Blogroll Me! How This Old Brit Sees It ...: June 2008

30 June 2008

Israelis Assault Award Winning Journalist

Photos like this have made Mohammed Omer unpoplar with Israel's security services

From the
Inter Press Service:

Mohammed Omer, joint winner of the 2008 Martha Gellhorn Prize for Journalism, was strip-searched at gunpoint, assaulted and abused by Israeli security officials at the Allenby border crossing between Jordan and the West Bank on Thursday as he tried to return home to Gaza.

Accompanied by Dutch diplomats, Omer passed through the Jordanian side of the border without incident. However, after arrival on the Israeli side, trouble began. He informed a female soldier that he was returning home to Gaza. He was repeatedly asked where Gaza was, and told that he had neither a permit nor any coordination to cross. His luggage was again searched, and security then proceeded to go through every document and paper he had on him, taking down the names and numbers of the European parliamentary officials he had met.

The security men also demanded he show all the money he had on him, and particular attention was paid to the British pounds he was carrying. His Gellhorn prize money had been awarded in British pounds but he was not carrying the entire sum on him bodily, something the investigators refused to believe. After being unable to produce the prize money, he was ordered to strip naked. Every cavity of his body was searched as one of the investigators pinned him down on the floor, placing his boot on Omer’s neck. Omer began vomiting, and fainted.

When he came round his eyelids were being forcibly opened and his eardrums probed by an Israeli military doctor, who was also armed. He was then dragged along the floor by his feet by the Shin Bet officials, with his head repeatedly banging on the floor, to a Palestinian ambulance which had been called.
Looks like Jimmy Carter was right when he likened the administration of the occupied territories to South Africa's apartheid.

(cross posted at Liberal Avenger) (via appletree)


27 June 2008

New Labour's Horrific Humiliation in Henley Election ...

Good God, Gordon!

Bloody hell, Mr Brown!

Perishing poll booths, Prime Minister!

Petrified politicians, Premier!

So it's come to this then, eh?

New Labour forced into fifth flamin' place in the latest bloomin' by-election?

'Strewth, sunshine! Some are going to say you've shit it ... for certain.

Labour fifth as Tories win Henley

Conservative leader David Cameron has hailed an "excellent result" in the Henley by-election, which saw Labour beaten into fifth place.
Read the rest re;this shock(ing), shameful shambles.

But best to look on the bright side. Since things could, so easily, have turned out even bleedin' worse.

At least you beat the barmpot Bananaman Owen -- and his
Monster Raving Loony Party.


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26 June 2008

Special Edition: Recent Turkish Trip: Expensive Glossy Colour Supplement ... For Free ...

Ever wondered why we take off to Turkey at every opportunity?

Well, whether you ever wondered or not ...


Thanks to the wonders of we silver surfers' world wide web, our new fangled digital cameras AND the famous, fantastic "Flickr", today we can show you just a few reasons why.

Ha! Are we becoming the new David Bailey or what, eh?

Okay, okay, so you're getting bored. But just have a look at these last two, so we can leave you with a smile on your face.

And, hey! Never mind David bloomin' Bailey - how about this hunk?

Go on then ... have the last laugh.

(Cross posted at 'appletree')

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25 June 2008

OLD Mates: 90 Year Old Nelson Mandela and 82 Year Old Queen Elizabeth Get Together Again ...

Today, Her Most Britannic Majesty Queen Elizabeth 11 of Great Britain (phew, what a mouthful), and her old friend the marvelous, magnificent 90 year old Nelson Mandela got together once again:in London, in Buckingham Palace.

Incidentally, for those among us who weren't aware or had forgotten, it's now 13 years since the former, personally bestowed upon the latter, the coveted 'Order of Merit'. (The sovereign's personal gift - as shown below.)

But back to the present.

Mandela meets Queen on UK visit

Nelson Mandela has met the Queen as part of a week-long UK visit marking the former South African president's 90th birthday.

They had a private audience at Buckingham Palace.

The statesman will also host a dinner party fundraiser later for celebrities and world leaders, with Prime Minister Gordon Brown expected to attend.

Mr Mandela arrived in the UK on Sunday ahead of a birthday concert in London's Hyde Park on Friday.
Read the rest here and see and hear the "must watch" BBC video of their meeting. But be prepared to be surprised, since Mr Mandela's age appears to have caught up with him;sadly, rather suddenly.

Now, before closing this blog post, we can't possibly pass up the opportunity to remind everyone that Nelson Mandela had the rancid, reprobate Robert Mugabe well and truly figured out almost a decade ago.
Witness what follows, from the Namibian Times in the year 2000 ... but first peruse the following quick cut & paste.

Mandela expresses anger at Mugabe

CAPE TOWN - Former South African President Nelson Mandela has slammed Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, labelling him a tyrant who has held on to power for too long.

Mandela, who launched the global partnership for Children of the United Nation's Children Fund with his wife Graca Machel in Johannesburg on Saturday, said some African leaders had liberated their countries, but had then overstayed their welcome.

"They want to die in power because they have committed crimes. The tyrant of the day can be destroyed by you and I," he said.

He said leaders like Alexander the Great, Julius Caesar, Pompeii, and Adolf Hitler had also been brought down by the ordinary masses.

Asked by reporters whether he was specifically referring to Mugabe, Mandela snapped back: "Everybody here knows who I am talking about".
Talk about giants and pygmies, eh?

Talk about the good, the bad and the ugly, eh?

Oh, by the way ... have a very happy birthday, Mr Mandela!

And may you have many more of 'em, mate.

1st Update:Queen strips Mugabe of knighthood.

2nd update: Nelson Mandela spoke [today] in London of "the tragic failure of leadership" in Zimbabwe.

(Cross posted at appletree)

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Neanderthals of the UK


From the BBC:

Dozens of tools thought to have belonged to Neanderthals have been dug up at an archaeological site called Beedings in West Sussex. Dr Matthew Pope, of University College London, said the discovery provided new insights into the life of a thriving community of hunters at the site.

"It's exciting to think that there's a real possibility these were left by some of the last Neanderthal hunting groups to occupy northern Europe," said Dr Pope. "The impression they give is of a population in complete command of both landscape and natural raw materials with a flourishing technology - not a people on the edge of extinction."
(cross posted at appletree)


24 June 2008

Gormless, Goofy Generals? Or Godamned Greedy Others?

Some time ago, an extremely powerful world leader learned the hard way, just how costly it is to ignore one's own military generals.

Yet even now, there are still some world leaders who can't/won't either face facts nor, learn from others' catastrophically, costly cock-ups.

White House denies Army's pitch for more brass

By Richard Lardner, Associated Press Writer, Mon Jun 23 2008

WASHINGTON - The Army's march to overhaul its tarnished contracting system has been slowed by an unlikely foe: the White House.

The Office of Management and Budget, President Bush's administrative arm, has shot down a service plan to add five active-duty generals who would oversee purchasing and monitor contractor performance.

The boost in brass was a key recommendation from a blue-ribbon panel that last fall criticized the Army for contracting failures that undermined the war effort in Iraq and Afghanistan, wasted U.S. tax dollars, and sparked dozens of procurement fraud investigations.

So, is THIS sheer stupidity or is this sheer stupidity?

Well, they got THAT right. Ike WAS right.

(Cross posted at 'appletree')

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22 June 2008

Epic Fail: Bush's Central Asia Policy

The Taliban and their allies are enjoying a resurgence throughout Central Asia

How badly has Bush failed in Afghanistan and Central Asia? This badly:

Ahmed Rashid, a Pakistani journalist of the highest narrative and analytical gifts, is baffled by the West’s almost demented indifference and folly towards Afghanistan and his own country. The stakes are huge. If either state fails, as is highly plausible, global stability will be rocked. The United Nations, Nato, the European Union and, of course, America will see their purposes and credibility set at naught.

Yet, as Rashid writes: “The international community’s lukewarm commitment to Afghanistan after 9/11 has been matched only by its incompetence, incoherence and conflicting strategies — all led by the United States.” Meanwhile, in Pakistan, Washington’s commitment, since 2001, to support President Pervez Musharraf’s military dictatorship rather than to promote the interests of the Pakistani people, “has created immense hatred for the US army and America, hatred that penetrates all classes of society”.
So how did we go from being the liberators of Afghanistan to being primary target of hatred in the region? And how did we allow the Taliban to go from being the despised former rulers of Afghanistan to being a potent political force in the region? Through good, old-fashioned neglect:
Read more »

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The Latest on Zimbabwe, Mugabe, Tsvangirai, Mayhem, Maiming, Murder and More ...

This time, our questions are definitely NOT rhetorical.

If our own dear leaders here in the west are, as they consistently tell everyone who's sufficiently stupid enough to swallow their shit, are remotely interested in spreading true democracy -- why aren't they zeroing in on Zimbabwe? And why aren't they practising what they preach?

You know, like giving ordinary everyday people their freedom.

Like enforcing regime change(s) where and when they're so obviously needed

Like ousting, without delay, some of the world's worst, w*nkers of despised dictators of the day.

Like actively working at making the world a better place, by rapidly removing from power all (patently) mad, monstrosities of men like Robert Mugabe.


We'd really like to hear some (sensible) answers this time.

Honestly. Truly. We want to know.

For example, why don't they help, in every possible way, people like Zimbabwe's opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai ? Indeed, why haven't they already?

And why in the world won't they take some genuinely serious, steps to stop such scandalous stuff as is increasingly being suffered in certain areas of Africa?

Mugabe rival quits election race

Zimbabwe's opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai says he is pulling out of Friday's presidential run-off, handing victory to President Robert Mugabe.

Mr Tsvangirai said there was no point running when elections would not be free and fair and "the outcome is determined by... Mugabe himself".

He called on the global community to step in to protect Zimbabweans.

The decision came after opposition supporters heading to a rally in the capital Harare came under attack.

The opposition Movement for Democratic Change says at least 70 supporters have been killed in recent months.

Incidentally, the brave Mr Tsvangirai himself knows only too well, from past painful personal experience, what it's like to even be 'lucky' and to get off lightly, when it comes to being on the receiving end of madman Mugabe's evil enforcers. As is shown below.

Read the rest of this latest BBC report on the fast worsening situation in Zimbabwe.

Then shudder at the sight of the sick, sadistic, soulless, despotic scumbag shown above.

Then strive -- strive and strive again -- to shame some of our own 'dear leaders' into some sort(s) of appropriate action -- soon.

(Cross posted at 'appletree' )

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21 June 2008

The real reason for high gas prices

There you have it. Insecurity about the oil supply brought about by war in Iraq, tension in Iran, and unrest in Africa pushed prices up, but the reason they've continued to spiral out of control is the deregulated market in energy futures. Naturally, John McCain's top economic adviser was the person most responsible for deregulating the market.

It really goes without saying, but I'll say it anyway: a vote for John McCain is a vote for more of the same.

(cross posted at Liberal Avenger and appletree)


20 June 2008

Iran Attack : Israel's Recent Ominous Rehearsals Revealed ...

'Strewth in heffin !!

What a barmy bleeding way to run a bloody world.

We wish we'd stayed safely secreted (sorta), away where we were leading a peaceful, worry free, effing media-less life.

Of course, it would not nor will not make the slightest difference to what will or will not be. That much, we learned a long time ago but, it sure as hell would still be working wonders for our blood pressure.

Israelis 'rehearse Iran attack'

More than 100 Israeli F16 and F15 jets were involved in the exercise

Israel has carried out an exercise that appears to have been a rehearsal for an attack on Iran's nuclear facilities, US officials have told the New York Times.

More than 100 Israeli fighter jets took part in manoeuvres over the eastern Mediterranean and over Greece in the first week of June, US officials said.

Iran insists its programme is peaceful, but Israel sees Iran's development of the technology as a serious threat.



Several US officials briefing the New York Times said the exercise was intended to demonstrate the seriousness of Israel's concern over Iran's nuclear activities, and its willingness to act unilaterally.

"They wanted us to know, they wanted the Europeans to know, and they wanted the Iranians to know," a Pentagon official is quoted as saying by the newspaper.

"There's a lot of signalling going on at different levels."
Check you blood pressure before reading the rest of this latest alarming report.

(Cross posted at 'appletree')

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A Cure for Cancer?


From the Guardian:

A patient whose skin cancer had spread throughout his body has been given the all-clear after being injected with billions of his own immune cells.

Tests revealed that the 52-year-old man's tumours, which spread from his skin to his lung and groin, vanished within two months of having the treatment, and had not returned two years later.

Doctors attempted the experimental therapy as part of a clinical trial after the man's cancer failed to respond to conventional treatments.
(Cross posted at Liberal Avenger and appletree)


19 June 2008

Oz Overtakes America in the 'Orrible Obesity Olympics ...

OK, joke over.

So now for some serious stuff.

Australia beats US to title of most obese nation, report finds

Australians have out-eaten Americans to become the fattest people on earth, according to a study published today.

The report from the Baker Heart Institute found that 26 per cent of adult Australians had a body mass index of 25 or more, meaning they were overweight or obese. It warned that the ...


The findings make Australia the world's most overweight nation, ahead of the US, which has a 25 per cent obesity rate.

For crying out loud. We wonder if that means Australia's now got fatter flamin' fellows than this?

And/or fatter flippin' females than this?

Read this rest on this 'orrible, Oz obesity story.

(Cross posted at 'appletree')

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18 June 2008

R.I.P. Cyd Charisse ...

What a woman she was. What a brilliant (and beautiful), dancer the lady was. And what a pair of legs. You'd better believe us.

Cyd Charisse was one of those very few super-special, stars of the silver screen of whom the Golden Age of (technicolour), Hollywood Musicals was made.

And we should know. We quite literally 'grew up' on a diet of Hollywood Musicals. A diet lovingly fed to us on a regular basis by two dear old childless aunts.

Oh, happy days.

In those days, cinemas - and there were so many of them (everywhere) - showed three completely different programmes per week.

One was Monday to Wednesday, another was Thursday to Saturday and the other was Sunday only.

All of which made it a simple matter to see a brand new full programme for all seven days of the week, without having to travel any further away from one's own front door than a twenty minute walk.

Anyway, Cyd Charrise was a brilliant dancer and a true natural beauty ... and boy, when it came to legs Cyd was in a class of here own. To this day, we can safely say with hand held on heart that we've still not seen a pair as perfect.

Sad to say, Cyd passed away yesterday at the age of 86.

We're sure she'll be missed by many ... all over the world ... just as much as she'll be missed by ourselves.

See some more of/on Cyd Charrisse at her official website.


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Now THIS is a clever underground campaign video [c-word warning]

(via Eschaton) (cross posted at Liberal Avenger and appletree)


17 June 2008

An expansion of the Afghan War?

Afghan president Hamid Karzai

From the New York Times:

President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan threatened on Sunday to send soldiers into Pakistan to fight militant groups operating in the border areas to attack Afghanistan. His comments, made at a news conference in Kabul, Afghanistan, are likely to worsen tensions between the countries, just days after American forces in Afghanistan killed 11 Pakistani soldiers on the border while pursuing militants.

“If these people in Pakistan give themselves the right to come and fight in Afghanistan, as was continuing for the last 30 years, so Afghanistan has the right to cross the border and destroy terrorist nests, spying, extremism and killing, in order to defend itself, its schools, its peoples and its life,” Mr. Karzai said.

“When they cross the territory from Pakistan to come and kill Afghans and kill coalition troops, it exactly gives us the right to go back and do the same,” he said.

Mr. Karzai named several militant leaders, including Baitullah Mehsud, a Pakistani who has sent scores of fighters and suicide bombers to Afghanistan, and Maulana Fazlullah, a firebrand militant leader from the Swat Valley. Both men have recently negotiated peace deals with the Pakistani government, but vowed to continue waging jihad in Afghanistan.

“Baitullah Mehsud should know that we will go after him now and hit him in his house,” Mr. Karzai said. “And the other fellow, Pakistani Mullah Omar, should know the same,” Mr. Karzai said. “This is a two-way road in this case, and Afghans are good at the two-way-road journey. We will complete the journey and we will get them and we will defeat them. We will avenge all that they have done to Afghanistan for the past so many years.”
It appears that the situation in Afghanistan is quickly spiraling out of control. In May, the US lost more soldiers in Afghanistan than in Iraq, and now the war is threatening to spill over into Pakistan, a nuclear-armed nation that's home to around 170 million people. It's long past time to pull out of Iraq and start focusing on the conflict in which al-Qaeda's allies stand a chance of prevailing.

(via appletree, cross posted at Liberal Avenger)


15 June 2008

Only in America The United States of Slick, Sick Advertising ...


Hi. How are you today?

Keeping well, we trust.


America is, I think, the only country in the world which permits advertising of drugs which are available only through your doctor.

Prescription drugs are commonly advertised on television in the US

The insidious message is simple; if your doctor is not offering you this drug, maybe you should be asking for it.

Americans do accept advertising in areas where it does not tend to appear elsewhere.


Prescription drugs though are surely different. After all, the whole point of them is that it is not considered safe to let us simply buy them over the counter.

They are so strong or so habit forming that it is up to the doctor to decide that we really need them.

Advertising subtly changes that relationship by sending us in to see the doctor filled with nameless dreads about the symptoms of diseases we might have, and a detailed knowledge of the drugs that might help us.

The TV spots in other words insidiously furnish us with the tools to torture ourselves.


I sleep well enough too, but I certainly do not start the day with the radiant lustre of the woman in the sleeping pill advert.

She is perhaps the jolliest person in TV advert land's world of impotence, flatulence and obesity.


They are a daily reminder of the many ways in which America - superficially so similar to Western Europe - is really profoundly different.

Those adverts with their sure sense of how to play on our doubts and insecurities are a symptom of the restless energy of American capitalism and of the belief that it can apply to issues of health and happiness just as readily as it can apply to polish or pet food.
Read the rest of this US based BBC newsman's observations on this subject.

When we read it we didn't know whether to laugh or cry.

( Original illustration with kind permission of Dr Aubrey Blumsohn of *Scientific Misconduct*)


We wonder where we'd be without our bestest, of best big buddies at 'Big Pharma', eh?

(Cross posted at 'appletree')

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A Portrait of the Mahdi Army

By providing charity and security, the Mahdi organization created Iraq's most powerful movement

Today, Alternet features a fascinating portrait of Muqtada al-Sadr's Mahdi organization, "the only genuine mass movement in Iraq."
Here are some highlights:

Since April 2007, American forces have erected a series of concrete walls and checkpoints throughout the city to divide warring Sunnis and Shiites. Though these walls helped dampen sectarian violence, they may have bolstered sectarianism, isolating Iraqis from their neighbors and leaving them dependent on militias like the Mahdi Army for food, supplies and protection.

Before the war, 80 per cent of Iraqis depended on the Public Distribution System, an efficient ration system established in 1996 that provided essential items for all Iraqi families. But the system has now stopped functioning because of security problems, corruption and sectarianism. Most families do not even receive 50 per cent of what they used to, and displaced Iraqis, especially Sunnis, receive nothing at all. In the meantime, the Sadrist movement has become Iraq's largest humanitarian organization.


On another visit, the crowd at Abu Hassan's office included two young men working for the Iraqi security forces. One was a member of the Facility Protection Service, which protects ministries and government offices but is notoriously lawless and loyal to sectarian Shiite militias. The other man belonged to the Iraqi National Guard. Both proudly told me they were also members of the Mahdi Army.

"We want you to know that most of the Sadrists are working for the government," said the FPS member. They listed their many friends who had been killed by Sunni militias. "I have been a solider in Iraqi army, the Iraqi National Guard, for three years," his friend said. "We saw that none of the political parties or movements are working for the benefit of the people except this movement. The Sadrists are devoting their time and effort to help Iraqi people. I thought the best way to help the people is by joining them."


Many displaced Shiites from wealthier majority-Sunni neighborhoods have been forced to flee to Washash, where they settle in homes that belong to Sunnis purged or killed by the Sadrists; they scrape by with meager incomes from whatever work they can find. "We are helping the people who have been displaced from other cities because of the sectarianism," Kazim told me.

Neighborhoods like Washash and Shaab have become like refugee camps for Iraq's internal displaced. One man in Washash, who came from Dora, in south Baghdad, told me that Shiites were the minority there "and they started killing us in our houses. They did not get my son because he was at his college and we came to this area because it is has a Shiite majority".

But one month after fleeing to Washash from Dora, he said, "the Americans and the Iraqi army came to our street and they blew up the door to our house and they arrested us and some of our neighbors, we don't know why. I was arrested by the American army with my son for eleven months and six days. Without any charges. They accused me of being terrorist and they don't have any proof. They released me and they kept my son and we don't know for what reason."


The Sadrists have often been characterized as a movement of angry young men, but these women were unabashed in their enthusiasm. A younger woman explained to me that "without the Mahdi Army our women or girls could not go outside. We are under a lot of pressure. They are defending us like they are defending their own sisters".
The picture that emerges is clear: the Mahdi Army has been furnishing the essential services, including security, that the government has been unable to provide. Combining the soft power of charity and the hard power of violence, they earned the loyalty of the people in the districts they control. Support for the organization is broad and deep enough that the efforts by the American occupiers and the central government cannot succeed without triggering another civil war.

(cross posted at Liberal Avenger and appletree)


14 June 2008

George W. Bush is Ancient Mariner John McCain's Albatross ...

"What evil looks
Had I from old and young!
Instead of the cross, the Albatross
About my neck was hung."

[Samuel Taylor Coleridge,"The Rime of the Ancient Mariner."]



Why so many Bush+McCain pics?

Good question.

Just keep scrolling down.

Now read this lovely little US Republican presidential candidate, John McCain, related report recently written by Al Jazeera's Washington correspondent, Rob Reynolds.

But first, here's a tasty teaser to tempt you.


Election diary: George W Albatross
-- By Rob Reynolds in Washington DC

McCain has tried, in a fitful and not very effective way, to distance himself from President George Bush.

John McCain, the Republican party's ancient mariner (aged 71, navy man) has a very heavy weight around his neck that threatens to sink his White House hopes. President George Bush is the bird McCain cant get rid of.

Right now, Bush's approval rating is at 28 per cent, according to a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, but even worse, 54 per cent say that they want a president who would bring major change to existing government policies - even if that person isn't heavily experienced.
Get the picture(s)?

See what we're saying?

Sometimes, just sometimes, don't you just love rubbing salt in certain deserving sobs' wounds?

(Cross posted at 'appletree')

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A Little Late Night Mood Music:Some May Say 'Soul' Blogging ...

Cross posted at 'appletree'

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12 June 2008

British Shadow Home Secretary, David Davis, Resigns To Protest Worsening Plight of "Big Brother" Britain's Increasingly Subjugated Subjects...

We never could make up our minds about (now,ex) Conservative MP, David Davis. We were never sure what to make of the man.

Until today, that is.

Now we know.

He's a man with principles. He's a man with a social conscience. He's an honourable man. And, the new 42 day detention debacle has been the last straw for him, as it has been with so many ordinary people. He's an honest politician. He's not prepared to put 'party' before people. He's a half (at least), decent bloke and he's come out of the poli-closet to prove it.

Today we watched David Davis make a personal stand and heard him read a personal statement from the windswept steps of the House of Commons. He has stood up to be counted. He has publicly stated how sick and tired he is of Blair+Brown & Co's Big-Brother Britain under 'New Labour'.

David Davis resigns from Commons

Shadow home secretary David Davis has resigned as an MP.

He is to force a by-election in his Haltemprice and Howden constituency which he will fight on the issue of the new 42-day terror detention limit.

Mr Davis told reporters outside the House of Commons he believed his move was a "noble endeavour" to stop the erosion of British civil liberties.

The 59-year-old is one of the best known Tory MPs and his resignation came as a complete surprise in Westminster.


In his resignation statement, Mr Davis attacked the growth of the "database state," government "snooping" and the destruction of civil liberties.

"This cannot go on. It must be stopped and for that reason today I feel it is incumbent on me to make a stand," he told reporters.

"At least my electorate and the nation as a whole will have had the opportunity to debate and consider one of the most fundamental issues of our day - the ever intrusive power of the state into our lives, the loss of privacy, the loss of freedom and the steady attrition undermining the rule of law," he said.
Read the rest of this BIG news report. And, see and hear David Davis read his public statement/declaration.

David Davis, we salute you sir.

Herewith we append the full text of your most welcome, bold, brave statement.

And to all those whom it may will concern, we recommend it's reading.

Likewise ...

... see also, Habeous Corpus.

Then ... see for yourself ... the legendary "Magna Carta".

The Great Charter of English liberty granted (under considerable duress) by King John at Runnymede on June 15, 1215.

(Cross posted at 'appletree')

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10 June 2008

BBC's Premier 'Panorama' Programme Exposes US War Profiteering In Iraq ...


Not in a million years.

No way.

We do not hate to have to say that, straight from the outset, we've serially and seriously persisted on saying shouting the same.

That is, that the so called Iraq 'War' is, quite clearly, the greatest criminal heist in history. Really. You can put cash money on it. Trust us.

And now, it seems that US (Democratic Party) politician Henry Waxman who chairs the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform is saying the same thing, though obviously using his own choice of words -- instead of pinching our personal, precise pronouncements on said subject:

"The money that's gone into waste, fraud and abuse under these contracts is just so outrageous, its egregious.

"It may well turn out to be the largest war profiteering in history."
The two quotes above are clipped from today's following report by the BBC.

BBC uncovers lost Iraq billions

By Jane Corbin - BBC News

A BBC investigation estimates that around $23bn (£11.75bn) may have been lost, stolen or just not properly accounted for in Iraq.

For the first time, the extent to which some private contractors have profited from the conflict and rebuilding has been researched by the BBC's Panorama using US and Iraqi government sources.

A US gagging order is preventing discussion of the allegations.

The order applies to 70 court cases against some of the top US companies.

War profiteering

While George Bush remains in the White House, it is unlikely the gagging orders will be lifted.

To date, no major US contractor faces trial for fraud or mismanagement in Iraq.
Read the rest of this extremely alarming, revealing report.

(Cross posted at 'appletree')

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Pentagon Vetoed Cheney's Planned Attack On Iran ...


From the Asia Times:

Pentagon officials firmly opposed a proposal by Vice President Dick Cheney last summer for airstrikes against the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) bases by insisting that the administration would have to make clear decisions about how far the United States would go in escalating the conflict with Iran, according to a former George W Bush administration official.

J Scott Carpenter, who was then deputy assistant secretary of state in the State Department's Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs, recalled in an interview that senior Defense Department (DoD) officials and the Joint Chiefs used the escalation issue as the main argument against the Cheney proposal.

McClatchy newspapers reported last August that Cheney had proposal several weeks earlier "launching airstrikes at suspected training camps in Iran", citing two officials involved in Iran policy.

According to Carpenter, who is now at the Washington Institute on Near East Policy, a strongly pro-Israel think-tank, Pentagon officials argued that no decision should be made about the limited airstrike on Iran without a thorough discussion of the sequence of events that would follow an Iranian retaliation for such an attack. Carpenter said the DoD officials insisted that the Bush administration had to make "a policy decision about how far the administration would go - what would happen after the Iranians would go after our folks".

The question of escalation posed by DoD officials involved not only the potential of Muqtada al-Sadr's Mahdi Army in Iraq to attack, Carpenter said, but possible responses by Hezbollah and by Iran itself across the Middle East.

Carpenter suggested that DoD officials were shifting the debate on a limited strike from the Iraq-based rationale, which they were not contesting, to the much bigger issue of the threat of escalation to full-scale war with Iran, knowing that it would be politically easier to thwart the proposal on that basis.

The former State Department official said DoD "knew that it would be difficult to get interagency consensus on that question".
So all they had to do to thwart an attack on Iran was to force the Bush administration to seriously consider the possible outcome of the attack.
Too bad the Pentagon didn't do the same when it came to Iraq.

(cross posted at Liberal Avenger) (via appletree)

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09 June 2008

Australia Pulls Troops From Iraq ...

Still think there's such a thing as a Coalition of the Willing?

Ha! How hilarious.

Have you heard the latest regarding further troop withdrawals from Iraq?

Australia ends Iraq combat role

Australia, one of the first countries to commit troops to the war in Iraq five years ago, has ended its combat operations there.

Australian troops are due to begin returning home in a few days in line with a promise by Prime Minister Kevin Rudd who swept to power in November.

He said the previous government had abused intelligence information to justify joining the Iraq war.

In parliament on Monday, Mr Rudd said his predecessor, John Howard, had been wrong to join the war in Iraq.
Read the rest of this writing on the wall
war report.

We wonder what these two will think, eh?

(Cross posted at appletree)

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Permanent Bases for Iraq


Even as they try to negotiate an agreement to extend the American military presence in Iraq past the end of this year, American officials insist that there is no plan to build permanent bases in Iraq. That assertion depends on an extremely narrow definition of the phrase "permanent base."

Buried deep in a story about American threats to freeze Iraqi assets unless the Iraqis agree to allow American forces to continue to operate without constraint inside Iraq is
this bit of information:

The US had previously denied it wanted permanent bases in Iraq, but American negotiators argue that so long as there is an Iraqi perimeter fence, even if it is manned by only one Iraqi soldier, around a US installation, then Iraq and not the US is in charge.
So that's the basis for all the angry denials that Bush wants to build permanent bases in Iraq. The Americans plan to build perimeter fences around their permanent bases, with entrances manned by Iraqi soldiers. That makes them permanent Iraqi bases, not permanent American bases.

So, is there anyone who thinks that the Iraqis will see it that way?

(cross posted at Liberal Avenger and appletree)