Blogroll Me! How This Old Brit Sees It ...: June 2006

30 June 2006

A Dylan Message To The Masters Of War ...

Anyone else as old as This Old Brit & Richard, or thereabouts, is bound to remember a certain old hippy every bit as well as we do.

One of the long time good old guys of anti-war, peace activisism, if ever there was one.

Goes by the name of Dylan.

Ring any old bells? We bet is does.

Well, here's something he wrote.

"Masters of War"

Come you masters of war
You that build all the guns
You that build the death planes
You that build the big bombs
You that hide behind walls
You that hide behind desks
I just want you to know
I can see through your masks

You that never done nothin'
But build to destroy
You play with my world
Like it's your little toy
You put a gun in my hand
And you hide from my eyes
And you turn and run farther
When the fast bullets fly

Like Judas of old
You lie and deceive
A world war can be won
You want me to believe
But I see through your eyes
And I see through your brain
Like I see through the water
That runs down my drain

You fasten the triggers
For the others to fire
Then you set back and watch
When the death count gets higher
You hide in your mansion
As young people's blood
Flows out of their bodies
And is buried in the mud

You've thrown the worst fear
That can ever be hurled
Fear to bring children
Into the world
For threatening my baby
Unborn and unnamed
You ain't worth the blood
That runs in your veins

How much do I know
To talk out of turn
You might say that I'm young
You might say I'm unlearned
But there's one thing I know
Though I'm younger than you
Even Jesus would never
Forgive what you do

Let me ask you one question
Is your money that good
Will it buy you forgiveness
Do you think that it could
I think you will find
When your death takes its
All the money you made
Will never buy back your soul

And I hope that you die
And your death'll come soon
I will follow your casket
In the pale afternoon
And I'll watch while you're
Down to your deathbed
And I'll stand o'er your grave
'Til I'm sure that you're dead

And right here & now we're proud to present a "Pearl Jam" performance [recorded live at the Bob Dylan 30th Anniversay] as they sing similarly.

Simply switch on your speakers then click centre-screen arrow.


28 June 2006

Amy Goodman Interview About Israel And It's Latest Gaza Incursion ...

Like the layout of these photos - it's a shambles. But the latest armed Israeli incursion into Gaza isn't the fault of blogger.

Since it seems sucessive ruling right wing Israeli governments have revelled -- relatively speaking -- in repeatedly resorting to using a sodding sledgehammer to crack a crumby walnut.

And the Blairs and Bushes of the world watch. The world's self proclaimed [ and permanently, posing as-proud-as-Punch-like] policemen turn a blind eye. While western mainstream media, in the main, doesn't do much more either.

But then what else is new?

So not surprisingly when someone as good as Amy Goodman, of
Democracy Now! picks up this ball and runs with it, and asks for assistance in airing more widely, something that we agree definately does need much more airing .......................................

Fmr. Israeli Foreign Minister Shlomo Ben-Ami: "It Was Wrong" For Israel to Invade Gaza
( Listen to
Segment Download Show mp3 Watch 128k stream Watch 256k stream Read Transcript Help Printer-friendly version Email to a friend Purchase Video/CD )

Israeli forces have invaded the Gaza Strip for the first time since withdrawing ten months ago. Israel says it launched the raid to recover a soldier captured by Palestinian militants. The strikes came just hours after Fatah and Hamas agreed on a document to implicitly recognize Israel within its 1967 borders. We go to Gaza to speak with Palestinian physician Dr. Mona El-Farra and we get comment from former Israeli foreign minister Shlomo Ben-Ami and Palestinian activist Ali Abunimah. [includes rush transcript]

Israeli forces have invaded the Gaza Strip for the first time since withdrawing ten months ago. Israel says it's launched the raid to recover captured soldier Gilad Shalit. Shalit was captured in a Palestinian operation on Sunday. The raid began after Israel rejected Shalit's captors demand for the release of all Palestinian females and Palestinians below the age of eighteen in Israeli prisons. Israel opened the attack with a series of air strikes on three bridges and Gaza's main power station. The attack left the power station in flames and knocked out electricity in most of Gaza City. Palestinian militants have reportedly taken up defensive positions around Gaza - setting the stage for a potential firefight with the invading soldiers.

The strikes came just hours after officials close to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said Hamas had agreed on a document to implicitly recognize Israel within its June 1967 borders. Hamas leaders later denied this is the case. Hamas lawmaker Salah al-Bardaweel explained: "We said we accept a state [in territory occupied] in 1967 - but we did not say we accept two states." The deal follows weeks of negotiations between Fatah and Hamas leaders over the terms of a unity government. Palestinians hope the agreement will bring an end to the crippling international aid freeze imposed since Hamas swept to power in elections earlier this year.

Ali Abunimah, a writer, speaker and founder of the website
Electronic Intifada. He is author of the book "One Country: A Bold proposal to end the Israeli-Palestinian impasse" which will be published by Metropolitan Books this Fall. He joins on the line from Amman, Jordan.

Shlomo Ben-Ami, has held a number of positions within the Israeli government, including Foreign Minister, Minister of Public Security and Member of Parliament. His latest book is "Scars of Wars, Wounds of Peace: The Israeli-Arab Tragedy." He speaks to us from Madrid, Spain, where he is currently Vice-President of the
Toledo Peace Center.

Dr. Mona El-Farra, a physician and community activist in northern Gaza. She was at the hospital that received many of the victims of Friday's bombing. She runs a blog titled
"From Gaza, With Love"

AMY GOODMAN: We're joined on the telephone from Spain by Shlomo Ben-Ami. He's the former Foreign Minister of Israel and a former member of the Israeli Knesset. He wrote the book Scars of War, Wounds of Peace: The Israeli-Arab Tragedy. We're also joined on the line by Ali Abunimah, founder of Electronic Intifada,, speaking to us from Jordan. Ali Abunimah, can you talk about the latest news?

ALI ABUNIMAH: Yes. Good morning, Amy. I’m here in Amman, Jordan, and watching the situation very closely. And it reminds me of the eulogy that Rabbi Yakov Perin gave for Baruch Goldstein, the Israeli settler who murdered 29 Palestinians in Hebron in 1994. He said, “One million Arabs are not worth a Jewish fingernail.” And this kind of racism is clearly on display in the Israeli reaction to the capture of its soldier in the Gaza Strip by the Palestinian resistance. In fact, last week here in Amman, the Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said explicitly that the lives of Israeli Jews are more important than the lives of Palestinians.

And we see that reflected also in the world reaction. Is it not astonishing that the entire world knows the name and face of the Israeli soldier, Gilad Shalit, while the hundreds of Palestinian children held in Israel's dungeons, not to mention 10,000 adult prisoners, thousands held without charge and trial, abducted from their homes in the middle of the night by Israeli occupation forces, remain nameless and faceless before a silent world?

And I want to say that it's very deeply painful to me as a Palestinian that while Palestinians in Gaza are demonstrating, the families of prisoners are demonstrating to urge the resistance not to release the soldier until their prisoners and hostages held by Israel are released, that the Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas rushed to condemn the legitimate conventional military operation carried out by the resistance and rushed to send his security forces to hunt for the captured soldier on Israel's behalf, when never once in history has he deployed his forces to protect and defend his own people against Israel's daily massacres. It's becoming unavoidable to many Palestinians, if not most, that Abbas is engaged in open collaboration with the occupation.

And a final point, that as far as Israel is concerned, it is rapidly becoming a failed state, unable to learn any lessons from its past. It's now repeating in Gaza and the West Bank all the mistakes of its invasion and occupation of Lebanon. And I believe that if it doesn't drastically and dramatically change course, it will self-destruct within a decade, perhaps taking everyone else in the region with it. It has become an apartheid pariah state, and its leaders are deluded in thinking that they can bludgeon the indigenous Palestinian population, who are now the majority between the Mediterranean and the Jordan River, into submission and servitude.

I call on brave Israelis to understand the lessons, which brave white South Africans understood, and to engage in a voluntary process with Palestinians of dismantling completely, starting today, the system of racist laws, walls and settler colonies that are imprisoning both people in perpetual and endless and escalating bloodshed. It needs to stop now.

AMY GOODMAN: Ali Abunimah speaking to us from Amman. Let's turn to the former Israeli Foreign Minister, Shlomo Ben-Ami. Your response?

SHLOMO BEN-AMI: Response to what?

AMY GOODMAN: To what Ali Abunimah just said?

SHLOMO BEN-AMI: No, no. I’m not going to respond to that. If you have any particular question with regard to this operation, with regard to the abduction, with regard of the political situation on the ground -- I’m not going to go into that wider analysis about South Africa and what have you.

AMY GOODMAN: Well, why don't you start with what is happening right now?

SHLOMO BEN-AMI: Well, what seems to me that is happening right now is that Israel is trying to change the equation that was established by those who took the soldier as hostage. Their equation was one of releasing the soldier for prisoners in Israeli jails, and Israel seems that the present government is not ready for that, although previous governments did negotiate and Rabin negotiated. Even Sharon negotiated to exchange prisoners. This government doesn't seem to be politically confident enough to negotiate, and therefore, they want to change the equation to one that means that we will withdraw from Gaza or we’ll stop -- we’ll interrupt this incursion if the soldier is released.

Is this going to work? I’m not sure it is going to work. I am afraid that these kind of operations tend to have a dynamic that one knows how they start, one doesn't really know how they end. I hope it doesn't end in the collapse of the Palestinian Authority, in the collapse of Abu Mazen, and the rest of it, because the situation is difficult enough without this modicum of stability and legitimacy that is given by the current president and the prime minister is destroyed. So I really expect that things will be controlled in some way.

AMY GOODMAN: Do you think that the Israeli government should release prisoners?

SHLOMO BEN-AMI: Should release prisoners? Well, I think that these kind of situations require a sort of political approach, rather than military approach. You see, it's not that easy also to say that they should release prisoners, because that means that every Israeli citizen is a candidate to be taken hostage. The dilemma is not simple. I am for a political solution. These might perhaps take the form of, say -- that the quid pro quo from the point of view of Israel would have to be not to persist in the suffocation, the economic suffocation, of the Gaza Strip, the boycott to the Palestinian Authority. These kind of quid pro quos maybe we can reach through some sort of third party mediation. I’m not sure that exchanging prisoners will work, simply because this means exposing every Israeli citizen to being taken hostage.

AMY GOODMAN: Do you think the Israeli government was wrong to reinvade Gaza?

SHLOMO BEN-AMI: Well, yes. I think it was wrong to do that, because -- if only for the reasons that affect the stability of the government itself. You see, the government is engaged now in this idea of disengagement from the West Bank. If the they invade the Gaza Strip, what they are going to show to the Israeli opinion and to public opinion, as a whole, is that disengagement, unilateral disengagement, doesn't work. If you do not coordinate things, either with the Palestinians or through a third party -- the Quartet, for example -- disengagement creates a frontline in a state of war, in a permanent state of war. And therefore, you'll have to reoccupy the territory, so what's the point in disengaging in such a manner? I think the government is exposing the fallacies of its own policy by occupying or reoccupying the Gaza Strip.

AMY GOODMAN: I wanted to go to Gaza right now, where Dr. Mona El-Farra is. She is a physician in northern Gaza, a health development consultant for the Union of Health Work Committees in Gaza. What is the situation on the ground right now, Dr. El-Farra?

DR. MONA EL-FARRA: Since the early hours of the morning, the Israeli army did not stop their sonic bombing against the Gaza Strip. They started the operation last night, 10:30. They targeted the infrastructure of the Gaza Strip. Two-thirds -- the main target was the electrical power plant. And now, two-thirds of Gaza Strip are with no electricity.
The population mood is angry, anxious, worried, scared. But despite all this, demonstrations are going in the streets against the release of the soldier, especially by the families of the political prisoners. This is the opinion, feeling.

And I have a comment here to say. There's no balance of power between the Israeli army and the militia or the resistance movement here in Gaza. Israeli knows that very well. So what's happening in Gaza now is collective punishment. I don't understand, why to destroy the infrastructure? Why to deprive the population from the electricity? It is collective punishment. This will not bring the soldier back.

What will bring the soldier back: negotiation, understanding the rights of Palestinian people to exist. The disengagement plan, for example, and the wall in the West Bank, all these measures Israel did to guarantee its security, it did not, anyway, because the security of Israel is not harmed by the resistance or largely harmed by the Palestinian resistance.

The mood is very bad in Gaza and angry. You can see twenty -- 2,000 people last night demonstrated in the middle camps of Gaza Strip against the release of the soldier, or the release of the soldier in swap of the political prisoners. People feel they are humiliated and Israel and the world wants us to kneel down. This is the mood of the people here now in Gaza.

AMY GOODMAN: The issue of collective punishment, Shlomo Ben-Ami, former Foreign Minister of Israel, your response to that?

SHLOMO BEN-AMI: I am not favorable to collective punishment. But, you see, one needs to see the conditions on the ground. When Israel withdraws from the Gaza Strip and then you have every day Kassam missiles being launched against an Israeli township, what would you do then? What is the answer to that? I mean, either to reoccupy the land or to open political negotiations, but that's, for example, President Abbas or even Ismael Haniyeh -- control all the factions in Gaza, do they control Islamic jihad? Do they control the martyrs of Al-Aqsa? So you have here a very serious problem.

We need sometimes to descend from the heights of the conceptual or even of the moral ground to see what can be done on the ground. So the problem is that the government has been trying all kind of ways to stop the launching of Kassam missiles. I’m sure that Ismael Haniyeh is not interested in these attacks. I’m sure that Mahmoud Abbas is not interested. Do they have the capacity to stop it? They don't have it, because the political system or the hierarchy of command, the chain of command, is invertibrate. So what is Israel to do in such a situation?

AMY GOODMAN: Ali Abunimah, your response?

ALI ABUNIMAH: Well, it's amazing, the rhetoric of Shlomo Ben-Ami, who knows much better. I’ve heard him expose the situation more eloquently, even on your show, Amy. He knows very well that this isn't about Gaza. This is about Israel's relentless assault on the Palestinians throughout the Occupied Territories, its expansion of colonies and settlements in the occupied West Bank, and its announced annexation plan, which even he has criticized. But he's not against the annexation of the West Bank. What he believes, he's deluded in believing, is that Palestinians -- they can find Palestinians who will sit and agree to the annexation of Ma’ale Adumim, Ariel and all the settlements around the Occupied Territories.

What he has to realize and what all Israelis have to realize is that the age of colonialism has ended. He said, Shlomo Ben-Ami said, that the so-called convergence plan, the unilateral annexation plan, is Israeli's attempt to preempt the world recognizing that Israel is now a Jewish minority ruling over a Palestinian majority.

He wants to talk about the Quartet and the U.S. and doing things on the ground, because he doesn't want to talk about the big picture, that what is driving the conflict is the radical inequality between the Jewish minority, that rules all of the territory between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River, and the disenfranchised Palestinian majority, who are paying the price for the luxury that Israel lives in, for the high incomes of Israelis, for the settlements, for the swimming pools, for the security in Tel Aviv and in Hertzliyah and in Jaffa and in Haifa and in Akka, that Israelis live a normal life all around the country, except in Sderot, where they experience the few dozen customs. But what pays for that normality for Israelis is the total disenfranchisement and dispossession of the majority population. And Israel believes that it can hide them behind walls, in ghettos, as was done to Jews in Europe in the 1930s and ‘40s.

And he should be a brave Israeli. He should speak out against the occupation. He should speak out against the apartheid laws inside Israel, not just in the West Bank. He should condemn the law that says that an Israeli citizen can marry anybody in the world, except a Palestinian, that an Israeli who marry a Palestinian has to leave the country. This is a new style of apartheid. It is even, as some have said, a new kind of Nuremberg law. And I’m waiting for Shlomo Ben-Ami to live up to his claimed liberal and progressive credentials and condemn these things and join the struggle to liberate not just Palestinians, but also Israelis, from this devastating system of oppression and apartheid, which will kill all of us --

AMY GOODMAN: Let me put that question to Shlomo Ben-Ami.

SHLOMO BEN-AMI: As I told you, Amy, I really thought we were going to talk about the current crisis, as it is.

AMY GOODMAN: Well, I think --

SHLOMO BEN-AMI: I, of course, do not deny things that I say about the convergence plan. I dedicated my political life to trying to reach a settlement, that essentially meant disengaging from Palestinian lands, having the fully fledged Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital. These are my credentials. It's not books that I’ve written. It is things that I’ve tried to do.
Now, we have a political crisis there, and we are trying to see how we solve it. My suggestion is, as I said before, not to invade, try to find a different quid pro quo, and that is, stopping the suffocation of the Palestinian economy in Gaza, improving relations with the Palestinian Authorities, and moving to a political phase. This is my solution to the current crisis. I don't want to go now into the wider picture. I have said things, I have written things about it. I don't want to repeat it right now. And frankly, I am in the middle of a business lunch. I had the idea that we are having a very short interview.

AMY GOODMAN: Well, let me just ask you --

SHLOMO BEN-AMI: And now I am interrupting the whole reunion.

AMY GOODMAN: I’m very sorry. I just want to ask you one last question: the strikes coming just hours after officials close to Mahmoud Abbas said Hamas had agreed on a document to implicitly recognize Israel within its June ‘67 borders.

SHLOMO BEN-AMI: Yeah. I think it is a very important document. I think that if indeed they sign it, this will at least stem the decline into a potential civil war between Palestinians. I think it is in Israel's interest to have a united Palestinian polity, that is, that subscribes to a shared political plan. I would have preferred them to simply subscribe to the Arab Peace Initiative. I think they have departed from that legitimacy, or from that inter-Arab legitimacy, and created their own. I don't see the logic of it. I think that the Arab Peace Initiative has a worldwide legitimacy, and simply subscribing to it would have meant a lot, in terms of Israeli public opinion. As it is, I think it enhances the unity between Palestinians, but it creates a condition that, I am afraid -- and again, I’m not speaking theory and not generalities -- I’m afraid that the current Israeli government will not see that as a starter.

AMY GOODMAN: I want to thank you for being with us, Shlomo Ben-Ami, former Israeli Foreign Minister, Member of Parliament, book Scars of War, Wounds of Peace: The Israeli-Arab Tragedy. He is speaking to us from Spain. Thanks for joining us. We will come back to this discussion after break with Ali Abunimah, as well as Dr. El-Farra.

AMY GOODMAN: We are talking to Ali Abunimah, founder of Electronic Intifada; and Dr. Mona El-Farra, physician in northern Gaza. Ali Abunimah, your response to this document, that at least those close to Mahmoud Abbas said that Hamas had agreed to recognizing Israel within the ‘67 borders.

ALI ABUNIMAH: I think if tomorrow Ismael Haniyeh and Khaled Meshaal and all the other leaders of Hamas get down on their knees and say, “We want to give up everything to Israel and accept a state on the West Bank and Gaza Strip and accept to cancel the rights of Palestinian refugees and to abandon our rights to resist the occupation in any form whatsoever,” it would make no difference whatsoever, Amy, because the stumbling block, the fiction, here is that it's the Palestinians who have rejected this. The Hamas leaders, like the leaders of Fatah, have said many times that they're willing to talk to Israel, they're willing to recognize Israel. The Hamas leaders have said, “Okay, we don't want to do that in advance, because the PLO did that in advance during the Oslo Accords and got nothing in return. So we do it on the basis of reciprocity.”

The problem, Amy, is that Israel is still completely 100% committed to colonialism. That is why Israel is continuing to seize land in the West Bank, to build new settler colonies every day, to pave Jewish-only roads in the West Bank, to build the apartheid wall, to treat Gaza as a giant prison. The reason that Israel pulled its settlers out of Gaza, as Shlomo Ben-Ami has said before, is to create the fiction that Israel is not ruling over a Palestinian majority, exactly as South Africa created the Bantustans to try and fool the world into thinking that Blacks had their rights within these so-called independent homelands and didn't need to have rights within the South African state. The same trick will not work in Palestine, as it did not work in South Africa.

And the world needs to recognize that. And I’m thrilled that there's a growing civil society movement for boycott, divestment and sanctions that does. This is what is going to put pressure on Israel to end the colonial practices, no matter what document is signed between Hamas and Fatah. That will make no difference if there is no active worldwide opposition and resistance to Israel's colonialism. That is what will make a difference.

AMY GOODMAN: Dr. Mona El-Farra, I wanted to give you the last word. When we last spoke -- Shlomo Ben-Ami was talking about the shelling of Kassam, and we last spoke, Dr. El-Farra, when you were at the hospital after the children, the families were -- the explosions on the beach in Gaza and a number of members of one family killed. What is the latest on that situation?

DR. MONA EL-FARRA: Okay. First, just quickly, I totally agree with the analysis of Mr. Abunimah, totally agree with his analysis. Israelis did not try in the excuse of the soldier. The plan was ready to invade Gaza -- not physically invade it. Anyway, Israel did not invade Gaza. They are controlling us from outside.

Regarding the Kassam rockets, I would like to know how many people really were injured by these Kassam rockets. As I told you before, the balance of power is towards Israel. These Kassam rockets and the other rockets is just very primitive devices. It is just a show of -- protesting against what's happening here. But seriously, it doesn't hurt Israeli security. What was your question?

AMY GOODMAN: The latest on the family that we last spoke to you about, that member -- a number of members of the family, of the Galia family, who were killed at the Gaza beach, and the conflicting reports. Human Rights Watch and you, yourself, as a doctor in the hospital, saying that it was as a result of Israeli shelling, and the Israeli military saying it was Palestinian bombs.

DR. MONA EL-FARRA: Yeah, yeah, okay. This is a big joke for me, and I’m totally, like all of us here in Gaza, totally convinced by the fact that it was Israeli shelling. I met the doctors who received the injured. I saw the injured myself, and the site of injuries show that it was not from mines. Minefield injuries are different from shelling injuries. The site of the injuries were in the upper side of the bodies. Beside, the shrapnel we found, it was the same like what we received in the case of Jabalia two years ago. So no matter what Israel is trying to say -- it is Palestinian mines -- this is not acceptable for us. And you forget all this. We don't need to add a new crime to the Israeli crimes. Even if this was from the Palestinian side, we have a large record of Israeli assault against Palestinians.

And just I need somebody to explain to me, why this sonic bombing? And now, since 3:00 in the morning until now, we are under heavy sonic bombing from the sky. This, I consider, collective punishment, and it will not secure Israeli security. It is just they are humiliating us as Palestinians. They want us to kneel down. And I agree with Mr. Abunimah, what Israel is doing now sort of revives the idea of colonialism in the area.

AMY GOODMAN: I want to thank you both for being with us, Dr. Mona El-Farra, physician, community activist in northern Gaza, and Ali Abunimah, who is founder of We thank you both for joining us.


27 June 2006

Later Today In London - Some Of The Left's 'Big-Guns' Are All Set To Celebrate A 'Night Of Conscience' ...

Shown centre picture, is Flight Lt Malcolm Kendall-Smith of the Royal Air Force, before being sentenced to serve eight months in prison for refusing to return to Iraq to continue participating in Blair & Bush's ongoing illegal warmongering and wanton destruction of that country's life, limb and property.

In addition to his enforced incarceration, Flight Lt Kendall-Smith was simultaneously stuck with a judicial demand that he cough up completely crippling, court costs -- amounting to a staggering £20,000.

But to their eternal credit, many much 'bigger' men [and women] than either Tony Blair or indeed any others from his creepy bunch of crony-buddies could ever hope to be, have banded together in a most admirable attempt to help out this unlikely, uniformed hero.

And thanks to Craig Murray -- something about whom we show immediately below, in italics -- and his timely heads -up, we're now more than happy to be able to help share some ever-so-heartening news in more detail.

Craig Murray - Writer and broadcaster

As Britain's outspoken Ambassador to the Central Asian Republic of Uzbekistan, Craig Murray helped expose vicious human rights abuses by the US-funded regime of Islam Karimov. He is now a prominent critic of Western policy in the region.

But to get back to This Old Brit's main task of today, please take the time to take a good look at this -- paying particular attention to the list of names -- because, believe us when we say we're certainly citing some 'big guns' here.

The courage and integrity of two lieutenants who refused to fight an illegal war in Iraq, Malcolm Kendall-Smith in Britain and Ehren Watada in the USA, will be celebrated at A NIGHT OF CONSCIENCE at St James' Church in London's Piccadilly on Wednesday 28 June, when Tony Benn will introduce comedians Mark Thomas and Mark Steel, composer Michael Nyman, film director Ken Loach, playwright David Edgar, actors Simon Callow and Janet Suzman, fashion designer Vivienne Westwood, singer Ed Harcourt and many more.

Also joining A NIGHT OF CONSCIENCE from the USA will be Eric Seitz, Ehren Watada's lawyer and himself an anti-war activist who has handled thousands of court martial cases.

Both This Old Brit and Richard sincerely wish it were possible for them to show some more tangible sorts of support, as opposed to simply blogging about this.

Sadly and frustratingly though, due to so many different sets of personal circumstances combining to make any more active roles entirely impossible -- we honestly and truly can't.

Still, since it's long been our firm shared belief that half a loaf is always better than none, we're doing all we can to help spread word of what some pretty special others do plan to do, later on today.

So, sidle across right now to the Stop The War Coalition site to see some more on the subject of tonight's super-special, collective celebration of 'A Night Of Conscience'.


25 June 2006

25th June 2006 -- 130th Anniversary Of Custer's Last Stand At The Battle Of The Little Bighorn ...

In America, one hundred and thirty years ago today, 25th June 1876, began the Battle of the Little Big Horn.

But before the next day had ended, so too had the blood bath of a battle.

Likewise the life of General George Armstrong Custer, along with the lives of 225 of his 7th Cavalry men riding with him; massacred to the very last man, in Montana, by Chief Sitting Bull's army of Indian braves.

Since that day on, the famous fighting general with the flowing locks has been seen by almost all & sundry as some sort of 19th century super-hero.

However, as so often can be the case, it appears things may not be quite all they have seemed to be -- or at least made out to be.


For 130 years he has been feted as a hero of the West.

Now his Last Stand at the Battle of the Little Bighorn is exposed ...

By Murray Davies - Daily Mirror

For more than a century General George Armstrong Custer has been lauded as an American hero.

With his golden locks blowing in the wind, bravely wielding a sabre and pistol to the last, for many he symbolises the indomitable spirit of the Old West.

But this weekend, the 130th anniversary of his celebrated Last Stand at the Battle of the Little Bighorn, his heroic status is seriously in doubt.

Historians now believe it was the general's vanity and arrogance that cost his life and those of the 225 officers riding with him that day, massacred by Sitting Bull's army of Indian braves in Montana.

Sounds like some singularly strong stuff, wouldn't you say?

And there are still similar surprises in store.

Such was his desperation to take the credit, he left behind his forces' rapid-firing Gatling guns knowing their transportation would hold up his attack. They also moved out without their sabres.

His troopers, many of them immigrants who spoke little English, had to rely on unreliable Springfield 1873 single shot carbines and Colt revolvers.

Custer pushed his men to the limit until they neared the Little Bighorn river.

On one side stood steep hills while on the other the Indian camp stretched for more than two miles, the largest gathering in 30 years.

It didn't matter to Custer ...

Okay, one last quick clip.

An Arapaho warrior called Waterman claimed he witnessed Custer's last moments.

"He was on his hands and knees. He had been shot through the side and there was blood coming from his mouth. Four soldiers were sitting up around him," he said.

Benteen, who inspected Custer's body, thought he had been killed by the bullet to his side. A second bullet hole in his temple had been fired after he was dead.

His body, naked apart from his socks, was found lying across three dead soldiers while unpublished letters speak of Custer's thighs being slashed to the bone, his ears slit and his groin shot full of arrows.

Out of respect for his widow Libby, the public were never told he had been mutilated.

Here's the Mirror's full featured article.


23 June 2006

U.S. Army First Lt. E.K. Watada, Wants Us To Know Why He Won't Wage War On Innocent Iraqis ...

Here's a story which we believe should be heard & read about, by everyone. Particularly, by Brits and Americans. And especially by anyone connected with or considering becoming connected with, their respective armed services -- for as long as we are are led by such self centred, self serving, serial consumate liars such as our respective current leaders, George Bush and Tony Blair.

Lt. Watada refused orders this morning to deploy to Iraq

Written by

Thursday, 22 June 2006

Now under confin[e]ment and complete gag-order without charge

U.S. Army First Lieutenant Ehren K. Watada reported to duty at 2:00 a.m. early this morning at Fort Lewis, Washington, and refused orders to move to the adjacent McChord Air Force Base to prepare to fly to Iraq. Lt. Watada believes that the war and occupation in Iraq are illegal, and thus participation in the war is also illegal.

Lt. Watada's attorney Eric Seitz said, "This morning Lt. Watada has been restricted to base without any actual charges or proper process.

"By placing a complete gag order on Lt. Watada, the military has again shown that their first concern is silencing Lt. Watada's speech in opposition to the illegal war in Iraq."
As usual there are always some who simply won't be silenced -- and as you may have guessed already, This Old Brit and Richard are a pair of perfect examples.

Here's a relevant link, for which we tip our hats and offer our thanks for the heads up, to
Democracy Rising U.S.

And here's a little taster with which to whet your appetite, before you bugger off from our blog to their site.

Lt. Watada is the first commissioned officer to publicly refuse deployment to the war in Iraq.

By refusing to participate in the on-going Iraq war and occupation, Lt. Watada joins a growing number of high ranking military officers, West Point graduates, and current and former members of the armed services who have expressed their opposition to the actions of the United States in Iraq.
And at this next link you'll find some very interesting extra words re: Lt Watada's story, from earlier in the week via

Incidentally, also over at Indybay you'll see some super snapshots of Lt. Watada and a selection of other civilised, U.S. citizens showing support and applauding such a sincere, principled 'stand'.

We don't know about you, but we wish Lt Watada well.

** Update: Head On Radio, Audio: Listen to Lt. Watada


20 June 2006

About The Amazing Ava From Alabama, 'Peace Takes Courage' And A 'WWJD' Video ..

Jesus said he loved the children.

And This Old Brit and Richard are certain he meant all of them -- including those who were born outside the religion of Judaism, into which the carpenter's son himself was born.

We're equally sure he didn't exclude the [overwhelming majority of] children born outside his own particularly tiny [middle eastern] country. Therefore by logical extension, nor did he exclude any children who do not share his specific nationality.

So it never ceases to amaze and disgust us that some stupefyingly ignorant and/or blatantly biased, so called Christians, see and treat so many innocent infants as children of a somehow, 'lesser' God.

But then maybe that's just us - This Old Brit and Richard.

Maybe thinking of all the poor kids killed by US and UK illegal military intervention as merely collateral damage, is right. ( Sarcasm stops here ).

As This Old Brit's blog title makes quite clear, this is not a 'news' service. Sometimes we help to break and to distribute certain news far more widely and fairly than it might otherwise be. However, in the main we're here to inform, enlighten and educate.

Anyhow, to get back to business.

Today's post is about an amazing 15 year old American girl,
Ava Lowery of Alabama, who is already both better informed and better intentioned than millions of her fellow countrymen and women -- including especially, the 'Counterfeit-Christian' crew.

The brave US teenager who made the video you're now invited [nay, urged] to watch -- and to listen to -- so obviously "sees it" exactly as we two oldies do. And as do many who read and/or post here, be it regularly or not.

That's one of the many reasons we're here today to endeavour to help this young lady spread her heartfelt message [as you could too,if you'd be so kind] and to try to open the eyes, minds and hearts of all those who [albeit sometimes unknowingly] also need some sort of 'help'.

Like Ava's video-link header says, right here:
Peace Takes Courage.

Well, we'll most certainly second that.

Furthermore, we'll even furnish Ava with a footer .

Out of the mouths of babes ...


18 June 2006

So Now Lets Hear It For/From A Singing Marine And Some Of His Sicko Sidekicks In Iraq - Via Video ...

Like many of our readers no doubt had, This Old Brit and Richard had heard about an absolutely abominable audio/video evidencing the apparently endemic barbarity of the Bush Cabal's Iraq invader-occupiers, in which a certain shitheaded, two-stripe scumbag without a soul, strums his guitar while singing his singularly shocking [some may even say Satanic], and sickeningly sadistic song.

If you ask us, this is about as bad as it gets.

It's a song about depravity, debauchery and butchery. The butchery of fellow human beings. The butchery of children.

The butchers being a bunch of big brave, good old US boys who barefacedly brag about being the very epitome of all things evil.

By which we mean that many of this singing shithouse's marine mates are laughing out loud while whooping, hooting, and hollering their approval -- as they listen to and look at their blood-brother-in-arms' puke inducing performance -- with undoubtedly unbridled glee and practically, pure pathological pleasure.

And as we expect so may more had quite understandably understood, we both believed this evidence had been wiped from the web, once and for all, by the sociopathic 21st century US powers that be.

But once we learned that wasn't the case, we straightway thought we should share this with you.

We'd also like you to share with us, in showing some sincere gratitude to Stan at Feral Scholar's site
[which we can reliably report right here & now, is well worth visiting] for ferreting out this faeces.

So here it comes. Please feel free to weep as you watch & listen, since you certainly shan't be alone.

But before you go, here's a tiny teaser of this twisted twit of a cretinous corporal's stupendously, tasteless 'talents'.

I grabbed her little sister and put her in front of me.

As the bullets began to fly, the blood sprayed from between her eyes, and then I laughed maniacally ...

I blew those little fuckers to eternity ...

They should have known they were fucking with the Marines.

Watch here, and wonder with us if this macho-man-Marine's family are suitably proud of him?

Likewise, their obnoxious offspring's uber-enthusiastic audience's families.



15 June 2006

2,500 US Deaths In Iraq As Of Today ...

Today, Thursday 15th June 2006 is a landmark; a lamentable landmark, by any civilised standard.

For the Pentagon has announced that [ at the time of releasing the information] the number of American lives lost fighting in [ the illegal invasion and ongoing occupation of ] Iraq, as conceived, commanded and continued regardless by George W. Bush, has now reached 2,500.

That is, in case some people still haven't realised it, a higher US fatality figure than the number of the American victims of the catastrophic W.T.C. carnage of 11th September 2001.

And even as we sit here and write this, that number has very likely already increased.

By the time you are sitting reading this, the odds are that that total has grown even higher.

As for the number of [mainly innocent civilian] Iraqi people who have been killed, are still being killed and are destined yet to be killed -- that's simply anybody's guess.

Since, as a certain brass slimeball bare-facedly said so early on in this shameful shock and awe show -- nobody counts Iraqi deaths.

Educated estimates made by some concerned souls, well yes, maybe. But as for any official figures -- we're afraid we'd all better just forget it. Forever.

So, upon such a solemn subject we've decide we shouldn't say too much.

The truth is that we shouldn't need to.

Surely such sombre facts and figures speak -- so succinctly -- for themselves.

Here's what BBC online had to say earlier today.

But from This Old Brit, that is all.

May you and yours sleep the sleep of the innocent; peacefully, safely and soundly.

Have a good night.


13 June 2006

Bush, Baghdad, Guantanamo, Europe And More ...

As George W. Bush cavorted once again across the world stage, with his tiresome tragicomic, stand-up clown routine (today it was a captive audience in the safe & secure green zone of Baghdad's turn to be entertained), many much more sincere (and certainly much more cerebrally capable) prime-position-politicians of the world were hard at work elsewhere. And all working together we would hasten to add.


Well, now!

Whoever would have thunk it?

What a weird coincidence, eh?

As any true comedian never tires of telling anyone who'll listen, Timing is everything, and There's no business like show business.

But This Old Brit & Richard didn't come here today just to crack corny old jokes. They came here to enquire as to how many Americans had heard or read about what happened over here in Europe today, as opposed to in Iraq.

Since, as the compassionate conservative cowboy from Crawford aka conman-in-chief, strove to steal the limelight in the middle east, the entire European Union Parliament met to make some news of it's own.

Euro MPs urge Guantanamo closure

The European Parliament has voted overwhelmingly in favour of a motion calling on the US to close the Guantanamo Bay detention camp.

See what we are saying? See what they were saying? Overwhelmingly, no less.

Then carry right on reading.

Austria, which holds the EU presidency, said it would urge US President George Bush to close the camp when EU leaders meet him at a summit next week.

Austrian Foreign Minister Ursula Plassnik said the US base in Cuba was "an anomaly".

"The government of the United States should take measures to close Guantanamo as quickly as possible," Ms Plassnik said.

Coupled with what both the United Nations human rights agency and the International Committee of the Red cross have been hollering, for God knows how long, we'd say that surely only the stupidest of the stupid could carry on swallowing any more Everyone's out of step with the States, shit.

Well, wouldn't you say so too?

Either way, while you're wondering, why not breeze across to read the beeb's full report, eh?

Especially, since you know it makes so much sense.


11 June 2006

Guantanamo, Camp Delta Triple Suicides - This Old Brit Readers' Poll ....

Being run on a weekly budget consisting solely of the small change remaining after a week existing on a pittance of a poor old Brit's pension, this blog couldn't possibly manage to maintain one of those hi-tech type, voting thingee mechanisms. Be it of the infamous designed-to-deceive, rigged 'Diebold' electronic models or not.

Therefore, for our first ever Old Brit reader-poll we invite you to simply type into the comments box, the appropriate alphabet letter. Hopefully, accompanied by some of those special common sense comments we've now become accustomed to expecting as a matter of course.

Please read both of these related BBC reports regarding the recent Guantanamo Bay, Camp Delta triple [so called] suicides.

Okay? Any questions?


Then here is ours.

Which of the following quotes sounds the most stupendously shocking and sickeningly stupid, shovel full of lying bullshit you've been subjected to and seriously expected to swallow, since the last lot of fixed American elections?

Is it (A).

The US says the detainees had other means of protest

A top US official has described the suicides of three detainees at the US base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, as a "good PR move to draw attention".

Colleen Graffy told the BBC the deaths were part of a strategy and "a tactic to further the jihadi cause", but taking their own lives was unnecessary.

Or is it (B).

But earlier, the camp commander, Rear Adm Harris said he did not believe the men had killed themselves out of despair.

"They are smart. They are creative, they are committed," he said.

"They have no regard for life, either ours or their own. I believe this was not an act of desperation, but an act of asymmetrical warfare waged against us."

Or is it (C).

Ken Roth, head of Human Rights Watch in New York, told the BBC the men had probably been driven by despair.

"These people are despairing because they are being held lawlessly," he said.

"There's no end in sight. They're not being brought before any independent judges. They're not being charged and convicted for any crime."

That view was supported by British Muslim Moazzam Begg who spent three years in Guantanamo. He said of the camp's inmates: "They're in a worse situation than convicted criminals and it's an act of desperation."

Or is it (D).

The sister of a UK inmate of Guantanamo Bay has said she is "suspicious" about the suicides of three detainees at the US base in Cuba.

Amani Deghayes and her family have campaigned for the release of her brother Omar, 37, from Brighton, since his detention in 2002.

Ms Deghayes, from Kilburn, north London, said she did not know what to think about the suicides.

"I find it quite hard to believe they managed to kill themselves," she said.

Her suspicions have been raised, she explained, because inmates are allowed to have so few items in their cells.


10 June 2006

Another Apocalypse Now - In Iraq ...

Some soldiers serve their country.

Sadly, certain scumbags serve only to shame it.

Some people, such as This Old Brit and Richard, never shy away from standing up to be counted. Some others seek to slink off into the shadows, and some do so on a serial basis.

To which group belongs a certain NCO, Sgt Frank Wuterich of Kilo Company, Third Battalion, First [US] Marines along with several others from the same ' band of brothers' -- ranking both above and below him -- remains as yet to be seen.

Remember what it says in This Old Brit's blog profile -- Richard Reports. You decide.

But to help more plainly put you in the picture, here's a bit more about the man/men we've mentioned -- snipped from Scotland's award winning independent newspaper, The Sunday Herald.

So far, three marine officers, including the commander of Kilo Company and the commander of the third battalion, have been relieved of duty.

The investigation is centred on the NCO who was leading Kilo Company on the day, and was allegedly at the scene of nearly every killing, and a number of other soldiers who are said to have taken part directly in the killings.

Sources close to the investigation have named the ranking marine as 25-year-old Sgt Frank Wuterich. Up to nine other men witnessed the killings but did nothing.
Here's a little longer extract from the same sickening story.

CIVILIANS who spent time at the Haditha Dam base of the Third Battalion of the First Marines describe the place as something out of Apocalypse Now or Lord Of The Flies.

It was 'feral' one said. Soldiers didn't wash. They had abandoned regulation billets and had built make-shift, primitive huts bearing skull-and-crossbone signs. The place stank.

One American civilian engineer attached to the camp, with the task of keeping the huge hydro-electric dam nearby operating, said he was terrified of the soldiers he had to live alongside.

Kilo Company was part of the Third Battalion. At 7.15am on November 19 last year, as a column of Kilo Company Humvees drove down the Hay al-Sinnai Road in Haditha, a bomb exploded under the last vehicle 'the tail-end charlie' killing the driver, 20-year-old Lance Corporal Miguel Terrazas.

What happened next will go down in US military history as the worst deliberate atrocity carried out against unarmed civilians by American forces since the notorious massacre at My Lai in Vietnam when GIs killed around 500 people, mainly women, children and the elderly.

Minutes after Terrazas died, the remaining 13-strong unit of marines went on a bloody rampage, wiping out whole families, killing women, children and an elderly man in a wheelchair, and hurling grenades into homes. In all, 24 Iraqi civilians were murdered by American troops.

The killings are already having a corrosive effect on US society, war-weary from scandals such as the torture of detainees at Abu Ghraib and the ever-mounting death toll of American troops. US government sources say some of the marines involved will be put on trial, and could face the death penalty for their crimes.

The men of Kilo Company have been involved in some of the worst horrors of the Iraq war, including the assault on Fallujah which involved close-up killing and hand-to-hand fighting. Many of the marines in Kilo Company were on their second tour of duty in Iraq at the time of the massacre in Haditha.

As soon as the shooting stopped, the marines started to lie and cover up the truth about the Haditha killings.

The faked-up version of events went something like this: as a taxi drove up Hay al-Sinnai Road towards the Humvee column, the marines waved to it to stop. When the Humvees and the taxi came to a halt, a bomb detonated, indicating, the marines claimed, that the taxi was either meant to lure the Humvees over the bomb or that someone in the taxi detonated the bomb. The marines claimed they immediately came under fire from nearby houses once the bomb exploded.

The four passengers in the taxi and the driver fled, the marines claimed, and were all shot dead. Soldiers then returned fire on the positions shooting at them, killing eight insurgents. Fifteen civilians, they said, also died in the explosion which killed the Humvee driver Terrazas.

Investigations by the military, accounts by survivors and reports by human rights organisations and medics have proved that this version of events contains barely a grain of truth.

Shocking, eh?

Here's some more of the same.

When it became clear that the civilians had been shot by US soldiers, the marines switched to saying that the deaths were the fault of insurgents who placed non-combatants in the line of fire as the marines responded to defend themselves.

However, that claim also fell apart when other senior US commanders in Baghdad saw the tape and a criminal investigation was opened.

Military police travelled to Haditha, examined the murder scenes, spoke to survivors and interviewed marines.

The marine's story quickly collapsed and members of Kilo Company started to implicate each other.
Well, surprise, surprise. Who would have thought it, eh? Accusing their close comrades; stabbing their big brave brothers in the back; fibbing and fingering their fellow troopers.

They certainly sound like some special sort of fine upstanding soldiers, wouldn't you say?

Here's your last 'taster' from this terrible tale.

A doctor at the hospital said there were no signs of shrapnel wounds from explosives on the bodies, instead the bullet wounds were very apparent.

Most of the victims were shot in the chest and head from close range. Death certificates for all the murdered Iraqi civilians also showed they were all shot - many in the head and chest.

One marine who had to help clear up the aftermath of the murders and remove the bodies, Lance Corporal Roel Ryan Briones, said he was traumatised by what he'd seen. They ranged from little babies to adult males and females, he said. I'll never be able to get that out of my head. I can still smell the blood. This left something in my head and heart.

Briones's mother added: He had to carry a little girl's body. Her head was blown off and her brain splattered on his boots.
Read the rest of the full revolting report right here.

09 June 2006

Now America Wants To Wage Another War -- A War On The World Wide Web

Blooming brilliant, ain't it?

It's simply Sod's law, some may say.

After blogger being well and truly buggered for the last few days, finally it limps back to life, and what do we find to be the first piece we have to publish after it's absence?

Bloody bad news --- with a couple of capital Bs.

The United States of America now warns the world that it wants to wage yet another war -- a war on the world wide web!

Yep, you read that right.

US politico-pricks are planning an attack on the internet itself.

Can you say shock and awe?

Some smart players say that sooner or later it was certain to happen;that it was merely a matter of time.

Well, we say, it should not be allowed to happen.

Never. Ever. Not at any time at all.

Hit this BBC link to see some more of what we're alerting you too.

But first, read the horrible headline.

Defeat for net neutrality backers

US politicians have rejected attempts to enshrine the principle of net neutrality in legislation.
So, can you help?

Can you call your own local politco?

Can you let him or here know what they're letting themselves in for if they meekly go along with this idea?

Can you make it clear to them as to how many millions of votes they'll miss out on unless they rapidly revert to representing the people, rather than the people's oppressors?

Maybe more to the point -- will you?

Because it's our own firm belief that if this actually is allowed to happen, then it truly is the end of civilization as we've all come to know it.

And we're neither joking nor exaggerating.

That's the honest to God , plain and simple way that This Old Brit and Richard see it.


06 June 2006

John Pilger - The People's Media Hero - On-line And Off-line ...

Here's a face we're fairly certain few Americans will recognise.

And that's certainly a sorry state of affairs. Really, it is.

World famous, multi award winning investigative journalist, awesome author and independent film maker par excellence that this amazing Australian is, he's hardly ever heard of in the United States.

And that sure is some sad loss.

And the fact that it's almost impossible for our pal Pilger to have any of his works published, read, viewed, aired and/or distributed in America, ain't no accident. Not by a long chalk.

Mr Pilger simply scares some governments shitless, especially those with dirty and blood stained linen they'd rather remained hidden from general public view -- particularly from their own down-home public.

In case you hadn't heard, John Pilger is the briliiant and brave man who found out for himself first hand, then broke the appalling story to the horrified world at large, about the infamous 'Killing Fields'.

Several similarly super-shocking stories have been sent down the wires since, by the self same man. A genuinely magnificent media hero of our troubled times if ever there was one. And you'd better believe it.

How or why else would he have found his way onto our own blogroll-links bar from day one, if this wasn't truly the case?

Pilger's the man permanently prepared to put his life on the line in many more ways than one, to shout out loud & clear what so many other so called foreign correspondents wouldn't dare dream of even whispering.

In his own field, he's the creme de la creme. Hence, so many different country's cretinous governments can't cope with all which Pilger works at making common knowledge.

So it's not surprising he's pretty well unheard of stateside of the Atlantic. And that's such a crying shame -- if not a downright, straight off, sodding sin.

Getting the gist yet, of This Old Brit's Pilger blogpost?

Whatever -- get a load of this -- from last weekend's Guardian.

Voice of the unpeople

Mark Curtis is awed by journalist John Pilger and his novel Freedom Next Time

Saturday June 3, 2006
The Guardian
Freedom Next Time - by John Pilger

John Pilger is a very unusual journalist. He writes about people on the receiving end of grisly western policies - whether bombs or economic "advice" - and then exposes the motivations of those who are responsible. One might think Pilger is just doing his job.

In fact, it is an indictment of western journalism that this way of working is rather unusual and Pilger unique.
See what we were saying?

Here's another tasty teaser.
A secret document drawn up by British planners in 1968 was called "maintaining the fiction", and argued (knowing it was untrue) that the islanders were not permanent inhabitants.

The author, one Anthony Ivall Aust, then a legal adviser to the Foreign Office, was subsequently awarded a CMG in the Queen's birthday honours.

The story is a good indication of mainstream British political culture - buried in the mainstream media, the perpetrators of crimes against foreign unpeople shower honours on themselves while the US is appeased.

Yet "maintaining the fiction" also nicely describes Whitehall's current stance in the Middle East, where the official story is that Britain is an "honest broker" between Israel and Palestine.

The reality is that Britain has provided more than £70m in military equipment to Israel in the past five years, acts as Israel's chief defender in the EU ...
And as for the US ...
In some of Pilger's other interviews, such as those with Bush administration officials John Bolton and Douglas Feith, the absurdity of modern imperialism stands out.

Bolton was described by Senator Jesse Helms as "the kind of man with whom I would want to stand at Armageddon"; Feith, meanwhile, after his fall from the Pentagon, was described by General Tommy Franks, the US commander in Iraq, as "the fucking stupidest guy on the face of the earth".
Okay, now that we've got you going, go read the rest right here.

And be sure to bookmark Pilger's own web place -- then be equally sure to read him regularly.

You'll regret it if you forget it. You can bet the fabled farm on that.

Last but not least, try to treat yourself to Pilger's latest block-busting book, and find out - maybe for the first time - a few hidden home truths.*


04 June 2006

Some More On The Subject Of Misled US Soldiers ...

We've nothing nothing to say for ourselves today.

So sit and see and hear this scary, shameful story for yourself.

Simply click centre screen arrow to start.

( Thanks are due to Hadaloo at 'YouTube'.)


02 June 2006

Anglo American AWOLs Alarm ...

Apparently, there's an awful lot of it about, lately.

A.W.O.L., that is.

In other words: Absent Without Leave. A la the young George W. Bush.

Though 'This Old Brit' would argue that since Bush never ever did return to his duties, his was a clear cut case of desertion -- even though he had the cushiest of numbers safe back home, and was never in any danger of anything except his own bad 'habits'. Nor was he ever expected to 'dirty' his high class hands in any 'action' at all.

However, the growing numbers of UK and US servicemen deciding they've had enough of their lying political leaders' illegal invasions, occupations and sundry war crimes against humanity, have far greater grounds for such 'actions' than dumb-ass, chickenhawk Dubya ever did.

His bosom buddy Blair, of course, never even made any pretence of 'serving' his country, in the strictest sense of the word. Nor, as far as we're aware, did/have/will any of his smart-arse family.

But before we digress further from the point we planned to make -- take a look at this.

When AWOL Is the Only Way Out

Peter Laufer, AlterNet. Posted June 2, 2006.

As explained in a new book, Mission Rejected, the sight of U.S. troops kicking the heads of decapitated Iraqis around 'like a soccer ball' made Army soldier Joshua Key desert to Canada.

Former U.S. Army Soldier Joshua Key. Image by Kate Gridley

The following text is an excerpt from Peter Laufer's new book, "
Mission Rejected: U.S. Soldiers Who Say No to Iraq" (Chelsea Green, 2006).

"We was going along the Euphrates River," says Joshua Key, a 27-year-old former U.S. soldier from Oklahoma, detailing a recurring nightmare -- a scene he stumbled on shortly after the U.S. invasion of Iraq in March 2003. "It's a road right in the city of Ramadi. We turned a real sharp right and all I seen was decapitated bodies. The heads laying over here and the bodies over here and U.S. troops in between them. I'm thinking, 'Oh my God, what in the hell happened here? What's caused this? Why in the hell did this happen?' We get out and somebody was screaming, 'We fucking lost it here!' I'm thinking, 'Oh, yes, somebody definitely lost it here.'"

Joshua says he was ordered to look around for evidence of a firefight, for something to rationalize the beheaded Iraqis. "I look around just for a few seconds and I don't see anything." But then he noticed the sight that now triggers his nightmares. "I see two soldiers kicking the heads around like a soccer ball. I just shut my mouth, walked back, got inside the tank, shut the door, and it was like, I can't be no part of this. This is crazy. I came here to fight and be prepared for war but this is outrageous. Why did it happen? That's just my question: Why did that happen?"

He's convinced there was no firefight that led to the beheading orgy -- there were no spent shells to indicate a battle. "A lot of my friends stayed on the ground, looking to see if there was any shells. There was never no shells, except for what we shot. I'm thinking, Okay, so they just did that because they wanted to do it. They got trigger happy and they did it. That's what made me mad in Iraq. You can take human lives at a fast rate and all you have to say is, say, 'Oh, I thought they threw a grenade. I thought I seen this, I thought I seen that.'

You could mow down 20 people each time and nobody's going to ask you, 'Are you sure?' They're going to give you a high five and tell you that you was doing a good job."

He still cannot get the scene out of his head. "You just see heads everywhere," he says. "You wake up, you'll just be sitting there, like you're in a foxhole. I can still see Iraq just as clearly as it was the day I was there. You'll just be on the side of a little river running through the city, trash piled up, filled with dead. Heads and stuff like that.

I don't sleep that much, you might say. I don't sleep that much."

His wife, Brandi, nods in agreement and says he cries in his sleep.

You can, nay you should, read the revolting rest of this soldier's sorry story at Alternet.

(Hat tip to Current Era for the above).

And it's not just American troops who are sick and tired of the ongoing horrors.

Far from it in fact.

Examine for example this enlightening excerpt -- pathetically played down by the MOD, as usual of course -- from a piece recently published by the BBC News website.

At least 1,000 UK soldiers desert

Cases of soldiers deserting the army are said to be rising

More than 1,000 members of the British military have deserted since the start of the Iraq war, the BBC has learned.

Figures for those still missing are 86 from 2001, 118 from 2002, 134 from 2003, 229 from 2004, 377 from 2005, and 189 for this year so far.

The news comes as Parliament debates a law that will forbid military personnel from refusing to participate in the occupation of a foreign country.

The MoD insists "absent without leave" figures have remained constant. A Ministry of Defence spokeswoman said the soldiers currently missing were considered to be "absent without leave" and would have to be court martialled before they could be found guilty of deserting.

She added only one person has been found guilty of deserting the Army since 1989. According to MoD figures 2,670 soldiers went "absent without leave" in 2001, with the figure rising to 2,970 in 2002 and falling in 2003 to 2,825. In 2004 it rose to 3,050, falling back again in 2005 to 2,725.
(Hat tip to Gorilla's Guides for the above).

See what we mean by 'played down'?

Spin, it seems, still reigns supreme in Blair's British Mili-Politco World.

But do they still not understand what their soldiers are saying?

Read the rest of this revealing report, right here.


01 June 2006

Special Short & Senseless Tooth-ache Dispensation Edition ...

Basking and bathing in the beautifully barmy Barcelona sunshine and having been unbothered by bloomin' anything at the time of the recent press conference held by the Blood Brothers/Bush & Blair, hasn't altered our abilities to catch up on most of what transpired trans-world-wise, while we travelled, now that we're both back in Britain and the blogging business.

But ...... a terrible tooth ache -- which could well turn out to be an abscess -- has been driving Richard nuts for a full day and night, and he's now swallowed so many pain-killers that he can hardly keep his eyes open, let alone make any sense.

So unfortunately it's going to be tomorrow, after a trip to the dentist, before the next blogpost proper gets banged out.

But what does the first paragraph and the three accompanying pictures have to do with that?

You may well ask.

But don't ask Richard -- he's too far out of it all right now, to be able to think, see or talk straight.

No doubt he'll make much more sense when he gets back from his 9 AM dental appointment in the morning.

But in the meantime, we're afraid it's going to have to be a polite goodnight from me -- and a garbled, pill-filled/fuelled goodnight from him.