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Early Beefs

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Bush-Blair Al-Jazeera "scoop"

Exactly a week ago Britain’s Daily Mirror reported that in April 2004 George Bush had threatened to take “military action” against Arab television station al-Jazeera in a conversation with Tony Blair, quoting an alleged leaked memo that had come into its possession.

Today we publish, for the first time anywhere, the relevant excerpts of the infamous memo that has got blogs and traditional media abuzzing. This is just days after the UK’s attorney general Lord Goldsmith effectively gagged newspapers here from publishing it by invoking the Official Secrets Act. Two men – one a civil servant, the other a parliamentary researcher – have already been charged under the Act and will appear in court today. They face years in jail if convicted.

bush-blair.jpgAccording to the memo of the conversation – which allegedly took place at the height of the US assault on the then besieged Iraqi city of Fallujah, the president’s enthusiasm for, as it were, silencing the messenger because he did not like the message, was only quelled after the British PM countered that such an act would lose the “coalition” huge political capital.

While the White House has deigned to not respond to the leak, and Downing Street says Mr Bush was “only joking”, sundry critics point out that the reports have an eerie ring of truth about them, not least because the US military had previously bombed the pioneering news station’s premises in both Baghdad and Kabul. It has also been noted that during the war in Kosovo Uncle Sam bombed an off-message TV station and a highly critical Chinese embassy.

As readers will note from the text below, the conversation in the White House is mainly one-sided, the UK premier – seemingly seduced by the omnipotence of earth’s executive presidency – hardly being able to get in a word in edgeways:

Click to read more ...


UK has nothing on French race riots

Almost a month ago the apparent calm of the British Midlands erupted into race riots. As if the British establishment had decided en masse to sit on this "dirty secret", there was very little reporting – and even less analysis – of the root causes of the pent-up grievances at work, a rage that triggered the disturbances and shattered the back-slapping complacency of this "multicultural" society back to the reality of anti-black institutional racism in this country.

trevor_phillips.jpegAnd, just in the nick of time, too, the riots in France by disaffected immigrant youth – which saw the French capital and other cities metamorphose into veritable battlegrounds peopled by angry youth and beleaguered police – came to not only kick the riots off the news agenda, but to also provide the establishment with cover under which to chuck their fine heads into the sand. Not even Trevor Phillips (left), chairman of the Commission for Racial Equality (CRE) had anything meaningful to say.

Let me say this loud and clear: Britain has nothing on France as far as the treatment of minorities is concerned. The French, adhering to their republican ideal of not acknowledging that differences exist between their citizenry, may not gather indices on the level of social exclusion migrants and their descendants face, but the British – who do – do not essentially treat their minorities any differently.

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Police boss should go

Updated on Friday, November 18, 2005 at 19:37 by Registered CommenterEditor

Britain's top cop, Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Ian Blair, today called for a national debate on the type of police force the British want. In the aftermath of the coldbloded murder by police of young Brazilian  Jean Charles de Menezes, we say to him: Accept responsibility, ditch the shoot-to-kill policy and resign:

The Metropolitan Police have pulled all the strings within their grasp to land this public relations coup - the Richard Dimbleby lecture.

Or it could be that some fan involved with the Dimbleby platform felt it okay to allow Sir Ian Blair (pictured, right) to say his piece, ianblair.jpeggiven the mauling he has received since the cold-blooded murder by his officers of an innocent man who just happened to look non-white in the immediate aftermath of the London bombings.

Jean Charles de Menezes - the "suspected terrorist" -  was a young man, an innocent man going about his lawful business when he was cut down in the prime of his life, going to work to send money to his impoverished parents in Brazil the very moment he was killed by officers executing a shoot-to-kill policy sanctioned by Blair.

Blair may mouth all the Hail Marys and apologias he likes, but that will not change the fact that the police have been operating a shoot-to-kill policy for as long as I can remember. Forget about the so-called Operation Kratos, the policy of shooting to kill suspected suicide bombers. The Met's policy has always been to shoot-to-kill.

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Empathising with "terrorists"

"Rachel from North London" criticised attempts by the British government to bring in laws to make it possible to detain terror suspects for up to 90 days without charge. Some have said she "empathised with terrorists". This is out take:

Rachel, am afraid, has both heart and head in the right - and given that she was a victim in the attacks, needs a fair hearing from any pontificators.

bombing bus_top.jpgHad their 90-day detention-without-charge rule been on the books prior to 7/7, it would not have prevented the bombings. That is clearly evident - and it has been said ad nauseum since then.  As Rachel rightly points, such a rule would only serve to criminalise innocent people, alienate many more and serve to reinforce as fact those who say that we are now in a low-level religious conclagration.

   Draconian, human rights-bashing legislation

Furthermore, this is clearly a case of the state trying to rush through draconian, human rights-bashing legislation under the cover of a terrorist outrage. Remember Jo something-or-the-other at the DOT re "this being a good day to bury bad news"? Well, this was just a variant: cynically, hypocritically and opportunistically exploiting the 7/7 bombings to sneak in anti-democratic legislation.

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Liberia does not need this woman president

The universal euphoria elicited by the apparent election this week by Liberia of Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf (pictured, below)as Africa’s first elected female president is a misplaced one. It is also the height of political naivety.

SirleafThat is not to say that the Liberian electorate should instead have gone for the former football star and millionaire George Weah. If anything, that would have been an even worse outcome for the people of Liberia and Africa as a whole.

As I write this, the West African country’s electoral commission has postponed declaring Sirleaf the winner until Tuesday, by which time they say they would have investigated claims by Weah and his army of youthful supporters that the elections were rigged to ensure victory for the Harvard alumni and former World Bank economist, who was clearly the favourite of the Americans and international big business.

Be that as it may, it is difficult to see victory being handed to Weah. This is because the commission had already said Sirleaf was in the lead by 20 points during the final stages of the poll, and international observers were agreed that the vote was free and fair. And, of course, Uncle Sam does not want Weah.

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Storm in a Tehran teacup

It is definitely not surprising that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's recent statement that Israel represented a "disgraceful blot" that should be "wiped off the map" caused such a furore in Washington, London and Tel Aviv.

Washington says the anti-Israel outbursts by the Iranian president (pictured, below) confirmed their fears about Iran's nuclear ambitions, London says something would have to be done, while the Israelis want Tehran kicked out of the UN.

Ahmadinezhad.jpgSo far, so predictable. No-one fluffed their lines, getting all hot and flustered and rattling sabres like there was no tomorrow. You could almost hear the war drums bleating in the distance. But however much they may wet-dream about doing another Iraq on Tehran, they know they can't get away with it, given the massive fallout from that ill-fated adventure. Nor could an over-stretched "allied" military cope with the demands of such an expedition.

Click to read more ...


Skullduggery at its doublespeaking best

CDocuments and Settings69My DocumentsMy Pictures180px-George_Galloway.pngNow, don't get me wrong. I am not an apologist for either Galloway (pictured right) or the CIA. The former is more than capable of taking care of himself, as attested by his robust defence before the US Senate some months ago - when he demolished allegations he had been in the pay of Hussein - and his libel victory against Britain's Daily Telegraph newspaper, forced to pay him a king's ranson in damages for peddling those claims.

And, for all I care, the CIA, those purveyors of political assassinations and proxy wars in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East down the decades,  can go jump in the ocean.                                


However, both these instances are symptomatic of the lengths to which this imperialist war machine will go to settle scores with those who step on their powerful toes.

The latest episode in this saga of powerful folks socking it to their critics and tormentors came with this week's "independent" report, by former US Federal Reserve chairman Paul Volker, that Galloway allegedly received 18 million barrels of oil from the Hussein regime. The report says also that the latter paid hundreds of thousands of dollars into an account belonging to Galloway's estranged wife.

Click to read more ...


Inaugural beef

Thanks for visiting today. This sites aims to serve not only as a journal for my thoughts and impressions on international events; it is hoped that it will eventually become a forum for progressive political debate from a leftist perspective.

The format is that of a political weblog, or blog, but we will feature also longer, well-researched articles from established writers and journalists on issues ranging from the Anglo-American war of aggression against the poeple of Iraq to that of the World Bank and IMF against Africa; from fiction and poetry to health and fitness. Please feel free to send in comments and contributions.

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