Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Grubby Non-Dom Entrepreneur? Step Forward Tony Blair.

From Craig Murray today.

The newspapers today carry the unsurprising news that Blair's business affairs are routed through a multiplicity of companies operating in tax havens. He is raking in over £5 million per year, aside from his official job of chief Zionist - sorry, I mean Middle East Peace Envoy.

But I was more struck by the information in Michael White's Blair puff piece that, before his arrival in the Sedgefield constituency yesterday, six policemen blocked off the roads around the venue with trafic cones.

Why? I am not making a petty or petulant point, I mean it. Why? This was a Labour Party event, not a government event. Blair holds no executive office in this country. The election has not been called. Even if it had been, he is not a candidate. Why do the police cone off the roads for a Blair New Labour speech?

How much did the six policemen cost? And they were just the bottom of the pile, the road coning bobbies. Blair arrived in a huge entourage of cars, at least some of which were taxpayer provided. There was a large police car and motorcycle escort. Not to mention the close protection officers. How much did all that cost?

Thatcher and Major move around with no blues and twos and a single close protection officer when required. The Duke of Edinburgh moves around privately with much less security than Blair. As a taxpayer I object fundamentally to footing the bill for protecting this war criminal. He should get a single close protection officer and fund anything else himself. He can certainly afford it.

Sunday, 28 March 2010

McChrystal Speaks On Atrocities

“We have shot an amazing number of people, but to my knowledge, none has ever proven to be a threat." Again:“We have shot an amazing number of people, but to my knowledge, none has ever proven to be a threat." Again: “We have shot an amazing number of people, but to my knowledge, none has ever proven to be a threat." Link

Saturday, 27 March 2010

Nocturnal Atrocities by Nato Mount and Mount

US-led forces added the murders of pregnant women to therecent murders of school children in Afghanistan. US military officials were forced to admit they lied in their report that Afghan “bad guys” murdered five civilians when Timesonline reporter Jerome Starkey went to the scene and documented that all evidence and witness testimonywas that US-led forces murdered innocent civilians in a night raid. Unanimous testimony included Afghan government officials, police chiefs and survivors of the attack. The United Nations and New York Timesinvestigated and corroborated Mr. Starkey’s reporting.

Mr. Starkey then documented with Harvard University’s Nieman Watchdog of the US military propaganda campaign to discredit his reporting, which included additional lies they were forced to recant. Mr. Starkey reports previous US and NATO lies about causing civilian deaths and concludes that such lies are standard procedure, as well as to attack journalists who catch their lies.
Rethink Afghanistan reports this event and interviews Mr. Starkey in their 4-minute video specificallylinked to Facebook.
Perhaps the most revealing US military lies and apparent murder is of Pat Tillman, documented here.
The war in Afghanistan is unlawful in Orwellian degree; tragic-comic in its violations of US war laws(useful analogy to well-understood laws for individual self-defense here). Although the laws of war are crystal-clear, complicit corporate media lies by omission and commission to explain what these laws have meant for 65 years and how they apply to unlawful US invasion of Afghanistan. A summary of mydocumentation and full explanation of US war laws:
  • The US is the principle author of the UN Charter, a treaty that under the US Constitution has equal power with all US law that requires all nations to eliminate wars of choice.
  • The only lawful uses of war are self-defense upon armed attack by a nation’s government (or imminent threat of such) and/or authorization of the UN Security Council (UNSC).
  • UNSC Resolutions correctly categorized 9/11 as a terror attack and authoritatively declared the legal response of international cooperation with intelligence, arrest, and prosecution of those responsible for the criminal conspiracy of 9/11.
  • The US violated those UNSC Resolutions by attacking the country of Afghanistan; committing the worst crime a nation can damn another to suffer: an invading War of Aggression.
  • The US refused to provide any evidence of who was responsible for the 9/11 attacks, claiming they “knew” who did them, and refused the Afghan government’s offer to help locate, arrest, and extradite anyone who the evidence shown was involved.

Nato Smears Truth Teller in Afghanistan

Video link to story here.

Wednesday, 24 March 2010

For Hoon The Bell Tolls

The recent outing of Geoff Hoon (former Minister for Defence, God help us) as a mercenary lobbyist touting his NATO adviser status and influence to the arms trade or anyone else was a great piece of TV journalism. Channel 4's Dispatches exposed Hoon in a sting offering his influence and inside info for sale to the fake American consultants 'Anderson Perry'. The documentary was timely and expertly executed. Hoon spun and bluffed his evidence to the Chilcott Inquiry into the Iraq debacle two weeks ago when confronted with his underfunding and delay in the conduct of the invasion and subsequent occupation of Iraq. We at Afghanistan War bear no brief for the invasion or the army doing it but Hoon presided over an incompetent shambles which has recently left UK army personnel in the position where they have to purchase some of their own kit. For someone who has caused this to happen to cash in on his NATO contacts is particularly obscene. Gordon Brown is reported to have pulled the plug on Hoon's NATO links but all we have is the Labour Party's word for this which amounts to nothing as we all know. I haven't seen one independent report that's Hoon's NATO contact is severed. This really needs to be reported on. Craig Murray, Robert Fisk, Jon Pilger, anybody - get writing!

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

McChrystal Regrets

By Dave Lindorff

Three months after it initially lied about the murder by US forces of eight high school students and a 12-year-old shepherd boy in Afghanistan, and a month after it lied about the slaughter by US forces of an Afghan police commander, a government prosecutor, two of their pregnant wives and a teenage daughter, the US military has been forced to admit (thanks in no small part to the excellent investigative reporting of Jerome Starkey of the London Times), that these and other atrocities were the work of American Special Forces, working in conjunction with “specially trained” (by the US) units of the Afghan Army.

Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the commander of the US war effort in Afghanistan, is reported as saying he is taking over “direct charge” of Special Forces operations because of “concern” that they were not following his orders to make limiting civilian casualties a “paramount” objective. McChrystal is quoted as saying the US military “carries the burden of the guilt” for the “mistakes” made by those Special Forces.

This has to be a sick joke. These incidents were not mistakes; they were planned actions. It’s all the sicker because we know that the US is busy training the Afghan Army to take over this kind of dirty work. And besides, even if McChrystal does assume direct command over Special Forces, that would leave unaccounted for the tens of thousands of private mercenary units hired by the US who are working completely in the shadows for the CIA or other organizations. (One such group hired buy the Defense Department, which posed as an intelligence-gathering operation, was recently exposed as actually being a privately run death squad.)

McChrystal, recall, was in charge of a huge and brutal death squad operation in Iraq before he was given his new assignment in Afghanistan, and at the time he was put in charge of the Afghanistan War, it was reported that he was planning to put in place a similar operation in Afghanistan, designed to take out the Taliban leadership in the country.

What we have been seeing in Afghanistan--and this goes way back to before the appointment of McChrystal, or even the election of President Barack Obama, and his subsequent escalation of the war--has been a vicious campaign of terror against the Afghan people.

It should be no surprise that this is so. It is the way the US has always done counterinsurgency. In a war in which the insurgents (or patriots, if you will--the people fighting against foreign occupiers, or in out case, the US) are a part of the people, and American forces are the invaders, the goal is to drive a wedge between those fighters and the rest of the population.

In Pentagon propaganda parlance, this is referred to as “winning the hearts and minds” of the people, but in reality, the US military doesn’t give a damn about hearts and minds. It simply wants the people to become unwilling to hide or support the enemy fighters it is facing. If it can accomplish that by making people afraid, then that is what it will do, and making people afraid is much easier than “winning hearts and minds.”

How do you make people afraid of supporting or hiding and protecting enemy fighters like the Taliban? You terrorize them. You bomb their homes. You conduct night raids on their homes. You bomb their weddings and their excursions to neighboring towns or markets. You shoot them when they get too close to your vehicles.

Statistics show that the US has, in both Iraq and now Afghanistan, routinely killed more civilians than actual enemy fighters. That tells us all we need to know about what is really going on. America is fighting a war of terror against the people of Afghanistan.

No amount of feigned public hand-wringing by the blood-stained Gen. McChrystal, or of assertions that he is going to assume direct control (from whom? are we to assume that they were operating without direction before?) of the Special Operations troops in the country, will alter that fact. Civilians--including especially women and children--in Afghanistan will continue to die in prodigious numbers because that is how the US fights its wars these days.

The people of Afghanistan know this. That’s why the majority of them want the US out of their country.

It’s Americans who don’t know the truth, and it’s Americans who are really the target of statements from the Pentagon and from Gen. McChrystal claiming that the US is taking steps, nine years into this war, to “reduce civilian casualties” in Afghanistan. It doesn’t help that news organizations like the New York Times propagate that propaganda, as the paper did today in a lead headline that said: “US is Reining in Special Forces in Afghanistan. General Takes Control. McChrystal has Raised Civilian Casualties as a Concern.” It simply wouldn’t do to tell Americans that their country is conducting a war of terror. We are supposed to be the good guys who are bringing peace and democracy to a benighted land.

So let’s just face the facts squarely. The US is not the good guy in Afghanistan. It is an agent of death and destruction. Just check out the town of Marjah, largely destroyed over the last few months in order to “save” it from a handful of Taliban fighters. Over 30 civilians died in that American show of force, and the message of those deaths was clear: allow the Taliban to operate in your town, and we’ll kill you--not just your men, but your wives and your children, too.

Sunday, 14 March 2010

Gladstone on Afghanistan

Here is an extract from one of Gladstone's Midlothian campaign speeches, in Dalkeith, while the Second Afghan War was raging.

Those hill tribes had committed no real offence against us. We, in the pursuit of our political objects, chose to establish military positions in their country. If they resisted, would not you have done the same? ... The meaning of the burning of the village is, that the women and the children were driven forth to perish in the snows of winter ... Is that not a fact – for such, I fear, it must be reckoned to be – which does appeal to your hearts as women ... which does rouse in you a sentiment of horror and grief, to think that the name of England, under no political necessity, but for a war as frivolous as ever was waged in the history of man, should be associated with consequences such as these?

What contemporary British politician would ever dare to say:

If they resisted, would not you have done the same?

Anyone who suggested today that the Afghans have a right to resist foreign occupation would be drowned out in screams of "Wooton Basset" and the false, flatulent and cynical patriotism of newspaper proprietors and editors in Fleet Street. We have receded as a nation not just since Gladstone's time but since Michael Foot's.

Saturday, 13 March 2010

Latest Nato Cover Up

The operation on Friday, February 12, was a botched pre-dawn assault on a policeman’s home a few miles outside Gardez, the capital of Paktia province, eastern Afghanistan. In a statement after the raid titled “Joint force operating in Gardez makes gruesome discovery”, Nato claimed that the force had found the women’s bodies “tied up, gagged and killed” in a room.
A Times investigation suggests that Nato’s claims are either wilfully false or, at best, misleading. More than a dozen survivors, officials, police chiefs and a religious leader interviewed at and around the scene of the attack maintain that the perpetrators were US and Afghan gunmen. The identity and status of the soldiers is 'unknown'.
Full details here.

Friday, 5 March 2010

Our Tribute To Michael Foot

Michael Foot, a romantic figure of the Labour left, has gone and left the rump of Labour to the hollow men. Who on the left or any major party in Britain today would dare or care to say the following: “We are not here in this world to find elegant solutions, pregnant with initiative, or to serve the ways and modes of profitable progress. No, we are here to provide for all those who are weaker and hungrier, more battered and crippled than ourselves. That is our only certain good and great purpose on earth, and if you ask me about those insoluble economic problems that may arise if the top is deprived of their initiative, I would answer, ‘To hell with them.’ The top is greedy and mean and will always find a way to take care of themselves. They always do.”
Another flower gone. RIP.
From Tony, Barbara and Johnny.

Tuesday, 2 March 2010

Brown 'Screw Up'? Shome Mishtake Shurely

Gordon Brown’s silence on the decision to release Abdel-baset Ali Mohmed al Megrahi was “a screw up”, a cabinet colleague has said.The alleged view is reported in The End Of The Party by political journalist Andrew Rawnsley, who has already incurred the wrath of Downing Street over allegations the Prime Minister mistreated staff at No 10, claims vehemently denied by Mr Brown.The circumstances of Mr Megrahi’s release last August are recounted, including the anger at the Libyan’s return home to a hero’s welcome complete with the flying of Scottish Saltires. Mr Rawnsley writes: “Gordon Brown said nothing at all. He carried on with his holiday in the Lake District and Fife as if nothing unusual was happening.”
The book states key aides were abroad on holiday. “‘We were caught cold. The system failed him. We all failed him,’ said one senior official, who reportedly added: ‘We had no idea about the furtive discussions between the Foreign Office and the Libyans.’” Rawnsley writes about the unsustainability of Mr Brown’s position, saying the PM was “frozen by fear” that if he expressed an opinion about Scottish Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill’s decision to release Mr Megrahi on compassionate grounds, he would infuriate either the US, Libya, the Holyrood Government, the victims’ families, the Scottish Labour Party or the oil companies.