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  • Saturday, April 30, 2005

    Postal voting chaos in South Wales

    According to this article, from the South Wales Echo, people who have never applied for postal votes appear to have received ballot papers. Oh dear:

    Ruth Weeks, 57, of Litchard in Bridgend, contacted the Echo to say she had also become a victim of the apparent blunder. Yet a check with Bridgend council's electoral office revealed her whole family has apparently applied to vote by post. "That's very peculiar," she said. "I have never applied for a postal vote." And a 68-year-old living in Bryncethin, Bridgend, who did not wish to be named, added: "I have got all my faculties and I know I have not applied for the postal vote which I've received."
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    For the people of Iran, vote Blair out

    From IranMania: For the people of Iran, vote Blair out: UK group

    On its webpage, Strategic Voter listed recommendations for each constituency, with the aim of steering towards a balanced (or "hung") Parliament. "We want to punish the government, but not finish up with a Tory majority either," it said. A variety of campaigns have been launched by the anti-war movement that has grown up in Britain opposed to the Iraq war, including vote4peace, which is demanding 'No More Iraqs' and calling on Blair to tell the US it "can't attack Iran." There is also the DitchBlairProject, the dumpBlair campaign, makevotescount, stolenvotes and many others, often with the support of traditional Labour voters and mostly intent on forcing the Prime Minister out of office as soon as possible by weakening his power.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Focus on the Vale of York

    The latest constituency focus, from Politics.co.uk takes a look at the Vale of York:

    The battle for the Vale of York constituency, in contrast, is unlikely to go down in political history as one of the bloodiest or most hotly contested election struggles. It is held by a Conservative frontbencher, Anne McIntosh, with a 12,000 majority; such is her dominance that none of her challengers from either 1997 or 2001 has come back for a second shot.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    200 postal votes reissued in Edinburgh

    According to this article, from the Edinburgh Evening News, 200 postal ballots have had to be resent, after it was discovered that there was a security problem with the original ballots. The article states that the original ballots would not be counted because the serial numbers do not match, but I suppose there has to be a certain amount of scepticism about this claim:

    A council spokeswoman added: "We are confident that only Edinburgh North and Leith are affected. People will not be able to vote twice, even if they have sent in their vote already, because the first set of papers will be declared void." And one would-be voter lost his chance to vote in his first general election because he was serving in the Army. Iraq war veteran Private Ian Gordon, of Lindsay Place, Leith, asked his mother, Sheena Gordon, to cast a proxy vote for him while he served with the Black Watch in England. Mrs Gordon phoned the council to register the proxy vote two weeks ago, but when the polling cards arrived, she realised there had been a mistake. "A normal polling card arrived, and there was no sign of a proxy vote," said Mrs Gordon. "I phoned the council and they said they had no trace of my phone call. Worst of all, they said it was too late for me to re-register Ian for a proxy vote."
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    The election has come alive

    From the Dump Blair website: Opinion varies on whether Labour should be denied an overall majority altogether, but a report originating in the US and picked up briefly by the BBC last week has it that Blair promised Murdoch that he will not resign, whatever the result of the election. A few days later The Sun gave Blair a lukewarm endorsement. To put a stake through Blair's neocon heart probably requires that Labour lose their overall majority, forcing a review of who is Prime Minister. Strategicvoter and Dumpblair hope to place a last ad in the Guardian just before the election, listing the 130 or so swing seats, including special cases and Green and Respect target seats. The ad will advise people to vote expressively in all other seats (to donate, click here). The election will, with two qualifications, hang on the information and sophistication of the anti-Blair voters. See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Focus on Sherwood

    The latest constituency focus, from ePolitix.com takes a look at Sherwood:

    The Conservatives would require a large 10.5 per cent swing to snatch this central east Midlands seat, exactly the kind of result which, if repeated nationally, would see Michael Howard in 10 Downing Street.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Protests against "anti terror" laws

    According to this article, from the BBC, protests are taking place in London and Blackburn against the so called "anti terror" laws:

    The Blackburn protest is aimed at the local MP, Foreign Secretary Jack Straw. "Our community cannot afford to be silent in the face of the 'war on terror' and its domestic and international manifestations - we must stand together with strength and confidence to dispel the myths about Islam and the Muslim community," said Dr Siddiqui.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Blair has also lied on climate change

    From the Green Party website: "Blair lied over climate change too" says Lucas

    Green Euro MP and Principal Speaker Caroline Lucas said "It's common knowledge that Blair has lied over Iraq, but he is also perpetrating similar lies over climate change, since his rhetoric is rendered virtually meaningless by his inaction. Tony Blair has told us climate change is the biggest threat faced by mankind, but at the same time he is presiding over a massive expansion in air travel, massive road building schemes and he is failing to do enough to promote renewable energy."
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Lib Dem leader seen as most trustworthy

    From Politics.co.uk: Poll places Kennedy as more trustworthy

    Most voters think Liberal Democrat leader Charles Kennedy is more trustworthy than Tony Blair or Michael Howard, a new poll reveals.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Reflecting on US defeat in Vietnam 30 years on

    C S Monitor reflects on the 30th anniversary of the fall of Saigon and of US defeat in Vietnam:

    Yet amid all the pomp and circumstance, there's little sign of distaste for the United States, whose troops waged war here from 1965 until their final withdrawal after the signing of the Paris peace treaty in 1973. "We have too much work to do," says a young man who, like more than half of Vietnam's 80 million people, was born after April 30, 1975. "My parents talk about these things. We don't think about them." The lessons learned in school about the revolution - the defeat of the South Vietnamese and US forces - and the rise of the new order seem hardly to permeate the outlook of most people as they fight to survive in what, to all outward appearances, is a free-wheeling environment. The communist government may control the economy through large state-owned corporations, but private entrepreneurs are everywhere, running everything from restaurants to Internet cafes.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Latest marginal constituency betting news

    According to the Readabet website, the Lib Dems are now the favourites to take the Bristol West seat. At the last election, Labour took the seat with an 8% majority over the Lib Dems, with the Tories very close behind. Meanwhile, the Lib Dems are also the favourites to take Cambridge, from Labour, who had a majority in 2001 of 20% over the Lib Dems. The Lib Dems also look likely, if the betting odds are anything to go by, to take Cardiff Central, which is their 4th target seat, and where Labour had only a 1.9% majority in 2001. In the race for the Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey seat, the Lib Dems are the favourites to take the seat from Labour there, who had a majority at the last election of 2.7%, with the SNP close behind the Lib Dems in 2001. Dundee East is an SNP target seat, where in 2001, Labour had a majority over the SNP of 1.3%, SNP are, according to Readabet the favourites to take this seat now. And finally, Plaid Cymru look the favourites to take the Ynys Mon seat from Labour, Labour had a majority over Plaid Cymru of just over 2% at the last election. See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Peace camp fuels revolt in Blair's back yard

    Greatreporter.com takes a look at a peace camp which has been established at a farm just north of Sedgefield, Blair's own constituency. See all recent "ALogical Voice" posts

    "Anything could happen" on election night

    Indeed, anything could happen, if traditional Labour Party voters vote with their principles, rather than be allowed to be taken in by the scare tactics of Blair & Co. This article, from the BBC:

    The Lib Dems are flying a banner over Blackpool and other "Labour heartlands" as they enter their final campaign push. Mr Kennedy told BBC News: "As we know from our travels around the country, the contests are so different in different regions, within different constituencies that frankly anything can happen."
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Remembering US atrocities in Vietnam

    The San Francisco Chronicle reflects on US atrocities in Vietnam, and on the aggressors' eventual defeat:

    The U.S. bombing in Vietnam has been estimated to have been about four times greater than the combined U.S. and British bombing of Germany in World War II. U.S. napalm bombing and the use of herbicides in Vietnam scarred much of the landscape. The effects of the defoliant Agent Orange resulted in human deformities and cancers, monstrosities that will probably linger in Vietnam for generations to come. Atrocities were perpetrated by troops on all sides. Cold-blooded killings of civilians and the decimation of entire villages, hamlets and towns left a war-ravaged landscape filled with the wailing and suffering of the human casualties of the war. The United States, too, was scarred, its idealism tarnished by the anti-communist propaganda that fueled the conflict.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Chavez says US citizens are oppressed

    And indeed, in some ways, US citizens are oppressed. This article from CNN:

    He said he went ahead with that trip anyway, and later traveled to the United States to visit U.S. President George W. Bush, who he said greeted him with a Coca-Cola in his hand. "I have not returned, nor do I think about returning again, until the people of the United States liberate that nation," said Chavez, saying that Americans are "oppressed" by their government and U.S. media.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Regime change is no basis for war

    The Independent has this analysis of the attorney general's advice on invading Iraq:

    GOLDSMITH MEETS THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION "I have also had the opportunity to hear the views of the US administration ... They maintain that the fact of whether Iraq is in breach is a matter of objective fact which may therefore be assessed by individual member states." ANALYSIS This sheds some light on the mysterious visit by Lord Goldsmith to see the Bush administration in February 2003. It hints that Washington strongly tried to persuade a sceptical Attorney General that war without further UN backing would be legal.
    According to the Bush regime, torture and abuse are also "legal" and necessary" in the so called "post 9/11 world", so an American view on the legality of invading Iraq was hardly a balanced one, or indeed a true legal opinion. See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Abu Ghraib judge covered up Vietnam atrocities

    From This is Rumour Control: From the Song Ve Valley to Abu Ghraib: The Tiger Force Investigation Revisited

    "This is Rumor Control" has learned that the same Judge Advocate General officer who was charged with re-investigating Tiger Force also handled the Army's review of Abu Ghraib. His report on the Tiger Force atrocities was due over a year ago. No one from the Army has offered an explanation for its delay and the story itself is in danger of receding back into history. The current Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld, was also the Secretary of Defense under Gerald Ford when the original queries were buried. That first investigation found that "a total 18 soldiers committed crimes, including murder and assault but no one was ever charged" according to the Blade, even though as the newspaper determined, Rumsfeld's office was sent a copy of the report.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Can Sheffield Hallam stay yellow?

    According to this article, from the Yorkshire Post, the former Tory stronghold of Sheffield Hallam, which turned Lib Dem in 1997 doesn't look like it will turn blue again after the 5th May:

    Lib Dem candidate and favourite Nick Clegg stands outside a primary school, as parents pick up their children, ready to pounce and thrust leaflets into the hands of voters – and balloons into small hands. He's an experienced candidate. He knows not to bother giving glossy literature to a pram-encumbered mother who's just climbed one of the area's many mountains, so in the pushchair pouch it goes. Voters are polite, mostly articulate well-presented people who say they'll vote for him. Even Labour ones.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    GP's targets could be scrapped

    According to this article, from the Independent today, the 48 hour waiting targets for GPs may be scrapped. The issue was raised on the special Question Time programme the other night, in which an audience member questioned Blair, and, typically, Blair lied, saying that he had no idea about the problem of how targets were affecting the service available to patients:

    During the BBC Question Time Leaders' Special programme, Diana Church, a member of the audience, complained that it was impossible to book appointments with a GP more than two days in advance since the 48-hour target had been introduced. A baffled Mr Blair responded: "Surely they [GPs] are not saying you have to have [an appointment] quicker than you want it?' He was assured by a vociferous section of the audience that that was, indeed, the case.
    Blair & Co knew very well about the impact of targets on patient services, as the matter was discussed on a number of occasions within the cabinet. See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Tory anger at Howard's hawkish Iraq stance

    The Independent has this report: Tory dismay at Howard's stance on war

    But his hard line, echoing the US President George Bush, risked reopening the party's wounds over the war. Sixteen Tory MPs voted against the invasion in 2003, others have said they would not have supported the invasion had they known Saddam did not possess an illegal weapons arsenal. Sir Malcolm Rifkind, the former foreign secretary expected to return as an MP next week, made clear yesterday his leader's views were not shared by all his colleagues.
    And, that figure of 16 Tories voting against the invasion is rather misleading. 16 Tories voted in favour of an ammendment saying that the case for war had not been made. Only 3 Tories voted against the main vote on the decision to illegally invade Iraq. See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    The Greens could make history

    If the Green Party manages to win in Brighton Pavillion, they would indeed be making history, Britain would have our first ever Green Party MP. This article from the Independent:

    "You want to renationalise the railways," says the householder. "That's right, it's a key measure," says Mr Taylor. When a woman walking past spots his big lime-coloured lapel rosette and, without breaking stride, shouts: "I'll be voting Green!" We all turn. I call out: "Why?" and catch up with her. She gives her name as Liz Smith, she's 45, works in broadcasting and has been a life-long Labour voter. She says, rapidly and with real vitriol: "I'm switching because I'm sick of Labour. I hate what they're doing in Iraq and I'm absolutely sick to death of the spin. I don't believe a word Tony Blair says any more." Then she hurries off.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Blair - the boy who cried wolf

    According to this report, from Ananova, the final Liberal Democrat election broadcast of the campaign will feature Blair as the boy who cried wolf over weapons of mass destruction:

    The Boy Who Cried Wolf sticks to his story, however, refusing to say sorry and pleading with an increasingly cynical press to "talk about something else". The skit ends with his car screeching off and a close-up of the number plate: 'WMD O'. This is followed by a warning from party leader Charles Kennedy: "If we couldn't trust Labour over Iraq, how can we trust them over health or education or crime - or anything else? And how can we trust the Conservative Party, which simply went along with the Government over Iraq?"
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Voting for the Lib Dems will not let in the Tories

    The Independent explains why the Blairite scare stories of a vote for the Lib Dems letting in the Tories are a load of rubbish, a vote for the Lib Dems will not let in the Tories, so do not let yourself be lied to on this:

    The study found that a swing of 11.5 per cent from Labour voters to the Liberal Democrats could deprive Mr Blair of his overall Commons majority but it would be virtually impossible for such defections - at even twice that rate - to let in the Conservatives to form a government. John Curtice, the respected psephologist and professor of politics at Strathclyde University, who carried out the analysis, said: "Labour's claim that switching from Labour to the Liberal Democrats could enable Mr Howard to win the election is highly misleading."
    Once again, more New Labour lies to mislead the British public. Don't fall for the Blairite lies, vote for who you want to vote for, not who you are told to vote for, or who you are scared into voting for. See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Strip searched teachers sue over arrests at Bush campaign rally

    From Light up the darkness: Strip Searched Teachers Sue Over Arrest at Bush Campaign Rally

    The lawsuit claims the women's rights to free speech, free assembly, equal protection and due process were violated, and that federal agents conspired with local and state law enforcement to deprive them of those rights. Named in the lawsuit were the Secret Service and three of its agents, the Iowa State Patrol and two patrolmen, and Linn County.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Pro hunters target 139 Labour MPs

    According to this article, from the Guardian today, a group calling itself Vote OK is targeting 139 Labour held constituencies, with the aim of ousting anti hunting MPs, the group is apparently linked to the Countryside Alliance:

    Last night voting experts said the tactic could prove successful in delicately poised rural marginals. Philip Cowley, a political scientist from Nottingham University, said: "The influx of 50-odd people in a constituency is a godsend these days."
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Intelligence whistleblowers demand protection from retaliation

    This article from the Village Voice: Intelligence whistleblowers storm Capitol Hill, asking for the right to be heard.

    Many of these whistleblowers have tried to get someone to listen to what they know about national security issues, from cover-ups to possible espionage. More often than not, they say, their protests result in vicious, demeaning, ruinous retaliation by the bosses. In any number of cases, they're put under gag orders.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    US staged fake Guantanamo interrogations

    According to this article, from the Australian, the US staged fake interrogations at the Guantanamo torture chamber for visiting politicians to make it look as if they are actually gaining useful intelligence from the detainees there:

    "Interrogations were set up so the VIPs could come and witness an interrogation ... a mock interrogation, basically," Sgt Saar told the program, to air on Sunday. "They would find a detainee that they knew to have been cooperative. They would ask the interrogator to go back over the same information," he said, calling it "a fictitious world" created for the visitors. Sgt Saar worked at Guantanamo from December 2002 to June 2003.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Postal vote fraud hotline set up

    According to this article, from the Times, a vote fraud hotline has been set up, as investigations have already begun into vote fraud allegations in 3 constituencies:

    Gerald Pearce, who lives in the Leicester East constituency where Keith Vaz is defending a 13,000 Labour majority, says that he had no intention of asking for a postal vote and was astonished when the city council sent him an acknowledgement for his application. He was shown an application form printed by the Labour Party, which had been filled in with his details and carried a forged signature. Police were called. “I never applied for a postal vote,” Mr Pearce said. “The polling station is only a five-minute walk away. I would think whoever it was who did this wanted a bogus vote.”
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    41 people killed across Iraq

    Yahoo has this report: Insurgents Strike Across Iraq, Killing 41

    The well-coordinated attacks, which also wounded 114 Iraqis and seven Americans, came as political leaders are trying to curb the insurgency by including all of Iraq's main religious and ethnic groups into an uncertain new Shiite-dominated government that takes office Tuesday. Most of the bombing targets were Iraqi security forces and police, whom insurgents accuse of collaborating with the Americans.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Putin pledges help for Palestinians

    CNN has this report: Putin pledges to help Palestinians

    The Russian leader told a joint news conference he would provide the Palestinians, whose infrastructure was badly damaged in more than four years of fighting with the Israelis, with helicopters and training for their security services. "We will provide the Palestinian leadership with technical help, supplies of equipment and training," Putin said. "We want the cooperation to be completely open and not cause concern on the Israeli side, and we will resolve this together."
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Iraq legal challenges launched

    From the Guardian: Anti-war groups begin court challenge

    Phil Shiner, of Public Interest Lawyers, which is acting for the anti-war groups, said three actions were being prepared against the government. On Thursday, they will present a case before the international criminal court in The Hague. The court is already considering what it describes as a "most significant" application relating to war crimes charges by anti-war groups.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Blair is a serial liar

    Blair cannot be trusted to tell the truth on any issue, the people of Sedgefield should oust him from his seat, and send a message that the British will not tolerate liars in power. This report from the Daily Telegraph (Australia):

    "Even if the Prime Minister wins handsomely on polling day this will stain him and his premiership as long as people remember it, just as Anthony Eden's name is forever associated with Suez." Shadow attorney-general Dominic Grieve said Mr Blair had been guilty of a "gross deception" on Parliament and the public.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    9 point lead for Labour in tracker poll

    According to the latest Times tracker poll figures, Labour has a 9 point lead over the Tories. Labour is on 40%, the Tories are down by 1% on 31%, Lib Dems are up 1% to 22% and "Others" are on 7%. See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Chalabi put in charge of Iraqi oil ministry

    Yahoo reports that Ahmed Chalabi has been put in charge of the Iraqi ministry of oil:

    Chalabi, speaking to Reuters by telephone shortly after his appointment, said he might only be in the job for "a short time" but he pledged to work to ensure smooth exports and honor contracts struck by the previous government. With the oil market anxious to see Iraq move toward stability and offer steady crude supplies, Chalabi said: "There will not be abrupt changes. My focus will be stability."
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Thousands of faulty ballot papers sent out

    From the Guardian: Thousands of faulty postal ballots sent out

    Yesterday it emerged that 16,000 ballot papers with a similar flaw were sent out by Wyre borough council in Lancashire for county council elections. The borough will try to reissue them but admits that a legal challenge to the eventual result is a real prospect.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Labour majority of 60 -80 seats predicted

    According to this article, from The Herald, the MORI chairman has predicted that Labour will have a majority of between 60 to 80 seats,and that Michael Howard will have to step down. The article also says that Robert Kilroy Silk may cause an upset in Erewash:

    Sir Robert Worcester, Mori founder and chairman, said Tony Blair would step down as prime minister in a year, after losing a referendum on the European Union constitution, in favour of Gordon Brown, who will then deliver Labour a fourth successive victory on May 7, 2009.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    US and Italy disagree on shooting

    According to this article, from today's Guardin, the US and Italy disagree on the US version of events surrounding the killing of an Italian intelligence agent, and the shooting of an Italian journalist:

    From the beginning the US and Italian accounts of what happened differed widely. The Americans said the car was speeding, and did not respond to hand signals, flashing lights and warning shots. Furthermore, US military officials said they had not been informed of the car's approach. However, Ms Sgrena, a left-wing journalist whose newspaper has frequently been critical of Italy's intelligence services, said the car was moving at a moderate speed. Italian officials have said the Americans had been warned the car would be heading to the airport. The CBS television network reported yesterday that satellite data had shown the car had been travelling at about 60mph. But the report claimed Italian investigators had refused to accept that the US soldiers were justified in shooting so quickly, and had argued that the checkpoint had not been clearly marked.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Genocidal, terror-sponsoring state is valuable terror war ally

    From the LA Times: Official Pariah Sudan Valuable to America's War on Terrorism

    The Bush administration has forged a close intelligence partnership with the Islamic regime that once welcomed Osama bin Laden here, even though Sudan continues to come under harsh U.S. and international criticism for human rights violations.

    ...

    As recently as September, then-Secretary of State Colin L. Powell accused Sudan of committing genocide in putting down an armed rebellion in the western province of Darfur. And the administration warned that the African country's conduct posed "an extraordinary threat to the national security" of the United States.

    Behind the scenes, however, Sudan was emerging as a surprisingly valuable ally of the CIA.

    ...

    Sudan has "given us specific information that is … important, functional and current," said a senior State Department official who agreed to discuss intelligence matters on condition of anonymity. The official acknowledged that the Mukhabarat [Sudan's intelligence agency] could become a "top tier" partner of the CIA.

    ...

    "American intelligence considers us to be a friend," said Maj. Gen. Yahia Hussein Babiker, a senior official in Sudan's government.

    During an interview at the presidential palace, Babiker said Sudan had achieved "a complete normalization of our relations with the CIA."

    Intelligence chief Maj. Gen. Salah Abdallah Gosh, who otherwise declined comment for this article, told The Times: "We have a strong partnership with the CIA. The information we have provided has been very useful to the United States."

    The paradox of a U.S.-Sudanese intelligence partnership is personified by Gosh.

    Members of Congress accused him and other senior Sudanese officials of directing military attacks against civilians in Darfur...

    ...

    In exchange for the collaboration, which has been largely unpublicized, Khartoum wants to be removed from the list of state sponsors of terrorism. It is also pressing Washington to lift long-standing economic sanctions barring most trade between the two countries.

    From the nation that created the PR industry: Fake Interrogations

    When you are tryin to get information in a way that you know doesn't work, what do you do when the boss shows up? From the Washinton Post: Detainee Questioning Was Faked, Book Says

    The U.S. military staged the interrogations of terrorism suspects for members of Congress and other officials visiting the military prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to make it appear the government was obtaining valuable intelligence, a former Army translator who worked there claims in a new book scheduled for release Monday.

    ...

    Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.) said she was "initially impressed" by interrogations she saw on a tour of Guantanamo Bay in February 2004 with members of the Homeland Security Committee. The delegation watched through mirrored glass as interrogators spoke in conversational tones and rewarded cooperative detainees with ice cream. Now, she believes, "we were duped."

    Friday, April 29, 2005

    The cigar that was more than just a cigar.

    American politicians and their cigars... This time Tom Delay. The the photo for yourself. From Think Progress via Time Magazine:

    "Every dime that finds its way into Cuba first finds its way into Fidel Castro’s blood-thirsty hands…. American consumers will get their fine cigars and their cheap sugar, but at the cost of our national honor.”

    - Tom Delay on lifting the embargo with Cuba

    As Time Magazine reported:

    DeLay has long been one of Congress' most vocal critics of what he calls Castro's "thugocracy," which is why some sharp-eyed TIME readers were surprised last week to see a photo of the Majority Leader smoking one of Cuba's best—a Hoyo de Monterrey double corona, which generally costs about $25 [each] when purchased overseas and is not available in this country. The cigar's label clearly states that it was made in "Habana." The photo was taken in Jerusalem on July 28, 2003, during a meeting between DeLay and the Republican Jewish Coalition at the King David Hotel in Jerusalem.

    Rumsfeld demands reporters ignore First Amendment

    From Military Reporters & Editors, April 27, 2005 :

    A group of journalism organizations led by Military Reporters & Editors on April 27 asked Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld to rescind restrictions placed on reporters covering the trial of Army Sgt. Hasan Akbar at Fort Bragg, N.C.

    MRE officials stated the organization is prepared to go to court to force an end to the military's decision in this case to require journalists to sign agreements that limit their ability to perform their jobs under the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. The groups also asked the Defense Department to establish a policy forbidding such actions in the future.

    In a letter to Donald Rumsfeld, MRE outlines its "concerns about restrictions imposed in Fort Bragg court martial of Army Sgt. Hasan Akbar.":

    The most troublesome is an "agreement" that reporters were required to sign before gaining access to the proceedings, which includes a pledge to not interview soldiers at Fort Bragg about the case or ask legal advisors in the media room to speculate on the outcome. To ensure compliance with the agreement, reporters were escorted everywhere while on base and some were monitored as they went to the restroom. The agreement and the Army's actions under it are an affront to the First Amendment rights of free speech and press.

    ...

    We understand the right of access is not absolute. When presented with an appropriate compelling interest a judge can, upon notice to the public and an opportunity to be heard, order limited closure of a courtroom. This can be done only after finding no reasonable alternative will safeguard that interest and after providing for a narrow closure based on specific findings that can be reviewed on appeal.

    The purported "agreement" does not meet that test. No public hearing was held, no showing was made and no judicial findings were rendered to justify press restrictions of any sort. We therefore implore you to immediately renounce the constraints this document places on the press, so that we are not forced to bring this issue to a court's attention.

    Reporter Jeff Schogol of The Express Times outlines some of the conditions of his agreement:

    I can't talk to any soldiers or civilians on the base without permission.

    I can be searched at any time.

    I can't ask the legal adviser provided to the media to speculate on how evidence or testimony might affect the trial's outcome.

    I have to be escorted everywhere I go on Fort Bragg. When I go to the men's room, my military escort waits patiently outside.

    Breaking the rules means I will no longer cover the court martial.

    It seems the Donald Rumsfeld of 1966 would disagree with the actions of his modern counterpart:

    "Mr. Speaker, a recent speech by Presidential Aid Bill D. Moyers admonished the Nation's newsmen to appreciate that only the 'purest motives' govern the actions and statements of the executive branch of the Federal Government. Such advice, if heeded, would be heeded by the naïve and nondiscriminating. Citizens and the press will continue to question, to investigate, to doubt, and to seek the truth."

    Thursday, April 28, 2005

    New Statesman's readers put Lib Dems ahead

    According to a survey carried out of New Statesman readers via email, the Lib Dems are ahead with 34.3% of the vote, Labour are in second place with 28.4%, the Tories, obviously have a very low rating, with just 3.8% of those surveyed saying they'd vote for them. Greens got 13.6%, Respect 4.8%, Nationalists 2.5%, Scottish Socialists got 1.2%, and "Others" polled 2.1%. Obviously, as the article states, the survey wasn't scientific, although it clearly shows how traditional Labour voters are dismayed by Blair & Co, and see the Lib Dems as the party they can more easily identify with. See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Reg Keys calls on Blair to resign

    From the Reg Keys campaign website:

    'Michael Howard and the voters of Sedgefield now have an unprecedented opportunity to call Blair to account with the simple remedy of the ballot box. If Howard believes Blair to have lied over the war then I implore him to take this opportunity seriously. He is no longer obliged to be bound by the convention whereby one party leader does not expose another by withdrawing their candidate. He himself says Blair has lied, and this is his opportunity to show that he is serious and to expose him to the test of the ballot box. 'My plea extends to Charles Kennedy despite his party's opposition to the war. Our canvass results show clearly that Sedgefield has already become a two-horse race with myself and Blair running neck and neck amongst declared voters.' Martin Bell, former Independent MP for Tatton and the original 'white suit candidate', said tonight: 'The extraordinary situation has arisen whereby the Prime Minister is facing a crisis of confidence of unprecedented proportions at the same time as he is facing re-election as a member of Parliament. And even more extraordinary is that standing against him the best qualified opponent he has ever faced, who for the first time has turned a general election in Sedgefield from a procession into a real contest of national and international significance. A political miracle is within reach.'
    If the Tories and Lib Dems are serious about wanting to hold Blair to account, even though the hypocritical Tories were always in favour of the invasion of Iraq, then they should withdraw their candidates, to allow Mr Keys a clear run at Blair. It would indeed be an historic opportunity for the voters of Sedgefield to oust a serving prime minister, and would signal to the rest of the world the views of most of the British public. See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    British electoral system in serious crisis

    This article from the BBC: Postal voting situation 'serious'

    Officials have expressed concern over the implications of postal voting, as more problems emerge around Britain.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Greens tell Blair to resign or be impeached

    From the Green Party website: The Green Party's legal advice to Tony Blair

    Reacting to the latest disclosure of advice from the Attorney General, the Green Party has called afresh for Blair to either resign or be impeached. A number of individual MPs also support the Impeach Blair campaign
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Plaid Cymru pledges free health care for the elderly

    From ePolitix.com: Plaid Cymru pledges free care for the elderly

    Plaid Cymru has unveiled its manifesto for older people, pledging free long-term care for the elderly and the introduction of a citizens' pension.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Galloway says Blair should resign

    From the Respect coalition website: Galloway demands Blair's immediate resignation

    He went on, "The world can now see in the words of the country's most senior law officer that there were no justifiable legal grounds for going to war. More than a hundred thousand Iraqi civilians and dozens of our soldiers have been killed. The lies of Tony Blair led directly to their deaths. Not only should he be forced from office, he should be brought before the courts and tried as a war criminal."
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Blair, guilty of gross deception

    From the Independent: Blair accused of 'gross deception' as Goldsmith's advice is published

    Last night, Mr Blair - unaware that the report was about to be leaked - was caught out still claiming on Sky News that the advice from the Attorney General "didn't change".
    Blair is a liar, and does not deserve to be in charge of this country. If we cannot trust the current mob on such an important decision as whether or not to follow America like sheep into an unnecessary and illegal war, then neither can we trust them on any other issue. See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Abu Ghraib detainee wants justice

    From the Khaleej Times: Abu Ghraib prisoner seeks justice one year after scandal

    Ali al-Shalal, nicknamed “clawman” by his US guards, said they attached electrodes to his body and tortured him at the height of the abuse scandal at Iraq’s Abu Ghraib prison. And he describes going through the same agony as a man in an infamous photo of a black-hooded prisoner, dressed like the grim reaper, humiliated and standing on a crate, with wires running from his body that captured the spirit of sadism in the US-run detention centre.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Voters cannot trust New Labour

    According to this article, from ePolitix.com, Charles Kennedy, the Lib Dem leader has said that it would be very difficult for voters to trust Blair now:

    But Kennedy again refused to echo Conservative attacks on Blair as a "liar". "The Conservatives quite frankly haven't got a leg to stand on shouldn't be allowed to obscure the fact that they were the principal cheerleaders for war," he said. "I'm not using that vocabulary. I am not going to start confusing what we are saying about this with [Conservative] efforts, and allow people to forget the fact that they signed up hook, line and sinker for this."
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Focus on Tunbridge Wells

    The latest constituency focus, from Politics.co.uk takes a look at Tunbridge Wells:

    After two comfortable wins, where the electorate swung towards the Conservatives in the Labour landslide victories of 1997 and 2001, Archie Norman is not standing to be the Member of Parliament for the Kent constituency this time around. "It's certainly a help to us," says Laura Murphy, the Liberal Democrat candidate. "You always have a chance, you can never guarantee a place is going to be a safe seat as you never know how people are going to vote on the day."
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Immigrants pay more in taxes

    This report from Politics.co.uk: Immigrants pay more tax than British

    A study from the Institute of Public Policy Research (IPPR) calculates that although the migrant workforce comprises less than nine per cent of the population, it contributes over ten per cent of the income tax collected.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Iraqi doctors warn of increasing deformities in newborn babies

    Reuters has this article, which disturbingly reports that, most likely, due to the use of depleted uranium, an increasing number of newborn babies have deformities:

    "In my experiments we have found some cases where the mother or father were suffering from pollution from weapons used in the south and we believe that it is affecting newborn babies in the country," Dr Ibraheem al-Jabouri, a scientist at Baghdad University, told IRIN. According to Dr Nawar Ali, at the University of Baghdad, who works in the newborn babies research department, a significant number of cases of deformed babies had been reported since 2003. "There have been 650 cases in total since August 2003 reported in government hospitals - that is a 20 percent increase from the previous regime. Private hospitals were not included in the study, so the number could be higher," Ali warned.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Military recruiters protested at University

    From post-gazette.com: Protesters target U.S. Army recruiters at CMU

    Members of Pittsburgh Organizing Group, including several CMU students and some high school students, stood in front of two recruiters at a folding table holding a banner that said "Resistance is Fertile." Attempts to contact the Oakland recruiting office after hours were unsuccessful. An Army recruiter at the North Hills center said he could not comment on the incident. A number of students, professors and janitors passing by the highly-trafficked area on the first floor expressed support for the protest, said Brian Dipippa, 18, who helped organize the event.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    SNP attack Blair & Co on their lies

    From Politics.co.uk: SNP - Tony Blair lied about advice

    "He has been found to have been lying about weapons of mass destruction, and he's also found to have lied about the true nature of the Attorney General's advice. The advice bears no resemblance to an answer given in Parliament by Tony Blair only a few days later. The next question must be just what did Blair say to Lord Goldsmith that made him change his legal opinion?"
    Indeed, and what orders did Bush's poodle get from the torturer in chief's regime? See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Togo election violence leaves 11 people dead

    The Australian has this report: Togo poll violence leaves 11 dead

    CLASHES that followed the announcement of Togo's presidential election results left at least 11 people dead and 95 hurt, hospital sources said today as violence resumed in the capital.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Blair could face a leadership challenge after this election

    From the Independent: Blair warned: More to follow Sedgemore out of the party

    David Hinchliffe, who is standing down as MP for Wakefield, confirmed Mr Sedgemore's statement that a group of backbenchers had discussed quitting the party en masse after the election in an attempt to provoke a leadership crisis for Mr Blair. Mr Hinchliffe said: "I was approached by a colleague who asked me what I intended to do. I said I would remain in the party. The colleague indicated they were likely to leave the party and also that Brian Sedgemore was likely to leave. When he said there have been discussions, Brian is correct."
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Pensioners will suffer under New Labour

    From the South Wales Evening Post: PENSIONERS WILL SUFFER UNDER BLAIR

    New Labour has no plans to alleviate the burden of council tax, but, again, after the election, it intends to increase the number of council tax bands.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    There is no "war on terrorism"

    From smh.com.au: Brigadier shocks and awes: there is no war on terrorism

    In a frank speech, Brigadier Justin Kelly dismissed several of the central tenets of the Iraq war and the war on terrorism, saying the "war" part is all about politics and terrorism is merely a tactic. Although such wars were fuelled by global issues, they were essentially counter-insurgent operations fought on a local level. This would result in Australian soldiers fighting in increasingly urban environments. Speaking at a conference on future warfighting, Brigadier Kelly, the director-general of future land warfare, also suggested that the "proposition you can bomb someone into thinking as we do has been found to be untrue".
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Blair the liar decides to publish full war advice

    According to this article, from Politics.co.uk, Blair & Co have been forced into publishing the full legal advice given on the invasion of Iraq, following the leaking of a letter from the attorney general, no doubt any sufficiently awkward parts will be heavily edited:

    Earlier, Liberal Democrat leader Charles Kennedy accused Tony Blair of "misleading" the public over the legal advice he received on the war in Iraq. He called on the Labour leader to explain the apparent discrepancies between the advice given by the Attorney General, Lord Goldsmith, and his account of that advice in subsequent weeks. Speaking in Edinburgh this morning, Mr Kennedy said what the publication of the letter does "without a shadow of a doubt, is further undermine the Prime Minister's reputation in all of this".
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Salmond wants answers on depleted uranium

    From Politics.co.uk: Salmond demands answers on depleted uranium

    SNP leader Alex Salmond has demanded a review of test firing practises for depleted uranium shells after it was revealed a local fisherman had discovered a partial shell in the Solway Firth. Speaking at a press conference in Dumfries, Mr Salmond unveiled a letter from Armed Forces Minister Adam Ingram supposedly admitting that four 'essentially complete' depleted uranium shells had been found at Kirkcudbright firing range.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Labour voting teachers switching to Lib Dems

    This article from the Independent: Most teachers who voted Labour switching to Lib Dems, poll finds

    Of the 259 respondents who voted Labour last time, only 143 will do so again. The number opting for the Liberal Democrats has risen from 156 to 212 - making it the most popular party among teachers. Eighty-four said they would vote for the Tories this time, compared with 74 in 2001. The poll, by the website Schoolzone, reveals massive discontent with Ruth Kelly, the Education Secretary. Only 51 of the 569 teachers responding to the poll believed she was doing a good job - with 293 saying she was not effective. A large majority - 364 - claimed Labour had failed to deliver on education while 176 said it had delivered.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Focus on Shipley

    The latest constituency focus from ePolitix takes a look at Shipley:

    In 2001 Labour's Christopher Leslie had his majority reduced to 1,428, about half his winning margin of 2,996 in 1997. A swing of just 1.6 per cent for the Conservatives would win Shipley back and claim the scalp of highly regarded junior minister Leslie. It would not be the equivalent of Portillo losing Enfield Southgate in 1997 but it would be a start for Michael Howard's troops. It is for that reason, and to retain as big a majority they can, that Labour is desperate to hang on to it even though it is not traditional Labour territory.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Soldiers families preparing legal case against Blair

    According to this article, from today's Guardian, the families of British soldiers who died in Iraq to cement Blair's so called "special relationship" are planning a legal case against Blair, following the leaking of the attorney general's advice on the legality of the invasion:

    Rose Gentle, whose son, Gordon, was killed in Basra last year, said she and other families were preparing an indictment against Tony Blair. The case will be supported by the Stop The War Coalition and Military Families Against The War. The two anti-war groups said the plan was to present a legal case to the high court in London tomorrow.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    50% of Americans say Bush deliberately misled on Iraqi WMDs

    This article from the Editor and Publisher: Gallup: 50% of Americans Now Say Bush Deliberately Misled Them on WMDs

    Half of all Americans, exactly 50%, now say the Bush administration deliberately misled Americans about whether Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, the Gallup Organization reported this morning.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    MPs would not have voted for war, if they had seen the legal advice

    A number of MPs, if they had seen the attorney general's advice on the legality of invading Iraq most likely would not have voted the way they did. Just 2 weeks after that 7th March summary, when it was clear there would be no second resolution, the attorney general's legal advice changed. Labour Party MPs will be furious at being misled on this issue, and the public should also be furious. From the Guardian:

    Sir Menzies Campbell, the Liberal Democrats' deputy leader, himself a lawyer, told Channel 4 News: "We must now have a full account of his [the attorney general's] reasoning and what happened in that period. "Who did he meet? What influences were brought to bear upon him? What minutes, if any, were exchanged between him and the prime minister and other members of the government?" Peter Brierley, whose 29-year-old son, Lance Corporal Shaun Brierley, died in an accident shortly after the war began, joined the ranks of those calling for the prime minister's resignation. He told Channel 4 News: "[The advice] seems to say that going to war was illegal and I can't see that Tony Blair has any choice now but to stand down."
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Female Iraqi MP shot dead in Baghdad

    From Aljazeera: Woman MP shot dead in Baghdad

    The attack on Wednesday occurred in front of her home in eastern Baghdad. She is thought to be the first person in the 275-member National Assembly to be killed. The assembly was formed after elections on 30 January this year.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Blair faces new questions on Iraq

    Why did the attorney generals advice on the legality of the invasion of Iraq change in the space of 2 weeks, when it was absolutely clear that there would be no second UN resolution to authorise an invasion? This report from the FT:

    Lord Goldsmith added: “In the light of the latest reporting by Unmovic, you will need to consider very carefully whether the evidence of non-co-operation and non-compliance by Iraq is sufficiently compelling.” Mr Blix told the Financial Times on Wednesday night that, by the time Lord Goldsmith gave this advice, Iraq had become “highly proactive in substance. So later, on I did not complain about any substantial breaches.” Asked whether his findings could be construed as compelling evidence of non-compliance or non-co-operation, he said: “No”.
    The attorney general admitted that UNMOVIC had not judged that Iraq wasn't complying with UN resolutions. See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    The "war on terror" is a huge failure

    The so called "war on terror" is a huge failure, the Bush regime's crusades have not decreased the amount of terrorism in the world, terrorist attcks have actually increased. For those who have commented here that that isn't proof the so called "war on terror" is failing, how much more proof do you need than to know that the Bush regime's crusades are helping to fan the flames of terrorism? See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    The rogue regime's trade in torture

    From Le Monde diplomatique: United States: trade in torture

    This is a story of private jets flying out of Germany, of kidnappings on European streets, and of torture. It has a cast of lawyers, spies, suspected terrorists, innocent bystanders and an ex-CIA boss who believes that ‘human rights is a very flexible concept’.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    National Trust director warns of rising sea levels

    From the Guardian: 'Act now' over sea level threat

    Tony Burton, director of policy and strategy at the National Trust, issued the warning as the conservation body published research showing that 60% of its 702 miles (1,130kms) of coastline could be affected by erosion within the next 100 years.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    WMDs weren't shipped to Syria

    There were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, and even if there were, they were not shipped to Syria. This report from CNN:

    It is unlikely Iraq shipped banned weapons material into Syria before the 2003 U.S.-led invasion, according to report released by the Iraq Survey Group, a CIA/Pentagon team searching for Iraqi weapons programs.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Summary of attorney generals legal advice

    From the Guardian: Full text: summary of attorney general's legal advice on March 7 2003

    If we fail to achieve the adoption of a second resolution we would need to consider urgently at that stage the strength of our legal case in the light of circumstances at the time.
    In other words, what the attorney general could have wrote instead was "If we fail to gain the second resolution we need, we'll just do as the Americans tell us to do, regardless of the legality" See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Gay prostitute slept over at the White House

    This article, from Conspiracy Planet: Bush White House Gay Sex Scandal Stars Jeff Gannon

    Gannon had previously advertised his services on the internet as a male prostitute "top" at $1200 per weekend. White House overnight trysts were not uncommon, according to Secret Service logs of Jeff Gannon's White House entries and exits, requested by Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-NY) and Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) using the FOIA (Freedom of Information Act).
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Jack Straw: Not entitled to anything but a small cell

    Craig Murray's latest campaign round up appears in the Guardian today, of course, Craig Murray, our ex ambassador to Uzbekistan is standing against British foreign secreatry in Blackburn, and is hoping to cause a big upset in the early hours of the 6th May:

    One further infringement of our liberties under New Labour, and a serious threat to free speech. Every candidate has the right to have an electoral communication delivered free of charge. These have to be pre-vetted by the Post Office for, inter alia, libel. Since when has the Post Office, as opposed to a court of law, been qualified to decide what a candidate may or may not say? I feel rather insulted it found nothing wrong with my electoral communication. I am obviously not being radical enough.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    legal advice on Iraq invasion leaked

    The British media is awash this morning with news that the attorney general's advice on the legality of invading Iraq has finally been leaked. This report from Channel 4 News:

    Channel 4 News has obtained a copy of the summary of the confidential legal advice written by the Attorney General Lord Goldsmith and sent to the Prime Minister on March 7th, two weeks before the war with Iraq.
    To summarise, basically the attorney general warned that failure to secure a second UN resolution would lead to the invasion's legality being highly questionable. See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    US failure on Sudan

    I've said in the past, the US has so much ability to do some good in the world, it is, however very rarely these days when they actually choose to do so. This article, from Yahoo highlights the Sudan crisis, where the Bush regime, who could be leading the way in helping to resolve the ongoing conflict are moving very slowly on the issue, and don't really seem too interested:

    "For Zoellick to float 60,000 as a low end number is negligent criminally," said Prendergast, whose group estimates as many as 10,000 people or more die each month in Darfur. "It's a deliberate effort by the Bush administration to downplay the severity of the crisis in order to reduce the urgency of an additional response. I find that to be disingenuous and perhaps murderous," he added in a conference call to discuss a report on Sudan by the group.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    CIAs final report: No WMDs in Iraq

    MSNBC offers another report, confirming once again that there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq:

    On Monday, Duelfer said there is no purpose in keeping many of the detainees who are in custody because of their knowledge on Iraq’s weapons, although he did not provide any details about the current number. A U.S. official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the ultimate decision on their release will be made by the Iraqi authorities.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Liverpool calls for national chewing gum tax

    I believe I mentioned this proposal in the past for a 1p tax on chewing gum to help clear up the mess it causes, when people spit it out onto the street. I believe it's agood idea. This article, from the Guardian:

    Councillors at Liverpool city council have voted to lobby the government, calling for a 1p levy on every packet of gum. The proposal would help to recoup some of the estimated £150m a year it costs local authorities to clean up discarded gum. The average price of a piece of gum is 3p - but it costs at least 10p to remove it from pavements.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Estimates say 6.5 million postal votes

    From the BBC: Post vote applications quadruple

    The Electoral Commission estimated 6.5m people, or 15% of voters, would have applied for postal votes by Tuesday's deadline. In 2001 it was 1.7m.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Tuesday, April 26, 2005

    Business leaders withdraw support for Labour

    From the Independent: Business leaders withdraw their backing from Labour over war

    The three - Sir Terence Conran, Tim Waterstone and David Potter, the chairman of Psion - are long-standing Labour supporters and each of them signed a letter backing the party before the 1997 and 2001 elections. But they refused to sign a round-robin letter extolling Labour's economic record which appeared in the Financial Times yesterday because they opposed the war and the way Britain was led into it on a false premise.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Blair forced from his chosen subjects

    From the Independent: New controversy over Iraq forces Blair from his chosen battlefields

    Tony Blair was forced on the defensive over Iraq as he angrily refused to apologise for the war and appealed to his critics to stop questioning his integrity.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    60% want British troops out of Iraq this year

    According to this article, from the Independent, 60% of people want to see British troops out of Iraq by the end of the year, something the Lib Dems are proposing:

    Two years on from the Iraq conflict, it seems that it remains unpopular with many voters. More people (49 per cent) think Tony Blair was wrong to take Britain to war than believe he was right (32 per cent). Although the war is still opposed by a majority of Tory and Liberal Democrat supporters, Labour voters are evenly split, with 37 per cent believing Mr Blair was right and 35 per cent that he was wrong.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    SNP and Plaid Cymru want Blair impeached

    From the Guardian: Parties bid to impeach PM over Iraq

    Campaigning together in Edinburgh, Plaid Cymru Westminster leader Elfyn Llwyd and SNP leader Alex Salmond will make a joint declaration committing MPs from their parties elected on May 5 to retabling a motion demanding Mr Blair's impeachment.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Labour decides against imposing constraints on anti war candidates

    From the Guardian: Rebels get free rein over war

    Labour's high command has decided against imposing any constraints on what its candidates say about the invasion of Iraq. Officials are convinced that the war has little traction in most of Britain, even though the willingness of some candidates to go out of the way to express their opposition suggests there is greater nervousness on the ground.
    And for the record, although Valerie avey continues to insist that she was against the invasion, according to the Public Whip website, which has a record on how all MPs have voted on all issues, Valerie Davey abstained from the main vote on the decision to invade Iraq, although she did vote in favour of an ammendment to say that the case for war had not been made. She cannot therefore claim that she voted against the invasion. See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    "Give Blair a bloody nose"

    Brian Sedgemore, the Labour MP, who has defected to the Lib Dems has said that voters should give Blair a bloody nose. From the Independent:

    I'm renouncing Tony Blair, the Devil, New Labour and all their works. I don't do this lightly. I know that some of my friends will be angry, and I will be rubbished by the New Labour spin machine. Mad Dog [John] Reid will be set on me. John Prescott will say, "Brian? Brian who?" But I can let them into a secret. I am not alone. A small group of us - all MPs who are standing down - decided we would leave the Labour Party immediately after the election. Among the MPs, there are 150 who loathe Mr Blair, 50 more who have grave doubts about him and a further 200 who love him. They are sometimes called the Clones or the Stepford Wives.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    The US is losing the "war on terror"

    From the Independent Institute: Evidence that the U.S. May Be Losing the Global War on Terror

    According to Larry Johnson, a former CIA analyst and State Department terrorism expert who still has many sources within the intelligence community, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice’s office is suppressing data showing that the number of major terrorist attacks worldwide exploded from 175 in 2003 to 625 in 2004, the highest number since the Cold War began to wane in 1985. U.S. officials said that when analysts at the National Counterterrorism Center declined the office of the secretary’s invitation to use a methodology that would reduce the number of terrorist attacks, her office terminated publication of the State Department’s annual “Patterns of Global Terrorism” report.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    High court judges criticise Blair & Co

    The Guardian has this report: Judges reveal anger over curbs on power

    In a rare series of interviews, five judges in the high court and court of appeal have told the Guardian of their concerns about laws on sentencing, control orders for terror suspects, and public inquiries, which they see as attempts to limit their role.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Blair is a war criminal

    Richard Gott, writing in the Guardian today believes that Blair is a war criminal, also an appeaser of a very dangerous global power:

    Blair has followed in his footsteps, and is destined for the same place in history's hall of infamy. Like Chamberlain, he is an arrogant and God-fuelled appeaser, the unseemly ally of an unbridled country that presents a global threat similar to Germany in the 1930s. Instead of seeking a grand alliance to confront this new danger - "a coalition of the unwilling" that would include the Europeans, the Russians and the Chinese - Blair has sided with the evil empire. He has taken up a role as its principal cheerleader, obliging Britain to become a participant in its wars of aggression. Today's Labour party has been a supine collaborator in this policy of appeasement, just like the Tory party in the 1930s. Blair's war party must be defeated at the polls.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Labour MP defects to Lib Dems

    According to this report, from the Independent, Brian Sedgemore, who has been a Labour Party MP for about 27 years has defected to the Lib Dems, saying that "enough is enough", and that Blair has lied over Iraq:

    Declaring that "enough is enough", Mr Sedgemore also reveals that a small group of unnamed fellow MPs who are standing down are secretly planning to leave the Labour Party in protest at Mr Blair's leadership after the election.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    "Oi Two Jags, Hit Targets, Not Voters"

    According to this article, from the Guardian, protesters from Greenpeace are apparently staging a protest on the roof of John Prescott's house in Hull:

    A spokesman for Greenpeace said the group were attempting to install a solar panel on the roof of his constituency home in Hull in a bid to highlight the Government's record on energy.
    See all recent "ALogical Voice" posts

    10 point Labour lead in new poll

    A poll carried out by NOP for the Independent has Labour on 40%, Tories on 30%, and Lib Dems on 21%:

    A senior Labour source said last night: "Michael Howard's campaign, particularly on immigration, is driving people back to us. But we would rather the polls were closer. Otherwise people are in the comfort zone and think they can give us a kick without it having any consequences."
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Bush's terrorist friend

    This time it's the former Liberian president, Charles Taylor. From the Washington Post: A Protected Friend of Terrorism

    Part of the reason may be Taylor's long association with U.S. intelligence services. During much of the 1990s, Taylor was close to Moammar Gaddafi, the main financier of Taylor's wars. Taylor regularly reported on his meetings to U.S. intelligence agencies and was paid for the information. While the use of informants is necessary, protecting Taylor in the face of unspeakable atrocities just because of that historical relationship should not be tolerated.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Getting away with torture

    From TomPaine.com: Getting Away With Torture

    “The soldiers at the bottom of the chain are taking the heat for Abu Ghraib and torture around the world, while the guys at the top who made the policies are going scot free. That’s simply not right.”
    Indeed. See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Fuel protests at 2 more refineries

    According to this article, from the Guardian today, as well as that refinery in Ellesmere Port being picketed, protesters will today begin their protests at 2 refineries in Wales:

    On Monday night a convoy of around 50 lorries headed to the two sites from Cross Hands in Carmarthenshire. Many of the protesters spent the night outside the Texaco oil refinery in Pembroke and a refinery in Milford Haven operated by Elf. The night passed peacefully and oil tankers came and went freely.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Armenians in Israel remember the other holocaust

    From the Independent: Armenians in Israel remember the other 'holocaust'

    Indeed a leaflet distributed in the Old City yesterday quoted recent Turkish media reports that the Israeli Foreign Minister, Sylvan Shalom, has appealed to Jewish US organisations to help fight against a US Congressional resolution which would deplore the genocide. Mr Shalom warns that it would damage the special relationship between the US, Israel and Turkey. Not all Israelis agree with the official position. Among those at the commemoration was Yair Auron, an Israel Open University professor, whose book The Banality of Denial has just been translated into Hebrew.
    Israel, the US and Turkey - The Armenian holocaust deniers. See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Only 1 in 12 New Labour candidates prepared to back Blair

    From the Times: Only one in 12 of Blair’s new candidates support him in public on the war

    More than a quarter of the new candidates in Labour seats said that they were against the war and half simply refused to discuss their views on Mr Blair’s most controversial decision.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Totalitarianism: Where the religious right and politics meet

    From The LA Times: 2 Evangelicals Want to Strip Courts' Funds

    Evangelical Christian leaders, who have been working closely with senior Republican lawmakers to place conservative judges in the federal courts, have also been exploring ways to punish sitting jurists and even entire courts viewed as hostile to their cause.

    ...

    "There's more than one way to skin a cat, and there's more than one way to take a black robe off the bench," said Tony Perkins, president of the conservative Family Research Council, according to an audiotape of a March 17 session. The tape was provided to The Times by the advocacy group Americans United for Separation of Church and State.

    DeLay has spoken generally about one of the ideas the leaders discussed in greater detail: using legislative tactics to withhold money from courts."We set up the courts. We can unset the courts. We have the power of the purse," DeLay said at an April 13 question-and-answer session with reporters.The leaders present at the March conference, including Perkins and James C. Dobson, founder of the influential group Focus on the Family, have been working with Frist to eliminate the filibuster for judicial nominations [a tool Republicans have used in the past]...

    ...

    "Very few people know this, that the Congress can simply disenfranchise a court," Dobson said. "They don't have to fire anybody or impeach them or go through that battle. All they have to do is say the 9th Circuit doesn't exist anymore, and it's gone."

    ...

    Perkins and Dobson laid out a history of court rulings they found offensive, singling out the recent finding by the Supreme Court that executing minors was unconstitutional...

    ...

    "This will not be the last thing that you read about that makes me look ridiculous," [Dobson] said.

    We can be sure of that last part.

    Perhaps the world's youngest political prisoner....

    Yesterday was the 16th birthday of Gendun Choekyi Nyima, the 11th Panchen Lama. He was abducted by the Chinese government on May 17th, 1995 when he was just six years old. For more, please see Birthday of Imprisoned Panchen Lama: The World's Youngest Political Prisoner Turns 16 at Democracy Now!

    Monday, April 25, 2005

    Voters will judge Blair on Iraq

    I don't believe, unfortunately that voters will be voting on the issue of Iraq, and the larger issue of trust alone. However, those who raise this issue during this campaign are quite right to do so. Well, those who have actually opposed it all along that is. From the Scotsman:

    He said: "Tony Blair says history will be his judge. He is wrong - the British people will be his judge." Mr Kennedy also demanded an assurance from the Prime Minister that there will be no pre-emptive military strike on Iran.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Iraq is not "a distraction"

    Blair & Co are obviously wound up about the issue of Iraq being raised in this election. They really don't want to talk about war crimes, death and destruction, or the fact that thousands of British troops are still in Iraq. Why are Blair & Co attempting to suggest that this is not an important issue, when British troops are still over there, and when so many thousands have died because of their deceptions? From the Times:

    Mr Blair said that he believed that the disagreement over Iraq would never be resolved, but asked people to conduct the debate on whether the judgment to go to war was right or not "rather than attacks on my conduct and integrity".
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Parties lack the will to tackle climate change

    From Politics.co.uk: Greens - Westminster parties lack will to tackle climate change

    Green MEP Caroline Lucas has today accused the main Westminster parties of lacking the will to make real changes to tackle climate change.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Iraq should be an election issue

    The BBC's website is asking whether Iraq should be an election issue, perhaps you'd like to add your comments to those already there. You can see a range of comments so far, and add your own by clicking here. See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    SNP fights to save Scottish regiments

    From ePolitix.com: SNP fights to save Scottish regiments

    The party has pledged to keep Scotland’s six historic regiments and make their maintenance a priority. It also challenged the Conservatives record on the regiments, reminding voters that in the 1990s the Conservative government scrapped Gordon Highlanders and Queen’s own Highlanders.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    "Justice by the ballot box"

    From the BBC: Kennedy seeks Iraq war 'justice'

    Every Labour and Conservative candidate should be held to account by voters over the Iraq war, Liberal Democrat leader Charles Kennedy has argued.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Blair could drag us into another war

    From This is London: 'PM could drag us into new war'

    "He (Charles Kennedy) acccused the US of plotting an attack on Iran within 18 months - and said there was "no reason to trust" the Prime Minister to stay out"
    If you don't want Blair leading us into another US led disaster, then don't vote for the warmongers. See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    5 children killed in Nepal explosion

    From the Australian: Five children killed in bomb blast

    FIVE children were killed and three others wounded in western Nepal when a crude bomb left by suspected Maoist rebels exploded, an army officer said. Details of the explosion in the Maoist heartland of Rolpa district were not immediately available.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Blair too busy to visit his constituency

    How can the people of Sedgefield be expected to vote for a man who is supposed to represent their concerns, when he hasn't even bothered showing up in his own constituency? Quite obviously, they shouldn't be expected to. This report from the Independent:

    Mr Blair has a majority of 17,713 in a rock solid Labour constituency. The only occasion in modern British politics in which a Prime Minister could be said to have lost a seat was when Ramsay MacDonald, who had just surrendered the leadership of an increasingly conservative dominated coalition government for an election, was beaten by Manny Shinwell in 1935. Isn't this nothing more than a highly-publicised tilting at windmills? Martin Bell shook his head. "I was told in the early stages if that I stood no chance. I remember The Guardian saying it was 'an amateurish campaign run like a Blue Peter appeal'. Well, these things take on a momentum of their own, and this is happening here. Reg Keys' campaign is much more organised and better funded than mine was at a similar stage. He is picking up votes, there is no doubt about that."
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    US sent upto 150 to torture sites

    Can we really say that Blair & Co are not complicit in these cases of torture and abuse? I don't think so! Blair & Co have blatently ignored the systematic and sanctioned torture and abuse carried out in Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantanamo. They are well aware that torture and abuse is sytematic and sanctioned, and yet continue to stand "shoulder to shoulder" with the rogue regime in Washington. See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Lib Dems renew call for full public inquiry into Iraq

    From Ananova: Lib Dems renew call for war inquiry

    Mr Kennedy said: "Britain's international reputation has been damaged by the way Tony Blair took us to war. It has undermined the United Nations. It has undermined international law. It has undermined Tony Blair's own standing as Prime Minister. It has undermined trust in government and politics generally. Mr Kennedy said the inquiry must examine how Britain went to war. He said it should look at the full political, legal and strategic advice given to the Government before the war and the decisions taken on the basis of that advice.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Armenians remember genocide

    From Yahoo: Armenians Remember Turkish Killings 90 Years Ago

    Hundreds of thousands of people clutching tulips, carnations and daffodils climbed a hill in Armenia's capital on Sunday to lay wreaths and remember the 1.5 million they say were killed 90 years ago in Ottoman Turkey.
    ......
    In New York's Times Square, some 1,000 people held a rally to mark the anniversary. Their banners also condemned "all genocide, be it Armenian, Jews or in Cambodia, Rwanda or Darfur."
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Fuel protesters begin campaign

    It seems those in charge of the fuel protests have decided to bring the date forward of their demonstrations. They were planned to begin on the 3rd May, but according to this article, from the BBC, protesters have begun a picket of a Cheshire oil refinery:

    By setting up outside Stanlow oil near Ellesmere Port, they want to make fuel prices an issue in the general election, said organiser David Handley. One tanker has already been stopped by the group, which consists of 14 tractors and about 20 people on foot.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Lib Dems record best poll ratings so far

    According to this article, from the Swiss Info website, the Lib Dems have recorded their best ratings in the polls so far. A poll for the Telegraph has Labour on 37%, the Tories on 33% (-1%) and Lib Dems 24% (+2%) A poll for the Mirror has Labour on 39% (-2%), Tories on 33% and Lib Dems on 20% See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    The Bush family's favourite terrorist

    No, it's not Bin Laden, this from consortiumnews.com: The Bush Family's Favorite Terrorist

    Though the terrorist’s presence has been an open secret in Miami, neither President George W. Bush nor Florida Gov. Jeb Bush has ordered a manhunt. The U.S. press corps has been largely silent as well. The reason is that this terrorist, Luis Posada Carriles, was a CIA-trained Cuban whose long personal war against Fidel Castro’s government is viewed sympathetically by the two Bush brothers and their father. When it comes to the Bush family, Posada is the epitome of the old saying that “one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter.”
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Lib Dems and Tories attack over Iraq

    I hope the Lib Dems, as well as attacking Blair & Co, will be attacking the Tories for their blatent hypocrisy on this issue. From the Guardian: Opposition goes on Iraq offensive

    The Liberal Democrats and Conservatives launched a two-pronged attack on Tony Blair yesterday, accusing the prime minister of having undermined trust in politicians and lied over the Iraq war
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Paxman was too soft on Blair

    That is apparently the opinion of Richard Ingrams. From the Observer: Paxman was too soft

    With his ill-judged attempt to badger Blair over the question of the illegal immigrants, Paxman let him get away with some fresh lies about the Iraq story. Asked about the suicide of Dr David Kelly, Blair replied that it was 'a terrible, terrible thing', adding that he had had no option but to disclose Kelly's name, something he has always claimed he had nothing to do with. 'I think, had we failed to do so, that would have been seen as attempting to conceal something from the committee that was looking into this at the time.'
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    "Never Again"

    The Lib Dems have adverts in the papers today, featuring a grinning Bush and Blair standing "shoulder to shoulder", and the words "never again". Meanwhile, a human rights lawyer, according to this article is questioning the date on which Blair sought the legal advice to invade Iraq, believing the date may indicate that advice was sought as early as Blair's return from Bush's Texas ranch in 2002. From the Independent:

    Lord Lester will today apply to the Information Commissioner Richard Thomas for the release of the date under the Freedom of Information Act. "It must be pure political embarrassment which is causing them to defy the Ombudsman's findings," he said. "It is an extremely rare thing to do and completely unacceptable. What are they trying to hide?" A senior Labour strategist dismissed allegations that there had been a cover-up about the war as "garbage". Mr Blair and Gordon Brown will refocus on the economy in British cities today.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    British companies involved in diverting Aids drugs

    From the Guardian: UK firms involved in diverting Aids drugs

    British companies have been involved in the diversion of cut-price Aids drugs intended for people in poor countries, some of which have been sold at a profit to the NHS, it emerged yesterday.
    That is absolutely disgraceful. See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    US forced UN investigator out of job

    According to this article, a UN investigator who uncovered US abuses has been forced out of his job by the US:

    The UN eliminated Mr Bassiouni's job last week after Washington had pressed for his mandate to be changed so that it would no longer cover the US military. Just days earlier, the Egyptian-born law professor, now based in Chicago, had presented his criticisms in a 24-page report to the UN Commission on Human Rights in Geneva. The report, based on a year spent travelling around Afghanistan interviewing Afghans, international agency staff and the Afghan Human Rights Commission, estimated that around 1,000 Afghans had been detained and accused US troops of breaking into homes, arresting residents and abusing them.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Syrian pullout from Lebanon almost complete

    From Yahoo: Syria Ending Military Presence in Lebanon

    Most of the last 1,000 Syrian troops in Lebanon have withdrawn in the past few days. A senior Lebanese military officer said only 300 will remain behind until Tuesday for a ceremony marking the formal end of Syria's military presence.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    49 people killed in Japanese train crash

    From the Guardian: 49 killed in Japan train crash

    A packed commuter train jumped the tracks in western Japan today and hurtled into a block of flats, killing 49 people and injuring more than 340 others in the country's deadliest rail accident in more than a decade.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    We don't want these frankenstein foods

    According to this report, from the Independent, scientists have been putting human genes into food crops:

    Environmentalists say that no one will want to eat the partially human-derived food because it will smack of cannibalism. But supporters say that the controversial new departure presents no ethical problems and could bring environmental benefits.
    "No ethical problems"! Do these people have absolutely no ethics whatsoever? See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Politicians fail on climate change test

    According to this report, from the Guardian today, Greenpeace scored the main parties on their climate change policies. Labour scored 38%, the Tories scored 37%, and Lib Dems scored 61%:

    Stephen Tindale, executive director of Greenpeace, said: "All three party leaders have identified climate change as the greatest threat we face, and yet when it comes to putting policies to the electorate it is nowhere. What we have are a load of shallow careerist politicians trying to get more votes."
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts