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  • Thursday, March 31, 2005

    ICC to rule on Sudan

    From the CBC: Washington will let ICC hold Darfur trials: report

    WASHINGTON - The United States has agreed to let the International Criminal Court try people accused of committing war crimes in Sudan's Darfur region, a news report says.

    Washington had strongly opposed holding the trials at the UN court in The Hague, but agreed to a compromise on Wednesday, the Associated Press reported, citing officials from the administration of President George W. Bush.

    SNP says replace student loans with grants

    From the Guardian: Replace student loans with grants, SNP says

    With new Scottish graduates due to start paying contributions towards the cost of their degrees next month, the Scottish National party today called for all student loans to be replaced by maintenance grants.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Lib Dems say Labour going backwards, not forwards on Kyoto

    From the Lib Dem website: Labour Going Backwards On Kyoto - Baker

    New statistics, released today reveal that carbon dioxide emissions in the UK have increased by 3% under Labour since 1997. Worse still with an increase in greenhouse gas emissions in the last year, it appears we have started to move backwards on Kyoto.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Respect candidates

    Is there a Respect party candidate in your constituency? Click here to find out. See all recent "A logical Voice" posts

    Greens attack Blair & Co over NHS problems

    From the Green Party website: Greens urge Goverment: "Stop sticking a plaster over NHS health

    Green Party Spokesperson on healthcare, Martyn Shrewsbury, comments: "People in this country aren't getting even a basic healthcare system, because the NHS is so over-stretched and underfunded." He continues: "The government is depriving the NHS of financial accountability through its costly, market-driven funding policies, whilst doing nothing to combat the - completely avoidable - social, environmental and dietary causes of ill health.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    MRSA victim's family say true problem being covered up

    From the East Anglian Daily Times: MRSA family critical of Prime Minister

    Speaking after watching yesterday's interview, Mr Fenton said: “I didn't feel reassured about the situation. I feel MRSA is still being covered up and the figures aren't true.” Mrs Fenton added: “He seemed very blasé. He had a big smile on his face and there was nothing to smile about. “We want to see him take it more seriously. Maybe for him it's a rare thing, but it's costing people lives, both young and old. We were disappointed really. “The cleaning business is a very important issue. Cleaning is contracted out to the cheapest bidder, which is not always the right thing to do. “We'd like to see a strict training regime for all cleaners, answerable under one umbrella - which is not the case at the moment.”
    That's what introducing a competitive marketplace does for the NHS. Blair & Co are responsible, and should be held responsible on the 5th May. See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Pensioner had to pull out her own teeth

    According to this article, from The Times, a pensioner confronted Blair on NHS dentists yesterday, saying that she had to pull out her own teeth:

    In a grilling by the public on Sky News, the Prime Minister said he was recruiting overseas dentists to fill the gaps. But Mrs Holsworth said: “We had three in Scarborough. The first went home with a criminal record, the second was not even qualified and the third made so many mistakes they sacked him.” Mr Blair, who promised in 1999 that everyone would be able to see an NHS dentist within two years, replied: “The problem is, I cannot suddenly just produce more dentists. We have to train them. We are actually opening new dental training schools and so on.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Blair is "slippery" and "irritating"

    A poll, as described in this New Statesman article has found that women view Blair as "slippery" and "irritating". They view Gordon Brown as "uncaring", and Michael Howard as "inept". The survey also found that among women voters, Blair's New Labour lot receive only 24% of the vote, the Tories receive 32%, and Lib Dems, 26% See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    MPs are longing for the phoney election campaign to be over

    The Scotsman has this report on politicians being raring to go, in their battles to win seats in the upcoming general election:

    The phoney war at Westminster has driven politicians and journalists like me up the wall. There has been a constant stream of press conferences, TV appearances and dirty tricks that do not amount to a hill of beans.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Long lines in Zimbabwe election

    From ABC News: Long Lines Prevail in Zimbabwe Elections

    Encouraged by a marked drop in violence against the opposition in recent weeks, he remained optimistic that his Movement for Democratic Change party could muster enough support to overturn Mugabe's Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front.
    Well, I guess Mugabe's claims of "free and fair" elections are just as legitimate as claims of "free and fair" elections in the US, and Iraq. See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Howard wants people to "fear" the police

    Perhaps respect is a more noble aim than fear. Respect obviously has to be earned and is a two way thing. From DeHaviland: Howard promises "fear" of police

    Claiming he would "put the fear back into the hearts of the yobs", he said: "It's time to give the yobs a dose of the fear they've been dishing out to the rest of us. "I use that word deliberately - fear. I want to make them fear the police."
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Bolivian human rights lawyer denied access to the US

    According to this report, from the Washington Times, a Bolivian human rights lawyer was denied access to the US, as he was accused of meeting with "terrorist peasants":

    Some in Bolivia fear that the administration of President Bush is using the war on terrorism as a pretext to demonize indigenous leaders and groups who are critical of U.S.-promoted free-market and coca-eradication policies. "This is summary justice with no right to defense. It goes against the norms of international law," said Ana Maria Romero de Campero, Bolivia's former ombudsman. "The United States needs to give some explanation on what happened. If they can't produce any evidence, they need to offer an apology. If not, we're looking at a dangerous precedent."
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Journalists in Nepal rally to end censorship

    VOA News has this report on Nepalese journalists demonstrating to demand an end to censorship in the country:

    More than 300 journalists marched through the city Tuesday, waving signs calling for freedom of the press and down with autocracy. Police did not break up the rally or make any arrests, as in previous protests.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    6 Iraqis killed in gun battle

    The Australian reports on more "liberated" Iraqis:

    SIX people were killed in a gun battle after insurgents opened fire on a US military patrol in the Iraqi city of Mosul today. The dead included a woman and child, Iraqi police said.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Halliburton sued by slain employee's family

    From Alternet: Driving into Danger

    Halliburton is being sued by the family of a truck driver killed in a gun battle for deliberately endangering the lives of its employees in Iraq.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Military analysts say the draft may be needed in a year

    If there is any draft, then those who supported the Bush regime's Iraq project, along with their families, should be the first to be sent to the frontlines. From azcentral.com: Draft may be needed in a year, military analysts warn

    With recruitment lagging and no end in sight for U.S. forces in Iraq, the "breaking point" for the nation's all-volunteer military will be mid-2006, agreed Lawrence Korb, a draft opponent and assistant defense secretary in the Reagan administration, and Phillip Carter, a conscription advocate and former Army captain.
    Strange that, the US military has recruitment problems, and yet there appear to be quite a few of the armchair generals around who support the illegal invasion and occupation of Iraq. See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Rumsfeld admits Iraq defeat

    It appears that Rumsfeld has basically admitted defeat in Iraq, saying that it is upto the Iraqis to defeat the so called "insurgents" in the country, not the US led occupation forces who created the insurgency in the first place. DefenseLink News has this report: Iraqis, Not Coalition, Must Defeat Insurgents, Rumsfeld Says

    The secretary said he didn’t “see a lot of options to end the insurgency” in Iraq, but instead envisioned “steps that one needs to take that will reduce the insurgency.” Iraqi leaders continue their work to establish a new, democratic government. Meanwhile, ongoing military, political, economic and other types of assistance provided to Iraq by the United States and coalition nations, Rumsfeld observed, “is going to create an environment that’s hospitable to the Iraqi people’s success.” When the Iraqi people fully realize they have a voice and a stake in their nation’s affairs, Rumsfeld noted, then that event “should have the effect of reducing the insurgency.”
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    New revelations on "911"

    From DC Indymedia: New Revelation on 911

    Sgt. Matthew Tartaglia was a rescue worker at 9/11. He joined Alex to discuss how rescuers were prevented from doing their jobs properly, were not protected from harmful asbestos, and how explosives, possibly tactical nukes, brought down the towers.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Blair fails to meet child poverty target

    Of course, Blair & Co may wish to focus on the economy, to take the focus away from their outright failures. From the Guardian: Child poverty defies government targets

    Mr Blair promised to cut child poverty by a quarter by 2004-5 and by half by 2010, on the way to eradicating it altogether within a generation. The figures left him well short of the first target. To achieve it another 500,000 children would have to have been lifted out of poverty by today. Although the outcome will not be known until official statistics are assembled in a year's time, the prospects looked poor. Alan Johnson, the work and pensions secretary, said the government was "broadly on track" to hit the target. But the Institute for Fiscal Studies said there was "a serious danger" of missing it.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Tory leaders worried about "rogue" candidates

    The Independent today has this article, that the leaders of the Tories are worried that so called "rogue" candidates will distract voters from their campaign:

    Party chiefs are appalled by the prospect of a trial of strength between party headquarters and local activists backing Mr Flight. They already face a separate rebellion from activists in Slough opposed to the removal of their candidate.
    I think Micheal Howard could have a fight on his hands remaining as Tory leader after the election, if his party does worse than expected. See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Gunmen fire on Shiite pilgrims in Iraq

    From Yahoo: Gunmen Fire on Shiite Pilgrims in Iraq

    The latest ambush, near Mahaweel, about 35 miles south of Baghdad, also wounded two pilgrims, police Capt. Muthana al-Furati said. Attacks on pilgrims Monday killed four people, including two police officers guarding pilgrims.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Halliburton bribery scandal deepens

    CorpWatch has this article on the deepening Halliburton scandal:

    An Illinois grand jury is now alleging that Mazon fraudulently inflated both bids before the contract was awarded, more than tripling them to $6.2 million for the unnamed company and $5.5 million for La Nouvelle. La Nouvelle then won the contract on the basis that it had submitted the lower bid. In June 2003, Mazon quit his job. Then three months after leaving KBR, he was accused of receiving a $1 million payment from La Nouvelle In an indictment issued mid-March 2005 by the grand jury. "Mazon and Hijazi also executed a promissory note as a ruse to make the $1 million payment appear to be a ... loan from Hijazi to Mazon," the indictment reads.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Aid workers struggle to reach earthquake survivors

    From the Independent: Relief workers struggle to reach survivors of quake

    Nias's remote location has made getting basic relief there difficult. The runway at the only airport has been severely damaged, meaning only helicopters can land. Bad weather has limited the number of helicopters getting through, and the widespread destruction has made it difficult even for helicopters to find landing places. One military helicopter had to turn back without offloading supplies yesterday after it could not land because of a large crowd which had gathered in the only clear area. The only other way to reach the island is by ferry, an arduous 12-hour crossing on overcrowded ferries made worse by the weather conditions. Reports came in of people searching for boats of any description at Sibolga on Sumatra, the main port for Nias, to try to find loved ones on the island.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    US tank commander claims killing of Iraqi was "honourable"

    I would have thought trying to get the man some treatment for his injuries would have been far more honourable. From Yahoo: U.S. Soldier Testifies Killing 'Honorable'

    Prosecutors at the court-martial say Maynulet violated military rules of engagement by shooting an Iraqi who was wounded and unarmed.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Crime rife in "liberated" Afghanistan

    According to this article, from today's Guardian, the people of Afghanistan are plagued by an increase in crime, and it seems that those who are carrying out the crime are, on occasions, hard to distinguish from those who are supposed to be protecting Afghans from criminals:

    Although no official statistics are available, the perception of a worsening situation is widespread. Frustration boiled over in the southern city of Kandahar this month when thousands of men took to the streets to protest at a spate of kidnappings that left at least one child dead. Calling for the resignation of the governor and police chief, the crowd smashed shop windows and destroyed several vehicles. Days later, the Kabul government transferred the provincial security commander to another area. Demobilised Mujahideen fighters, underpaid policemen and corrupt officials are behind the lawlessness, according to Afghan officials, western diplomats, and victims.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    State militia was ready to storm Schiavo hospice

    From the Petoskey News Review: Norm Olson: Parents' lawyer thwarted plan to send militias to aid Terri Schiavo

    Olson said he needed only the OK from Schiavo's father, Robert Schindler, either directly or through his attorney David Gibbs, to put the plan, called "Operation Resurrection," into action on Sunday.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Bush hostage to religious fundamentalists

    From the Guardian: Bush is hostage to religious right, says top Republican

    His critique of the party went far beyond Ms Schiavo yesterday, and cited the party's active opposition to gay marriage as well as attempts in his own state, Missouri, to criminalise stem cell research. "I am and have always been pro-life," he wrote. "But the only explanation for legislators comparing cells in a petri dish to babies in the womb is the extension of religious doctrine into statutory law."
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Children are starving in "liberated" Iraq

    According to this report, from the BBC, a UN report has found that the malnutrition rates in children under 5 have doubled since the US led invasion of Iraq:

    When Saddam Hussein was overthrown, about 4% of Iraqi children under five were going hungry; now that figure has almost doubled to 8%, his report says. Governments must recognise their extra-territorial obligations towards the right to food and should not do anything that might undermine access to it of people living outside their borders, it says.
    So, under Hussein, less children were going hungry than under US occupation. How's that for "liberation"? See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Spain to supply Venezuelan military

    I guess Spain have as much right to sell military hardware to Venezuela as anyone has to sell weapons to China, Israel, Pakistan, India, Congo and so on. from the Independent: Spain risks US anger by selling arms to Chavez

    In Spain's biggest arms deal for many years, its arms factories will supply 10 C-295 transport planes, four coastal patrol corvettes and four smaller coastguard patrol boats to Mr Chavez's army. Mr Zapatero said the vehicles would be used to monitor coastlines, combat terrorism and drug traffickers, and mount rescue operations during natural disasters. The deal was announced by the Spanish Prime Minister during a visit to Venezuela yesterday when he also met fellow left-wing leaders from Colombia and Brazil.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Blair wants economy at heart of election campaign

    The Guardian reports today, that Blair wants the economy to be a priority in this election campaign. Of course, the other parties may have something to say about that, or at least they should do:

    Yesterday it was Mr Blair's turn to be put on the spot again as part of his "masochism strategy". During one of two hour-long interrogations on Sky News, he was confronted by a woman who claimed a hospital had covered up the fact that she had been infected with MRSA.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    "You can't have a normal life after killing innocent people"

    The Dominion has this report, on US military deserters who flee to Canada:

    "How would that lack of clarity affect your ability to comply with the Geneva Conventions?" House asked the former staff sergeant. "It hindered our ability tremendously," Massey replied. "When you don't know who the enemy is, what are you doing there? What's the purpose of being there? When Marines go into battle they are designed, Marines are trained and designed for one thing, and that is to meet the enemy on the battlefield and destroy you. That is their mission. That is their purpose in life. If you have no enemy or you don't know who the enemy is, what are you doing there?" Most of the civilian deaths Massey witnessed took place at a military checkpoint. Three times soldiers opened fire on cars that failed to stop in the checkpoint's "red zone." In each case, soldiers hits the cars with approximately 500 bullets. They killed all three drivers, plus one passenger, said Massey. After searching the wreckages, he went on to say, soldiers uncovered no evidence that any of the people in the vehicles were armed.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Companies refusing to pay tribunal compensation awards

    Having had experience, in the past of one of these employment tribunals, I can tell you that it is not easy to get justice from a former employer. The Guardian has this article today on companies refusing to pay up on compensation awarded at employment tribunals:

    The tribunals have no powers to enforce their awards: this can only by done by going to court, which involves paying fees and does not guarantee success. Citizens Advice wants the government to change the law so the state pays the award and collects the money from the employer, possibly through their tax bills.
    I think that is a very good idea. At present, the system is skewed towards the employer, and does not take into account the facts behind an individual's claim. See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Protests against world's largest seal hunt

    The Chicago Sun Times has this report, on the world's largest seal hunt, which takes place yearly in Canada. It does appear, from what i've seen and heard of this practice in the past that this is quite barbaric:

    Animal rights activists say the pups are clubbed to death and often skinned alive, but sealers and Canadian government officials who monitor the hunt insist the seal pups die instantly, under strict guidelines. ''It's just horrific out there. There is blood all across the ice and seal carcasses as far as the eye can see,'' Rebecca Aldworth of The Humane Society of the United States said from the Gulf of St. Lawrence on Tuesday. ''We've seen seals that were moving around and breathing, that have been left in these piles, some left conscious and crawling,'' said Aldworth, a native Newfoundlander who has observed the seal hunt for the last six years.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    US tanks taking a beating in Iraq

    USA Today has news that the US Abrams tanks, which managed to withstand the cold war years, aren't having as much look surviving the Iraq conflict:

    In the all-out battles of the 1991 Gulf War, only 18 Abrams tanks were lost and no soldiers in them killed. But since the March 2003 invasion of Iraq, with tanks in daily combat against the unexpectedly fierce insurgency, the Army says 80 of the 69-ton behemoths have been damaged so badly they had to be shipped back to the United States.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    CIA to get the blame for lack of weapons of mass destruction

    Of course, that aims to take the heat off the politicians who lied to us, and who were warned by intelligence agencies that Iraq did not pose an "imminent threat" to our so called "civilised societies". Even though our leaders were told this repeatedly, politicians kept on repeating the same old rubbish, and some of us could see right through it:

    The Los Angeles Times yesterday quoted officials who had read some of the unclassified report as saying it pointed to "glaring gaps in core US intelligence" about nuclear programmes pursued by Tehran and Pyongyang. According to the Washington Post the report will recommend that, in the light of "group think" over Iraq, dissent and debate should be encouraged among the nation's 15 intelligence agencies.
    And, that's another thing, does a country really need 15 intelligence agencies? See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Independent Inquiry For Thee, Not For Me

    The second report from the independent inquiry into the UN's OFF program has been released. The result? Kofi Annan was not complicit in any wrongdoing, nor was his office, nor did he do anything that should cause him to resign. In standard GOP doublespeak of calling black "white" and up "down," Sen. Norm Coleman (R-MN) said the findings "point to one, and only one, outcome: his resignation. Now, if only we could have a few more independent inquiries... From American Progress: INDEPENDENT INQUIRY FOR THEE, NOT FOR ME

    Unlike the United Nations, which spearheaded an independent investigation of oil-for-food, the Bush administration has: 1) failed to properly investigate $8.8 billion in Iraqi oil revenues (twice the amount Saddam Hussein was thought to have gained from oil-for-food kickbacks) that the U.S.-led Coalition Provisional Authority can no longer account for; 2) failed to organize an overarching, independent investigation into detainee abuse scandals at U.S. prisons, nearly a year after the Abu Ghraib photos were released; 3) declined to take part in the whistle-blower case against Custer Battles, the firm accused of defrauding U.S. taxpayers of $50 million in Iraq reconstruction funds; and 4) granted Halliburton early access to damning audits of its business practices in Iraq so it could scrub out the parts it didn't like.

    Wednesday, March 30, 2005

    Mugabe says voting against him is treachery

    The Australian has this report on Mugabe's comments:

    "All those who will vote for the (Movement for Democratic Change) are traitors," state radio quoted Mugabe as saying to a ruling Zanu PF party rally at Mutoko, 140km northeast of Harare. Similar comments by the President in the past have encouraged ruling-party and youth militia to take violent action against opposition supporters and candidates.
    If you remember, prior to those presidential elections in the US last year, some Bush regime supporters were also saying that their opposition were traitors. See all recent "A Logical Vocie" posts

    Hypocrisy is the rule for those who rule

    Before we look into House Majority Leader Tom DeLay’s history of dealing with his own personal end-of-life issue, let us remember that he referred to the removal of Terri Schiavo’s feeding tube as "an act of barbarism". From Democracy Now!: Pulling the Plug: Rep. Tom DeLay and Terri Schiavo's Dad Supported Their Own Parent's Right to Die

    [In a tragic accident, Tom DeLay’s father] was thrown into a tree, and suffered severe injuries to the right side of his body, his head and his chest. He had had broken ribs. He had internal brain damage.

    He was kept alive for about 27 days. He was on a respirator, and the doctors had told the family, according to the people that Sam Verhovek and I talked to, that if he did live, he would most likely be at best in a vegetative state. And the family decided that when his kidneys started to fail, and the question would have been to give him dialysis to keep him going, the family decided not to do that. And they put a do not resuscitate order into his medical record, and he died 27 days after the accident at the Brook Army Medical Center in Texas.

    And remembering that DeLay is one of those leading the push for "tort reform":

    Subsequent to that, the family filed a lawsuit against the company that -- one of the companies that manufactured the part of the brake that they bought and the other company that had sold it to them, and that's where it's in the records of that lawsuit that most of the details of the accident and -- you know, the story of what happened are there on file down in Texas.

    In similar news, how did Bob Schindler, Terri's father, respond when his own mother had pneumonia, failing kindneys and was on a respirator?:

    He asked if I put her on a ventilator, does she have a chance of surviving, of coming out of this thing? And apparently, after discussing with the doctors, he decided his mother did not have a chance of a normal life, and so he decided to cut off the ventilator.

    Google agrees, Blair's a liar

    If you go to Google's main search page, type in liar and click search, Google at the moment is listing Blair's biography as the most adequate result. Rather fitting, and just in time for the general election as well. See all recent "A logical Voice" posts

    Israel using ambulances to transport troops

    According to this article, from the Australian, the Israeli army uses ambulances to transport troops, in clear violation of the Geneva conventions:

    "I and other members of my unit saw soldiers with their weapons, bulletproof vests and helmets climbing into military ambulances," one of the reservists said. "The use of ambulances is against the Geneva Convention which Israel has signed. Moreover, once ambulances are used for military objectives they become a legitimate target," said Doctor Rafi Waldman, a member of the organisation Doctors for Human Rights.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Sudan to prosecute 164 for Darfur abuses

    From News24: Sudan to prosecute 164

    The head of a Sudanese investigation committee into abuses in Darfur, Judge Mohammed Abdul Raheem, said the government will prosecute 150 alleged perpetrators in North Darfur and 14 in South Darfur, the official Sudan News Agency reported on Monday.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    US claims human rights a top priority

    According to this report, from the Washington Post, the Bush regime are now claiming it wants to make human rights a top priority in dealing with other nations. Perhaps before they decide to focus on other nations, they should take a good look at the human rights violations and war crimes committed by US citizens, maybe Bush himself should rescind that Executive Order which authorises abuse and torture, then perhaps he can turn his attention to the so called "rendition" of "terror suspects" to countries which routinely use torture to get "evidence", then maybe he could order that cluster bombs should never again be used in civilian areas, that hospitals and schools should be safeguarded, not raided by occupation forces, after he's dealt with those matters, perhaps he'd then like to take a look at the use of depleted uranium, and the matter of US troops opening fire on anything that moves, and the use of napalm in Iraq. Also, the Bush regime would be doing Latin America a favour by shutting down the now renamed School of the Americas (or the terrorist training camp at Fort Benning) it could also decide not to trade in arms with countries with appalling human rights records, and i'm sure others could think of a few more things to add to that list, before the Bush regime can even consider taking the moral high ground on human rights. Under the rogue regime in Washington, the US has absolutely no business lecturing any other country. See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Australians want Iraq troop withdrawal

    Angus Reid has news that a poll has found that 51% of Australians no longer wish their country to be militarily involved in Iraq, only 46% wish their country to remain involved in the disaster. See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Romanians want their troops withdrawn from Iraq

    From Angus Reid: Romanians Want Soldiers Withdrawn From Iraq

    (Angus Reid Global Scan) – Many Romanians believe their country’s participation in the Iraq war must come to an end, according to a poll by the Centre for Urban and Regional Sociology. 55 per cent of respondents believe Romania should not have a military presence in Iraq.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Canadian sues Bush regime in "rendition" case

    The International Herald Tribune has this report, on a Canadian citizen, sent to Syria by the US, where he was tortured suing the rogue regime in Washington:

    "The facts we got from Maher right after he was released are now corroborated by public records," said LaHood, who works for the Center for Constitutional Rights, an advocacy group in New York. "The more information that comes out, the better for showing that this is an important public issue that can't be kept secret." She said Arar and his attorneys believed American officials wanted him to undergo a more brutal interrogation than would be permitted in the United States in the hope of getting information about Al Qaeda.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    A top US commander authorised prisoner abuse

    Obviously, that top US commander believed that he had been authorised to allow such cruel and degrading treatment. No doubt "Torquemada" Gonzales' advice to the Bush regime came in handy. From Reuters:

    The memo allowed for military working dogs, or MWD, to be present during interrogations, saying the practice "exploits Arab fear of dogs while maintaining security during interrogations. Dogs will be muzzled and under control of MWD handler at all times to prevent contract with detainee."
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    US barred from sending detainees overseas

    The Washington Post has this article, on a US federal judge denying the Bush regime the opportunity to send detainees from Guantanamo overseas, without allowing those detainees the right of appeal:

    "The [government's] assertion that they are merely 'relinquishing' custody of detainees whom the government is simply 'no longer interested in detaining' is disingenuous," Kennedy wrote in issuing an injunction against the government. "It seems beyond question that advocating for release into freedom is not equivalent to advocating for transfer from ongoing detention in one locale to ongoing detention in another."
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Israeli settlers threaten violent resistance to pullout plans

    From the Independent: Israeli settlers threaten violent resistance to withdrawal pullout

    However Mr Sharon's expected budget success was off-set by threats from settler leaders to mobilise tens of thousands of protesters in what amounts to a campaign of civil disobedience to stop the pullout. One of them, Pinchas Wallerstein, said he and his colleagues would try to avert violence but warned that the situation might spin out of control. "We don't intend to compromise in the battle," he told Army Radio.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Western aid played key role in Kyrgyzstan revolution

    The International Herald Tribune reports that western aid assisted with the uprisings in Kyrgzstan. It doesn't surprise you does it?

    BISHKEK, Kyrgyzstan Shortly before Kyrgyzstan's recent parliamentary elections, an opposition newspaper ran photographs of a palatial home under construction for the country's deeply unpopular president, Askar Akayev, helping set off widespread outrage and a popular revolt in this poor Central Asian country. The newspaper was the recipient of United States government grants and was printed on an American government-financed printing press operated by Freedom House, an American organization that describes itself as "a clear voice for democracy and freedom around the world."
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Iraqis angry with lack of progress in parliament

    From the Telegraph: Iraqi anger at parliament stalemate

    Iraqis caught a rare glimpse of their new parliament in action yesterday but were left surprised and disgusted as legislators failed to make any progress in naming a government almost two months after January's elections.
    So much for the so called "democracy" See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Kelly's obsession with "parent power" puts disadvantaged families at risk

    According to this article, from the Guardian, the general secretary of the National Union of Teachers has warned that the education secretary, Ruth Kelly needs to stop her obsession with "parent power", and focus on tackling the social divide in education:

    "Charles Clarke and his ministers had begun to express this clearly. But now the government seems obsessed with the concepts of parent power and choice," he said. "The problem with that ... is that divisions in social class make the idea of school choice and parent power an illusion. Choice rests with those who have the power to make choices. "I want the government to put the equality agenda back as a priority. I urge Ruth Kelly, like her predecessor, to say she will be steadfast in tackling the effects of social class on children's education."
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    No action taken on sexual assaults in US military

    According to this report, from Yahoo, the Pentagon is not taking sexual assault claims seriously:

    Last year, Congress ordered the Pentagon to propose revisions of assault statutes by this month. Military officials say that, too, is in the works. But, like promises to collect basic data, the push came from outside. For reform to work, the brass will have to take these crimes seriously. The Pentagon's track record suggests that has yet to happen.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    A stain on the US reputation

    The Boston Globe has this report on how the Bush regime's actions have led to the US reputation in the world sinking to new lows:

    The 31 detainee deaths, the interrogation techniques described by the International Red Cross as tantamount to torture, and the Abu Ghraib abuse have been a disaster for the reputation of the United States. Bush should have long since fired those officials, including Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, who permitted this to occur through vague or contradictory orders on the treatment of detainees.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    17 Labour MPs to campaign on their anti war stance

    According to this article, from the Independent today, 17 of Blair's own MPs have signed a decalaration to make it clear that they have been and remain completely opposed to the illegal invasion of Iraq. They hope that making it clear what they think on this important issue will ensure that their constituents know exactly where they stand:

    The MPs fear a backlash from voters over the war and will try to insulate themselves against one by including the statement in their election leaflets. The rebels' decision to make Iraq "an issue of trust" is a coded attack on Mr Blair.
    ......
    Several Labour MPs who have not signed the statement will make clear their reservations about Iraq in their election material. Des Turner, MP for Brighton Kemptown, has put a "personal statement" on his website: "I have consistently voted against British involvement in the war on Iraq, but I would not want my negative views on British involvement in the conflict to detract from my support for British troops who are undertaking a difficult job."
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    IRA may be laundering money in British housing market

    According to this report, from the Guardian today, the IRA may be laundering some of the cash obtained from Northern Bank robbery through the British housing market:

    The source told the Irish Times republicans were "finding properties and then using frontmen to buy them and sign for the deeds." The focus was said to be on finding owners who needed a quick cash sale.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    US admits killing Arab jounalists in Iraq

    Initially, the US denied that their bullets had killed the journalists, now they admit what happened. From Aljazeera: US admits killing Arab journalists in Iraq

    US soldiers were aiming at a different car, a white Volvo that had driven through the checkpoint at high speed, the investigation said. Al-Arabiya's grey Kia car was 50m to 150m down the road, trying to turn when it was accidentally hit, the military said.
    Those soldiers aims must have been fairly poor to have accidentally struck the other car. Either that, or the soldiers involved panicked, and lied about the incident. See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    The human race is living beyond its means

    According to this article, from The Guardian today, a study compiled by expertsin their field has found that almost two thirds of the natural machinery which supports life on earth is being "degraded by human pressure":

    "Human activity is putting such a strain on the natural functions of Earth that the ability of the planet's ecosystems to sustain future generations can no longer be taken for granted," it says.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    New details on Sgrena case

    Democracy Now has this article on the Guiliana Sgrena case. It appears that Sgrena's injuries are more serious than previously thought, and that she was fired at by a tank gun, not a hand held gun:

    She was on a completely different road that I actually didn't know existed. It's a secured road that you can only enter through the Green Zone and is reserved exclusively for ambassadors and top military officials. So, when Calipari, the Italian security intelligence officer, released her from captivity, they drove directly to the Green Zone, went through the elaborate checkpoint process which everyone must go through to enter the Green Zone, which involves checking in obviously with U.S. forces, and then they drove onto this secured road. And the other thing that Giuliana told me that she's quite frustrated about is the description of the vehicle that fired on her as being part of a checkpoint. She says it wasn't a checkpoint at all. It was simply a tank that was parked on the side of the road that opened fire on them. There was no process of trying to stop the car, she said, or any signals. From her perspective, they were just -- it was just opening fire by a tank. The other thing she told me that was surprising to me was that they were fired on from behind. Because I think part of what we're hearing is that the U.S. soldiers opened fire on their car, because they didn't know who they were, and they were afraid.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Channel 4 launches a Fact Check website

    This seems to be a good idea. Apparently, you'll be able to check the factual basis of claims made by politicians at the Fact Check website:

    Before, during and after the upcoming General Election campaign, Channel 4 FactCheck will provide the most reliable analysis of what the political parties and their leaders are saying.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Protesters booed Cheney after fundraiser

    From WCPO: Cheney Booed After Mike Sodrel Fundraiser

    Protesters booed Vice President Dick Cheney as he left a campaign fund-raiser for Republican Congressman Mike Sodrel in southeastern Indiana.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Zimbabwe's health system collapsed

    The Independent has this report today, on the shocking state of Zimbabwe's health system:

    Zimbabwe's health sector was once the envy of other African countries, but two decades of mismanagement, neglect and theft have left the country short of medical care. The government realises that the health sector is something to be ashamed of - it rarely allows foreigners to enter public hospitals unless they are on an official, state-approved tour.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Iraqi MPs fail to elect a speaker

    As the Guardian reports today, there were farcical scenes as the Iraqi parliament met for only the second time yesterday. It appears that the MPs were unable to decide on a speaker for the parliament:

    Police and army units shut down half the capital to secure the assembly's second sitting, but instead of a breakthrough the day ended in frustration, with deputies exchanging blame. As the proceedings degenerated, the body's stand-in speaker expelled journalists from the hall, and the US-funded national broadcaster, Iraqiya, cut its live transmission to show a black-tie orchestra playing music.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Cloning of horses! Whatever next?

    From the Guardian: Cloning of horses gets go-ahead

    Horses are to be cloned in Britain after the government performed a U-turn over whether to allow the procedure. Twink Allen, a leading reproductive scientist, has been told that a previous Home Office block on his attempts to clone the animals has been reversed.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Suppressing free speech in the US

    From Global News Matrix: Suppressing free speech

    In Unusual "Signaling" Move, Secret Service Admits White House is Suppressing Free Speech at Bush Events Financed by Taxpayers. This Would be Impeachable if Republicans Cared About Our Constitution. And It Happens Again and Again.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Warning that US funded scheme a threat to Ugandan Aids programme

    From the Guardian: US-funded scheme 'a threat to Uganda Aids programme'

    Research within Uganda by Human Rights Watch has found that information on condoms, safer sex and the risks of HIV in marriage has been removed from primary schools, while some materials used in secondary schools falsely suggest that condoms have microscopic holes that allow the HIV virus through. The Aids awareness programmes in schools are funded by the US and overseen by an American technical adviser at the ministry of education. "These abstinence-only programmes leave Uganda's children at risk of HIV," said Jonathan Cohen, one of the report's authors. "Abstinence messages should complement other HIV-prevention strategies, not undermine them."
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Tuesday, March 29, 2005

    1 killed, 1 injured in shooting incident

    From PhillyBurbs.com: 1 killed, 1 hurt in Wawa shooting

    When they got noisy and were kicked out of the motel, they crossed the highway to the Wawa gas station and convenience store, according to Gibbons. Shortly before 2 a.m. the crowd of young men got into a fight in the parking lot of the store with a 24-year-old man they didn't know, police said. It was unclear how the fight started, but Gibbons said the 24-year-old was beaten before he pulled a gun and shot Matt Taylor, 19, of Mayfair and another Philadelphian, 18.
    Most likely some of the youths involved will also decide to carry guns now. See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    British military exports to China treble

    From the Scotsman: UK trebles military exports to China

    They have also been granted permission to sell technology to help China produce its own military equipment, such as combat aircraft. Latest government figures on the trade confirm that UK military exports to China increased from £32m in 2001 to £76m in 2003, and then to more than £80m in the first three months of last year - including £44m between July and September, the latest period for which figures are available.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    7 year old boy takes father's gun to school

    According to this report, from WHNT, a seven year old boy accidentally took a loaded semi automatic pistol to school with him. It appears the boy mistook his father's rucksack for his own. The father has said that he no longer wants the weapon in the home, and given the number of deaths from guns in the US each year, it is no wonder. See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    US to create list of "unstable nations"

    Under the Bush regime, we have heard about the so called "war on terror", the "battle of good against evil" and those "state sponsors of terrorism". Now, the regime in Washington is to create an additional list of nations for people to hate, this will be called "the list of 25 unstable nations". For so called "compassionate, christian conservatives" they do hate a lot don't they:

    The National Intelligence Council, a State Department office that collates intelligence for strategic planning, will compose and revise the secret list every six months, the Financial Times reported Tuesday. Carlos Pascual, a former ambassador who now heads the newly formed agency, said the NIC would identify countries of "greatest instability and risk" to clarify priorities and allocate resources.
    So, the world can look forward, it seems, to more disasterous interventions, like in Afghanistan, Iraq, Haiti etc.. See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    In Britain, abortion not an election issue

    In this country, we should not have the same type of opportunistic, and often cynical use of serious subjects for party political ends. This poll from Angus Reid shows that 62% of Britons polled agreed with the statement that "Issues like abortion should be up to the conscience of individual MPs rather than debated in election campaigns." See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Walthamstow residents can expect a Lib Dem "barrage"

    From the Waltham Forest Guardian: Residents told to expect Lib Dem barrage

    The party's prospective parliamentary candidate, Farid Ahmed, is already campaigning for the seat currently held with a 15,181 majority by Neil Gerrard, Labour. At the last general election, the Liberal Democrats were in third place. Lord Rennard said: "There have been increases in party membership and in fundraising for the Walthamstow group and this is a good indication that people feel they can trust us."
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Tony Blair accused of hypocrisy on Africa

    Indeed, as this article from the Moscow Times appears to suggest, it is hypocritical to lecture African nations on the subject of corruption, when companies from your own country are sometimes involved in that corruption:

    "They've taken very much the usual line of protecting our companies at any cost," said Patricia Feeney, executive director of Rights and Accountability in Development, an Oxford-based advocacy group. "They've not shown any sign of really taking their own medicine." A group of British members of parliament recently reported on the government's "slow progress" in investigating British firms accused of profiteering from a five-year war in Democratic Republic of Congo in which millions died.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Criminal gangs thrive in "liberated" Iraq

    Although we often hear about kidnapped westerners in Iraq, we don't hear about the "liberated" Iraqis who are terrorised by criminal gangs which roam the country. According to this article, from the International Herald Tribune, 5000 Iraqis have been kidnapped in the past year and a half:

    The head of the office of kidnapping in the major crimes unit, Colonel Faisel Ali, called kidnapping "the first and biggest problem in Iraq." Iraqi families are so well schooled in the new commerce of kidnapping that, despite the mortal danger to their loved ones, they seldom agree to the initial ransom demand, because the price will only increase, said Abdul Razzak Hassan, an engineer. He was forced into his expertise on the topic when he was snatched on a highway west of Baghdad on Dec. 25. His captors kept him blindfolded in a filthy steel container for five days and tortured him.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Why a war resister refused to fight

    From Democracy Now: Jailed War Resister Camilo Mejia on His 9-Month Jail Sentence, Torture in Iraq and Why He Refused to Fight

    Mejia was the first US soldier court-martialed for desertion and was ultimately sentenced to a year in jail. He was released in mid-February. Mejia spent six months in combat in Iraq where he witnessed the killing of civilians and the abuse of detainees. After He returned to the United States he decided never to return to fight in Iraq. He went into hiding to avoid redeployment and was classified as AWOL by the military. He spent five months underground.
    See all recent "A logical Voice" posts

    Australians' new nightmare: The US

    From the Sydney Morning Herald: Our new nightmare: the United States of America

    The Australians Speak: 2005 survey, commissioned by the Lowy Institute for International Policy, found 57 per cent of Australians were "very worried" or "fairly worried" about the external threat posed by both US foreign policy and Islamic extremism. "We asked about a series of threats from the outside," said the institute's executive director, Allan Gyngell. "Most startling of all was the precise equivalence of Islamic fundamentalism and US foreign policy as a source of concern. "The question is whether this is a response to a particular administration or a broader cultural drifting apart." More than two-thirds - 68 per cent - said Australia took too much notice of the US in its foreign policy deliberations.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    US grants $1million to Egyptian "pro democracy" groups

    As I posted some time ago, in terms of military aid from the US, Egypt receives the second largest amount, after Israel. So funelling all that money to the Egyptian government, while granting $1 million to "pro democracy" groups seems to me to be highly contradictory. See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Report: Rice likely to back Iraq pullot

    According to this report, from The Chicago Sun Times, Condoleeza Rice it seems would support a withdrawal of US troops from Iraq sooner rather than later:

    "She is not controlled by the neo-cons insisting on achieving a perfect democracy before we go," a colleague told me. That reflects not only the national consensus but also the preponderance of Republican opinion. Without debating the wisdom of military intervention in Iraq two years ago, President Bush's supporters believe it now is time to go and leave the task of subduing the insurgents to Iraqis.
    So, it seems she believes that those who have created such a mess in Iraq should leave the country for the Iraqis to sort out. Not that I disapprove of US troops, and indeed British troops getting out of the country, but it would seem very strange if the regime which created such a disaster were to pull out of Iraq before other nations. After all why should other nations have to clean up the mess? The Bush regime were the most determined to illegally invade the country, their troops should be the last to leave, and any consequences of that are entirely the making of the rogue regime in Washington. See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Sunni leader vows support for "insurgents"

    From the New York Times: Sunni Leader Vows Support for Insurgents

    "We ask all wise men in the American nation to advise the administration to leave this country," he said. "It would save much blood and suffering for the Iraqi and American people."
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    120 Nepalese protesters arrested

    The clampdown on rights to free speech continues in Nepal. From the Guardian: 120 Nepali protesters arrested

    Protesters marched outside the capital's central secretariat, which houses the prime minister's office, chanting: "Down with autocracy. We want democracy." Nearly 50 people were arrested in front of the government offices in Kathmandu and another 72 were detained in demonstrations across the country.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Iraq has become a Disneyland for terrorists

    The Bush regime have turned Iraq into a large scale terrorist training camp. The continued occupation of the country only increases hatred, and no doubt more terrorists are being created everyday. From MSNBC: For Islamic militants in Europe, Iraq far outshines Afghanistan as an urban-terrorism training ground

    All over Europe, in fact, investigators now face the threat of terrorists who are virtually self-taught, organized in groups with little or no central command and united by their obsession with the jihad against Americans in Iraq. "It has become a battle cry for Islamists around the world," says Michael Taarnby, author of a report on terrorist recruiting for the Danish Justice Ministry. Their most devastating blow to date was not inside Iraq but in Madrid last year, when a gruesome bombing spree killed 191 people in retaliation for Spain's presence in Iraq.
    Although, in relation to the Madrid bombing, it may be worthwhile to note, that the former Spanish leader Aznar believed that ETA was behind that atrocity. See all recent "A Logical Vocie" posts

    Blair's academies are privatisation by stealth

    Indeed, it certainly appears to be the case. How on earth can grassrooots Labour Party supporters, who have always believed in free to all education, without private sector interference back Blair & Co in the upcoming election, without throwing their principles out of the window? They can't. From the Guardian today: Teachers unite to fight city academy scheme

    Members of the largest classroom union, the National Union of Teachers, voted unanimously to halt all planned academies through a nationally coordinated campaign involving staff, parents and students. At the same time, the president of the National Association of Schoolmasters and Union of Women Teachers told its conference in Brighton in his opening address that the initiative amounted to privatisation by stealth.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Romanian journalists kidnapped in Iraq

    From the Guardian: Romanian journalists kidnapped in Iraq

    The missing journalists, reporter Marie Jeanne Ion and cameraman Sorin Dumitru Miscoci from Bucharest-based television station Prima TV and Ovidiu Ohanesian, who works for daily Romania Libera, were snatched by unknown abductors in Baghdad's al-Mansur district.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Bhutan's king introduces party politics

    From the Guardian: Bhutan's king brings in party democracy

    King Jigme Singye Wangchuck said that by the end of the year his 700,000 subjects would be given the right to elect two houses of parliament, whose members would be empowered to impeach the monarch by a two-thirds vote.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    US financed Iraqi tv encourages lynch mob justice

    From Direland: LYNCH-MOB "JUSTICE" ENCOURAGED BY U.S.-FINANCED IRAQI TV

    The display on television of prisoners without their consent violates their rights under the Geneva Convention--all the more so when individual and mob violence against those prisoners is incited by the TV show on which they appear. But a defense contractor who got its contracts from pay-to-play contributions to the Republicans is hardly likely to be susceptible to such civilized niceties. "Terror in the Hands of Justice" constitutes another dark chapter in the U.S. occupation of Iraq.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    59 ex diplomats oppose Bolton nomination

    From Yahoo: 59 American Ex-Diplomats Oppose Bolton

    Their criticism dwelled primarily on Bolton's stand on issues as the State Department's senior arms control official. They said he had an "exceptional record" of opposing U.S. efforts to improve national security through arms control. But the former diplomats also chided Bolton for his "insistence that the U.N. is valuable only when it directly serves the United States." That view, they said, would not help him negotiate with other diplomats at the United Nations.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Tory activists defy their leader

    The Independent has news today that Tory activists in Howard Flight's Arundel and South Down's constituency are demanding that he should be allowed to address them. The Tories do indeed look in disarray:

    Mr Howard now faces a trial of strength with the 2,000 members of Arundel and South Downs Conservative Association, one of the wealthiest and largest in the country. Baroness O'Cathain, its president, backed Mr Flight's call for an extraordinary meeting of the association to hear his case and said she felt "a grave injustice" has been done. Lady O'Cathain said many ordinary party members were deeply upset. "It has come as a huge blow to the constituency. It is just disaster after disaster after disaster," she said. "They are going round like headless chickens. They are really in bereavement - grief status - because I don't think people realise just what a brilliant constituency MP Howard has been."
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    US soldier faces 20 years for killing Iraqi driver

    Yet another case, from this article in the Guardian today:

    At a previous Article 32 hearing - the military's equivalent of a US grand jury investigation - the military said soldiers spotted a BMW car thought to be carrying a driver for Mr Sadr, as well as another militiaman loyal to him. They chased the vehicle and fired at it, wounding both the driver and the passenger. When a medic pulled the driver out of the car, it was evident that he had suffered critical injuries, with part of his skull blown away.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Indonesian earthquake may kill up to 2,000

    According to this report, from Yahoo, Indonesia's Vice President has said that the earthquake which struck yesterday may have killed up to 2,000 people:

    Almost all the deaths reported after the 8.7-magnitude quake were on Indonesia's Nias island, a popular surfing spot off Sumatra island's west coast and close to the epicenter. Police were pulling children's' bodies out of the rubble of collapsed houses, and a fire was reportedly raging in one town.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Corporate killing bill neutered to appease Blair's big business friends

    If you hadn't already noticed, Blair & Co appear to put big business before anything else in this country. They represent nothing like what the Labour party used to represent, they no longer have the interests of the working class at their heart, they keep big business close, and introduce privatisation by the back door to our public services, like health and education. Monbiot, has this piece in the Guardian today, which looks at how Blair & Co have appeased their corporate friends, by neutering the corporate manslaughter bill:

    So what the bill gives us is a law that will allow companies, but not the people who run them, to be prosecuted for killing their workers. At the moment, a firm can't be convicted of manslaughter unless prosecutors can prove that one of the directors was personally responsible for the death. This makes it impossible to pursue any but the smallest companies. The new law will allow firms to be convicted as long as "senior managers" were responsible for a gross breach of their duty of care towards their workers. The company can be fined. But the human beings who make the decisions are immune. As directors can still be disqualified and imprisoned for a gross breach of their duty of care towards their shareholders' investments, money will remain more valuable than human life.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Liverpool shows how travellers can live in harmony

    From the Independent: Liverpool shows how it can house travellers in harmony

    The travellers were willing to pay whatever it took for facilities that other citizens consider their right, said Dawn Taylor, Liverpool council's service manager for Gypsies and travellers, who co-ordinated the project. "It was a bit of a shock to some," Ms Taylor said. "But our message was 'welcome to the real world'. It's a balance between rights and responsibilities." That means there is more pressure to earn money on men such as Paddy O'Driscoll, 50, one of the residents, who says he has driven "any lorry that's going" over the years to bring in some income and lists tree-topping and gardening among other occupations.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Cheney blocks improvements to fatally flawed military tribunals

    American Progress has news that the kangaroo courts set up after the events of the 11th September 2001 desperately need major overhauls, however, it seems Cheney is reluctant to accept improvements:

    Cheney is stifling changes to tribunals even though the federal courts have blocked further prosecutions. It took two years for the Pentagon to finally organize and hold the first hearing before the commissions, but only three months for a federal district judge to rule that the tribunals were "fatally contrary to or inconsistent with" American military or civilian trials. The Pentagon halted the hearings and moved forward on addressing some of the criticisms from the courts and allied governments. Despite the impasse, Cheney's staff has led the campaign to block improvements to the tribunals unless forced to do so by the courts.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Tam Dalyell to stand down at election

    You have probably heard of Tam Dalyell, the longest serving MP in the House of Commons at present. The Guardian has this article:

    When asked if he stands by his verdict that Mr Blair is the worst of the eight prime ministers he has known, he amends it: "No. He is by far the worst." It is the presidential system he sees emerging under Mr Blair (the fault of over-large majorities, the prime minister's character and his well-documented disdain for parliament) that he loathes. Cabinet ministers used to have their own power base. "Gordon Brown is part of this duopoly. Can you name one other cabinet minister than him who is secure in their place?" he asks. This is why ministers do not stand up to No 10, why none asked to see the attorney general's written opinion on the legality of the Iraq war.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Monday, March 28, 2005

    Breaking News: Large earthquake reported in Indonesia

    According to a report i've just heard, there has been a large earthquake in Indonesia. Apparently, it measured 8.2 on the Richter scale. UPDATE - Thanks to one of the commenters here, you can find more details by clicking here. Reuters has this article. Apparently a tsunami warning has been issued, just over 3 months after the devastating 26th December tsunami. See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Milburn admits people don't support Labour the way they used to

    Too right they don't. This New Labour lot have gone too far, with their war crimes, authoritarian agenda, and Blair's presidential style, coupled with the lies and deceit, it is no wonder people don't trust Blair & Co. The only question is, will traditional Labour supporters support them for purely party political reasons, even though they don't trust Blair & Co? From the Independent: Alan Milburn: 'I admit there are people who don't support us the way they did, who have grave doubts'

    "I freely admit that there are a group of people who don't support us in the way they did, who have grave reservations and grave doubts. But this election is a choice between values. The Tories have reverted to type. They are fighting a virulently right-wing campaign, playing on people's fears.
    As I said yesterday, this should not be like any other election, this should be a trial of Blair & Co for their lies and deceptions. Whether or not the Lib Dems, Greens, Plaid Cymru, the SNP and others can turn this election into a trial is in their hands. To do so would probably require a lot of effort for cooperation between all those parties, others, and independents who opposed the illegal invasion of Iraq. See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Sadr calls for million man march against US occupation

    Yahoo has news that a follower of Moqtada Sadr has called for Iraqis to demonstrate against the continued occupation of their country:

    "Last Friday I called for a million-strong demonstration to demand a timetable for the end of the occupation and I repeat this demand again and I call on all political forces to take part in this demonstration."
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Sudan follows the US lead on war crimes

    According to this article, from the International Herald Tribune, the Sudanese government has rejected any demands for any of its nationals to be tried in foreign courts. Rather similar to the proclamation by the US that it would object to any of its citizens being tried for crimes against humanity at the International Criminal Court. So far, I haven't yet heard of attempts by Sudan to bribe nations into enforcing those wishes though. See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Record rise in postal vote applications

    According to this report, from the Guardian today, the number of people applying for postal ballots has increased dramatically. The system, according to some experts is "an open invitation to fraud". Indeed, there have been numerous examples recently of postal ballot fraud cases in British courts. If Blair's New Labour lot do rather better than expected in the upcoming general election, then those postal votes should be examined thoroughly. Opposition parties should ensure that voters know all about the cases which police are investigating around the country:

    A survey by the Guardian of 55 councils covering 135 constituencies reveals applications to vote by post have risen in all cases, tripling in some places, particularly in inner cities. The increase comes as demand grows for urgent changes in the postal-voting system, last week labelled by a judge as "an open invitation to fraud". There is an ongoing court case, and police are investigating fraud in six areas of the country.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    3 Children killed in Nepal explosion

    Yahoo brings more bad news from Nepal, where, apparently, 3 children were killed while playing with a bomb left behind by Maoists:

    Police officer Tapendra Dhoj Hamal said the dead were aged between eight and 14 years. Another three people were wounded in the explosion in Janakpur, 380 km east of Kathmandu.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Mother's plea for photo denied by Pentagon

    Those "compassionate conservatives" have denied a mother's appeal for a photograph of the coffin of her son, according to this article, from the Times Argus:

    Meredith says she was prepared to lose her son in battle. What she wasn't prepared for was the way the military treated her when he died from a sniper's bullet in the head. She doesn't understand how a single photograph of his casket for her own personal album would violate her own privacy. "It is ironic that this policy denies us the very freedoms of the press and speech my son — and so many like him — gave their lives to protect," Meredith says. Some families think the caskets should be photographed. Some families say they shouldn't. There is no consensus on this point, said Joyce Raezer, director of government relations for the National Military Family Association, a Virginia-based nonprofit organization with 30,000 members. The organization does not have an official opinion about requests like Meredith's, but Raezer believes from her conversations with families who have lost a loved one that most would support allowing the family of a dead soldier to have a photograph. She suggests that the military take the photo when the casket arrives and include it in the materials they routinely give to families when there is a loss.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    More foreign fighters entering Iraq

    According to this report, from ABC News, a US general has stated that more foreign fighters have entered Iraq over the past few months. The US quite obviously lost control of the Iraq disaster some time ago now. See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Howard Flight consults lawyers over sacking

    From today's Guardian: Flight consults lawyers as Howard's troubles mount

    The former Tory deputy chairman, Howard Flight, was last night heading for a direct confrontation with his party leader Michael Howard over his abrupt removal from political life following his gaffe on the party's £35bn spending cuts plans.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Palestinians say any retention of settlements is unacceptable

    From Yahoo: Palestinians say any Israeli retention of settlements 'unacceptable'

    "We have agreed to a cooling down period, so we demand the Israeli side start to cool down," he said, adding that he always "appreciated" US demands for a halt to settlement activity in accordance with the roadmap. Contradicting reports that Israeli-US relations had been bruised by continued settlement activity, Rice reiterated US policy that any peace deal will have to take the biggest outposts into account. "The existing major Israeli population centres will have to be taken into account in any final negotiation," she told Israeli public radio, nonetheless adding that "American policy remains unchanged in accordance with the roadmap".
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    British companies caught illegally dumping waste

    Shame on them. From the Guardian: UK firms caught in illegal waste dumping

    Dutch environment ministry officials believe that British refuse is being systematically dumped in poor countries via the port of Rotterdam, the largest container port in Europe. In one of the biggest international scams uncovered in years, they say waste companies across Europe are colluding to avoid paying escalating landfill and recycling charges.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Zimbabwean archbishop calls for mass uprising against Mugabe

    From the Independent: Zimbabwe archbishop calls on nation to rise against Mugabe

    The highly respected Catholic Archbishop of Bulawayo, the Most Rev Pius Ncube, said that the parliamentary elections on Thursday were certain to be rigged. "I hope that people get so disillusioned that people really organise against this government and kick him [Mr Mugabe] out by non- violent popular mass uprising," said Archbishop Ncube. "As it is, people have been too soft with this government. So people should pluck up just a bit of courage and stand up against him and chase him away."
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Iraq: Not so "liberated"

    From The Gulf Today: Iraq Enduring plight

    By all accounts, it is indeed a daily miracle that an average Iraqi lives through the day by not getting caught in the crossfire or targeted by one of the two sides. As an Iraqi journalist wrote recently: "No one is feeling safe in Iraq anymore. Even if you have nothing to do with the either side, the US-led coalition force or the insurgents, you are exposed and vulnerable to threats that are very much real and could end up in you being dead."
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Doctor Who exterminates rivals

    I though some visitors to "A Logical Voice" would be interested to know, according to this report from the Guardian, that the new series of Doctor Who appears to have made rather a good start, in the doctor's first return to our screens in 16 years:

    The revived drama, starring Christopher Eccleston as the ninth Doctor, and Billie Piper as his sidekick, Rose Tyler, attracted 9.9 million viewers on average throughout the show and seemed certain to get a new generation cowering behind their sofas every Saturday evening.
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    Corruption in Iraq is out of control

    In "liberated" Iraq, the violence continues, and apparently, corruption is out of control, according to this report from MSNBC. It doesn't seem as though the Bush regime are interested in tackling corruption:

    Yet when the two whistle-blowers sued Custer Battles on behalf of the U.S. government—under a U.S. law intended to punish war profiteering and fraud—the Bush administration declined to take part. "The government has not lifted a finger to get back the $50 million Custer Battles defrauded it of," says Alan Grayson, a lawyer for the two whistle-blowers, Pete Baldwin and Robert Isakson. In recent months the judge in the case, T. S. Ellis III of the U.S. District Court in Virginia, has twice invited the Justice Department to join the lawsuit without response. Even an administration ally, Sen. Charles Grassley, demanded to know in a Feb. 17 letter to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales why the government wasn't backing up the lawsuit. Because this is a "seminal" case—the first to be unsealed against an Iraq contractor—"billions of taxpayer dollars are at stake" based on the precedent it could set, the Iowa Republican said.
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    Right-wing wing nuts say watch Fox or we'll kill ya!

    From AP via Common Dreams: Man Sells Device That Blocks Fox News

    TULSA, OK - It's not that Sam Kimery objects to the views expressed on Fox News. The creator of the "Fox Blocker" contends the channel is not news at all. Kimery figures he's sold about 100 of the little silver bits of metal that screw into the back of most televisions, allowing people to filter Fox News from their sets, since its August debut.

    The Tulsa, Okla., resident also has received thousands of e-mails, both angry and complimentary — as well as a few death threats.

    "Apparently the making of terroristic threats against those who don't share your views is a high art form among a certain core audience," said Kimery, 45.

    Formerly a registered Republican, even a precinct captain, Kimery became an independent in the 1990s when he said the state party stopped taking input from its everyday members.

    Cabinet members furious with Blair over Wolfowitz support

    From the Guardian: Blair clashes with Cabinet over Wolfowitz nomination

    International Development Secretary Hilary Benn is said to be furious that Blair kept him in the dark over the nomination, which was announced by President George Bush two weeks ago. Benn has written to the Prime Minister outlining his frustrations.
    In Britain, we are supposed to have a government which takes decisions at cabinet level, not a presidential figure, who makes decisions, then tells the cabinet what those decisions are. See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Right wing, "Christian" fundamentalist pharmacists refusing birth control

    According to this report, from the Washington Post, some pharmacists in the US are refuse to dispense birth control and morning after pills, because, they claim, prescribing such things "violates their personal moral or religious beliefs":

    "There are pharmacists who will only give birth control pills to a woman if she's married. There are pharmacists who mistakenly believe contraception is a form of abortion and refuse to prescribe it to anyone," said Adam Sonfield of the Alan Guttmacher Institute in New York, which tracks reproductive issues. "There are even cases of pharmacists holding prescriptions hostage, where they won't even transfer it to another pharmacy when time is of the essence."
    What right do those pharmacists have to deny people any medication which they have been prescribed? By denying people their rights to such birth control, for religious reasons, they are not much better than the taliban. See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    War crimes must not go unpunished

    It has been quite obvious to many people, for some time now, that torture and abuse is systematic and sanctioned. Although there have been a few cases where those who have carried out crimes against humanity have been charged and tried (in some of those cases, real justice has not always been forthcoming) not all of those responsible for carrying out violations of international law, including those who gave orders to abuse and torture, and those at the highest levels who sanctioned the use of "aggressive interrogation techniques" have been punished, some have even been rewarded. The US Senate voted to endorse torture, by their confirmation of Alberto "Torquemada" Gonzales, and those senators who voted for torture should also be punished when the time comes for their possible reelection. Those senators who opposed the confirmation should make a stand now and demand that those war criminals in positions of power are removed from office. A "civilised society" should not endorse crimes against humanity. See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Blair needs to come clean on Iraq

    Although, obviously it seems unimaginable that Blair is likely to come clean on the issue. From the Observer: Trust is still the crucial issue

    This is where the issue of trust turns. In his desperate need to oblige America 'for what may indeed have been an honourable misconception of his country's interests' Blair bludgeoned the machinery around him until it gave him the answer he wanted. This is absolutely clear in the evidence that was submitted to Lord Hutton about the way the September dossier was compiled. If you read all the emails between John Scarlett - then head of the Joint Intelligence Committee - the Secret Intelligence Service and Campbell, there is no doubt about the nature of the impulse which drove these communications.' As I was writing this,' says Alastair Campbell in an emailed critique of the dossier to John Scarlett on 17 September, 2002, 'the Prime Minister had read of the draft you gave me this morning, and he too made a number of points.'
    Blair & Co cannot be trusted, from all available evidence, they lied to, and deceived the British people, and they must be punished. See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Iraqi bodyguards open fire on crowd demanding wages

    ABC News has this disturbing article on how bodyguards for Iraq's science and technology minister opened fire on demonstrators demanding their pay:

    Balasem said about 50 ministry guards were demonstrating because they said they were paid only part of their wages. It was unclear why the guards opened fire.
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    White supremacist runs for place on Montana school board

    Pam's House Blend has news that a white supremacist is running to be elected onto a school board in Montana. Apparently, McGuire, a candidate belonging to an organisation known as the National Alliance believes in the following policies:

    it calls for a new educational system, like one that "enjoyed an all-too-brief revival earlier this century in National Socialist Germany, before being outlawed by the advocates of permissiveness."
    ......
    We must have White schools, White residential neighborhoods and recreation areas, White workplaces, White farms and countryside. We must have no non-Whites in our living space, and we must have open space around us for expansion.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    "Oh what a lovely war"

    The Independent has this article, on Halliburton, and how the executives of the company must be very pleased about their share of takings from the so called "war on terror", and the illegal invasion of Iraq:

    On 26 February 2003 - three weeks before the invasion of Iraq - senior government and army employees gathered in Washington to discuss details of how Iraq would be rebuilt after the US-led invasion. To Ms Greenhouse's surprise, several KBR employees were also present. The company had apparently already received a letter indicating it would be awarded the work to put out any oil field fires started by the Iraqi dictator. The Restore Iraqi Oil (RIO) programme came to have the much wider remit of ensuring fuel supplies got into the country. It has netted KBR $2.5bn.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Sharon says Israel cannot expect "explicit American agreement" on settlements

    By those words, I presume Sharon means that although the US will not give "explicit agrement", the Bush regime will not be condemening Sharon & Co for any illegal activity, and for breaches in the road map deal:

    The Americans agreed to make a distinction between isolated settlements and blocs, but demanded that the discussion of both types of settlement proceed simultaneously. Israel objected, and the talks were suspended, without having reached an agreement. Senior political sources assume that the suspension of the talks on delimiting the settlements was part of the "break" that the United States gave to Sharon in light of the disengagement plan. Just as the evacuation of the illegal outposts was postponed until after the withdrawal from Gaza, so will the issue of freezing construction in the settlements be deferred. Israel would like to "synchronize" Bush's promise that the settlement blocs will be annexed to Israel in the future with the possibility of building in the present phase, before a final status agreement.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    AIPAC head boasted of control of White House in 1992

    What Really Happened has this report on the head of the AIPAC boasting of control over senior politicians back in 1992:

    In 1992, AIPAC Harry Katz phoned the President of AIPAC, David Steiner, to offer contributions. Steiner proceeded to make several claims, including negotiating with then-candidate Bill Clinton over who would be Secretary of State, and had already "cut a deal" with Baker for more aid to Israel.
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    Panel ignored "sensitive" evidence on detainee

    According to this article, from the Washington Post, a "military tribunal" (also known as a kangaroo court) ruled, last year that a Guantanamo detainee could remain indefinitely at the torture chamber, despite evidence that the man had absolutely no link to terrorists at all:

    Kurnaz has been detained at Guantanamo Bay since at least January 2002. "The U.S. government has known for almost two years that he's innocent of these charges," said Baher Azmy, Kurnaz's attorney. "That begs a lot of questions about what the purpose of Guantanamo really is. He can't be useful to them. He has no intelligence for them. Why in the world is he still there?"
    A good question. See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Michigan republicans prepare to pass bill refusing right of gays to treatment

    10 or 12 years ago, I never thought I would read one article like this, about human rights in the US (Well, ok, maybe I read a few articles, but you could count them on one hand), let alone hundreds of them. It's a disgrace that people could be refused treatment, because of either their colour, race, sexuality, sex etc..Before the right wing extremists lecture any other country about human rights, they should take a good look at themselves in the mirror:

    The Conscientious Objector Policy Act would allow health care providers to assert their objection within 24 hours of when they receive notice of a patient or procedure with which they don't agree. However, it would prohibit emergency treatment to be refused. Three other three bills that could affect LGBT health care were also passed by the House Wednesday which would exempt a health insurer or health facility from providing or covering a health care procedure that violated ethical, moral or religious principles reflected in their bylaws or mission statement.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Sunday, March 27, 2005

    Voters of Britain, we are the jury in this election

    Although many traditional Labour voters have consistently opposed the illegal invasion of Iraq, they will dutifully register their party political loyalty at the ballot box regardless on the expected date of the general election, the 5th May. Grassroots Labour Party supporters must realise that in this election, they are part of the jury, in a national trial of Blair & Co, and their lies and deceit which led this country to go along with the Bush regime will not be tolerated. (not even for party political reasons) From the Sunday Herald:

    Shortly before the war began, Tony Blair told the BBC that Saddam Hussein could remain in office provided he complied with UN weapons inspectors and that he was entitled to keep his army, navy and air force. Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, who among you believes the Prime Minister made this statement honestly? We now know from leaked memoranda from his chief foreign policy advisor, David Manning, that the Prime Minister agreed a strategy of deception of the UN and the British public in which the threat of WMD would be hyped up and the UN inspectors be found to have failed.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts