we make of the suggestion for a so called 'shooting gallery' - a place where drug addicts can inject their poison overlooked by people who can help them if something goes wrong."

Now I'm no bleeding-heart-liberal on this issue – I live in St.Pauls, so see the results of drug addiction every day, have family who have been impacted by addiction – I am well aware of its problems, so when I read the post's resistance to the 'Shooting Gallery' on the grounds that;

"Those who work with drug-users say it is better than leaving addicts to inject themselves in squalid alleys, public toilets or or under flyovers. But what of the rest of us who surely have no contact with drug users? Surly man will view this proposal as a vision from hell, a place where, effectively, society is turning a blind eye to an illegal practice that endangers life?...Some may even say that such an establishment could be an encouragement to them to continue using drugs."

It makes me angry. This kind of sub-'reefer-madness' view of drug policy is wrong headed and dangerous. The Post are living in a dreamworld if they think that drug policy should be dictated by those who 'have no contact with drug users' – perhaps that is the problem, the way we live our lives is hostage to the views of newspaper editors in their plush homes in affluent areas who have no idea of reality. To them the 'message we send' via policy matters more than the practicality. Well here is where I stand – I am sick of seeing the problems created by drugs, I want something to be done that WORKS. We have been pushing prohibition for over 50 years and drugs are easier and cheaper than ever before. Don't take may word for it, ask the people on the frontline. Here is what the Colombian Vice President had to say;

"After a five-year frontal attack against drug trafficking, the results aren't the most successful or the ones we hoped the end of the day, the benchmark is whether the street price of cocaine in New York, London or Madrid rises or the quality falls. So far, we haven't found any statistics that bear this out."

Now this is a country who benefits via the millions of dollars pumped into the military to fight the 'War on Drugs' and if they are saying it is not working – what would? How bad is it really? We have troops on the ground in Afghanistan and has this impacted the supply of drugs (Bliar gave this as one of the reasons to intervene there) – not a bit. Here's Steve Rolles of the Bristol based Transform Drug Policy Foundation;

“This week's alarming UN reports on the Afghan opium crop, showing that it now accounts for over 93% of global illicit production, prompted much debate. A Guardian leader (The drugs don't work, August 27) acknowledged the futility of eradication efforts...The government has spent billions trying achieve this through supply-side enforcement and coerced treatment. And yet UK heroin use rose from 1997 to 2001 before stabilising at its current historic high.”

The war on drugs was lost a long, long time ago. For a newspaper that claims to be the 'voice of the city' pushing the same tired old line is doing us, especially those of us who live the areas most effected by drug abuse, a massive disservice. I'd like to end on a quote;

"So, what can you say about a policy that has cost about a trillion dollars, resulted in the deaths of numerous law enforcement officers, and countless citizens? I say it has failed. I also say that it is time for the Congress of the United States to acknowledge that the war on drugs is a disaster and to bring it to a swift halt."

Who wrote that? A hippy pot-smoker, an ivory tower professor? No, a cop wrote it. He's part of LEAP – Law Enforcement Against Prohibition – a US based group of former and serving police types, and if the Post's comment writers did some real journalism they might learn a thing or two beyond wrong-headed hyperbole.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

The Surge has Failed

Yes folks, the much vaunted surge has failed. It was predicted that it would, it has but nobody wants to admit it. This is a disaster of unmitigated human, environmental and financial proportions and the Neo-labour party, Tory and political class in the U$ and the corporate media are pretty much to blame. They are trying to spin all sorts of things as the golden-boy of the hour, General David Petraeus takes to the stand to testify how well things are going.

It gets off to a...prescient...start when the General forgets to take the oath to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. When a observer points this out, he's kicked out of the meeting. The General says;

"The military objectives of the surge are in large measure being met..."

And so on. Yesterday columnist Paul Krugman noted;

Here's what will definitely happen when Gen. David Petraeus testifies before Congress next week: he'll assert that the surge has reduced violence in Iraq - as long as you don't count Sunnis killed by Sunnis, Shiites killed by Shiites, Iraqis killed by car bombs and people shot in the front of the head....First, no independent assessment has concluded that violence in Iraq is down. On the contrary, estimates based on morgue, hospital and police records suggest that the daily number of civilian deaths is almost twice its average pace from last year. And a recent assessment by the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office found no decline in the average number of daily attacks.

Remember the famous quote on civilian casualties by General Tommy Franks; "We don't do body counts..." Well now they need to back their arguments for the surge, it seems they do. But they only do body counts that suit them;

"But an official in the ministry who spoke anonymously because he wasn't authorized to release numbers said those numbers were heavily manipulated. The official said 1,980 Iraqis had been killed in July and that violent deaths soared in August, to 2,890..."

And former Marine, weapons inspector and Republican Scott Ritter is even more scathing about the so-called 'surge';

Nearly 4 1/2 years following President Bush's ill-fated (and illegal) decision to invade and occupy Iraq, few people in a position to influence policy formulation and implementation in America have actually grasped the horrible truth about what has transpired, and what is transpiring, in Mesopotamia today. As the United States places the finishing touches on Fortress America, the new half-billion-dollar Embassy complex in the heart of the Green Zone in downtown Baghdad, and more troops pour into mega-bases throughout Iraq, the reality (and futility) of permanent occupation has yet to sink in. What could be going through the minds of those members of Congress who keep signing blank checks for the president? Is there no oversight of how and why this money is spent? How can someone fund permanent infrastructure one day, then speak of the need to get out of Iraq the next?....

In a way, Iraq is a manifestation of all that ails America today. A complete breakdown of fundamental societal checks and balances brought on by greed and hubris. From General Petraeus who will give it, to the mindless corporate-owned minions who populate much of Congress who will receive it, to the entertainment-as-news media which will report on it, and to the American people who will consume it with no foundation upon which to evaluate it, the "Petraeus Report" will have little relevance to what is really going on in Iraq. Once again, Americans will be searching for a solution to a problem they have yet to properly define.

And do you know how much the war in Iraq is going to cost once Bu$h pushes though a bid for more funding? $3 billion.

That's not $3 billion in total - its PER WEEK!

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Target Iran!

The drum beat of war is banging again, this time for Iran:


Speaking at a meeting sponsored by the journal National Interest, edited by Irving Kristol, father of Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol Debate stated: US military planners were not preparing for “pinprick strikes” against Iran’s nuclear facilities. “They’re about taking out the entire Iranian military,”


"My friend had spoken to someone in one of the leading neo-conservative institutions. He summarized what he was told this way: They [the source's institution] have "instructions" (yes, that was the word used) from the Office of the Vice-President to roll out a campaign for war with Iran in the week after Labor Day; it will be coordinated with the American Enterprise Institute, the Wall Street Journal, the Weekly Standard, Commentary, Fox, and the usual suspects. It will be heavy sustained assault on the airwaves, designed to knock public sentiment into a position from which a war can be maintained. Evidently they don't think they'll ever get majority support for this--they want something like 35-40 percent support, which in their book is "plenty."

I have reported on proposed timetables for a strike on Iran, and am not convinced they will - but my recent postings by the nutters in and connected to the Bu$h possie has scared me - they are f**king craZZZy.

Meanwhile, Cholera has broken out in Iraq.