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  • Tuesday, May 31, 2005

    Iranian revolutionaries accused of torture

    According to this report, from the Guardian, an Iranian group some call terrorists, while others claim are "freedom fighters" backed by elements in the US and Britain have been accused of torture:

    However, the foreign secretary, Jack Straw, calls them a "a nasty terrorist organisation" and British officials are barred from contact. The Mujahideen are officially proscribed but their British backers want the terrorist designation lifted. Refugees from the Mujahideen we traced in the Netherlands include Ardeshir Pahrizkari, who walks on crutches. His back and feet were broken, he told us, when he was punched, kicked and had chairs thrown at him at a mass meeting to denounce him organised by his commander. His crime, he says, was to object to "self-criticism" sessions and the beating up of internal dissidents. "They use Stalinist methods to get rid of even a spark of opposition".
    What charming people! And if there is regime change in Iran, these are the people likely to be in charge, is that what all the blood thirsty war mongers out there really want? See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Former Pentagon official admits passing classified information to Israelis

    Haaretz has this report:

    Pentagon official Larry Franklin has admitted that he may have disclosed classified information to a foreign official who was not authorized to receive it. The admission appeared in an FBI affidavit submitted to a U.S. District Court last week.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Basra police chief says city out of control

    According to this article, from today's Guardian, the Basra police chief has stated that his force does not have control of the city, and that he doesn't trust most of the force:

    Speaking to the Guardian, General Hassan al-Sade said half of his 13,750-strong force was secretly working for political parties in Iraq's second city and that some officers were involved in ambushes. Other officers were politically neutral but had no interest in policing and did not follow his orders, he told the Guardian. "I trust 25% of my force, no more."
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    US may request domestic Canadian passenger lists

    CBC reports that the US is considering requesting passenger details of all domestic Canadian flights which pass through US airspace:

    But the new American proposal attempts to go one step further by demanding that any flight passing through U.S. airspace, even if it doesn't land, must first submit its passengers' names, citizenship, birthdays, and possibly their addresses and credit card details. Since many east-west flights in Canada briefly enter U.S. airspace, under the plan, Canadian airlines would have to provide details on their domestic passengers. It's a move seen by critics as a loss of sovereignty. But international law allows it.
    It seems to me that these plans would, if imposed, be a loss of sovereignty. See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Brown's supporters say it's time for the leadership push

    The Indepedendent today reports that supporters of Gordon Brown are apparently urging him to begin his push to take over from Blair, following the French rejection of the EU constitution. Of course, Brown is considered slightly more Eurosceptic than Blair:

    One former minister called on Mr Brown to make a move to prevent Mr Blair driving forward the reform agenda that will see the private sector playing a greater role in the NHS and schools. "The referendum was the last rational reason for Gordon Brown to postpone the transfer, but that has now disappeared," the former minister said. "Blair is going to continue messing up the health service with the private sector and education with city academies. That is sufficient reason for Gordon to start manoeuvring."
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Excerpts from Guantanamo testimonies

    Yahoo provides us with some excerpts of testimonies given at the Guantanamo torture chamber:

    "Actually, I am so embarrassed of the people we fought against. They are here in Cuba, and now we are here in Cuba. Now we are in the same boat as they are. When they see us, they laugh at us. They say 'There is the Karzai government and they are here too.'" — Another man who claims to have been in Karzai's camp.
    ......
    "No doubt about it that I can use weapons. ... It is a duty of every man. There is not a possible way for someone to live in that environment ... where there is no security, no rules, no law, that someone can defend himself with no weapon just on his own. If that becomes some sort of offense, accusation, maybe you should put all Afghanistan in this area." — A prisoner who suggested the tribunal classify the entire Afghan population as enemy combatants when the evidence against him read that "the detainee can fire an AK-47 and a pistol."
    ...... See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Cheney claims US doesn't violate human rights

    According to this report, from CNN, Cheney has claimed that the US doesn't breach people's human rights. I don't think I need to point out the obvious distortion of the truth here, please feel free to add your own comment:

    "For Amnesty International to suggest that somehow the United States is a violator of human rights, I frankly just don't take them seriously," he said in an interview that aired Monday night on CNN's "Larry King Live."
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Thousands of Zimbabweans made homeless

    The Guardian has this report:

    Zimbabwean police yesterday bulldozed thousands of shanty towns in Harare and cities across the country, making thousands of people homeless.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Venezuela may impose travel ban on US officials

    The BBC has this report:

    Venezuela is threatening to refuse entry to US officials in response to the decision to bar Venezuela's top judge from entering the United States.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Springer claims British TV lags 10 years behind US

    Well, Jerry Springer appears to have paid British tv a backhanded compliment, saying that some of our programmes "plod along". I would say that occasionally British programmers are somewhat lazy, and rather than produce quality programmes for a British audience, import the sort of tripe which is produced in the US. And can someone please take Ruby Wax, and Jerry Springer back to America. The sorts of loud and brash programmes hosted by the aforementioned "celebrities" really belong somewhere else:

    Springer, whose confessional talk shows are famous for guests swearing and throwing chairs at one another, praised the quality of documentary-making in the UK, but said that British television has some catching up to do.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    The west tolerates repression in return for oil

    This article makes for a very interesting read, from today's Guardian:

    In this visit, Mr Karimov has astutely reminded his other ally, Washington, of its competitor in the region. The White House, which took six days to condemn a crackdown it initially said was in part against "terrorists", has too much at stake to get squeamish about Andijan. Washington appears to fear the possibility of Islamic insurgency in the region more than the consequences of the Karimov regime's long-term suppression of a country of 26 million. Uzbekistan - strengthened by $50.6m in US aid last year, a fifth of which was for "security and law enforcement" - remains the dominant, US-friendly hardman neighbour of every other central Asian state, a useful linchpin for a threadbare and volatile region.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    US senators seek Uzbek massacre investigation

    According to this report, from the Chicago Tribune, US senators are seeking a probe into the recent massacres in Uzbekistan, carried out by Bush's friend's security forces there:

    Meanwhile new details of the conduct of the Uzbek security forces during and after the violence emerged, including allegations that injured victims have disappeared from hospitals and that troops fired on an ambulance, killing three medical workers inside.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Plastic food packaging linked to breast cancer

    This report from the Guardian:

    The compound involved is called bisphenol-A or BPA. It is used in plastic food containers, cans and dental sealants and other research suggests it leaches from products and is absorbed in low concentrations by the human body, The scientists behind the latest findings say in the journal Endocrinology that they are involved in further work to test the hypothesis that exposure in the womb and shortly after birth to BPA in particular, and to oestrogens in general, might increase people's susceptibility to breast cancer.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    The EU constitution is dead

    According to this article, from the Guardian, Blair is apparently to ask Chirac to declare whether he believes that the EU constitution is now dead. I don't really see how Chirac could say that it was anything but dead after the French gave the thumbs down to it. The Dutch also look likely to vote no in their referendum on the issue tomorrow:

    A double no from two founding members of the EU in the space of three days would deal such a blow to the constitution that all sides may agree it is dead. This would clear the way for Jack Straw to announce the cancellation of the British referendum when he addresses MPs on Monday. If the picture is less clear, it is understood that the prime minister and other leaders fac ing difficult referendum campaigns will make their move in private at the European summit in Brussels on June 16-17. They will stop short of calling on Mr Chirac to deliver the last rites to the constitution.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Israeli espionage case prompts shock and denial

    Haaretz has this report:

    After a six-month investigation, the Tel Aviv fraud squad arrested nine detectives on suspicion of commiting espionage for Yes, Pelephone and Cellcom; and five for spying on behalf of Mayer Cars and Trucks, which imports Volvo, Honda and Jaguar cars and Renault and Mitsubishi trucks; and Hamafil.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    18 year old maniac goes on a shooting spree

    The Guardian reports on an 18 year old American high school student who went on a killing spree. The article doesn't state whether or not the weapons involved were obtained legally or not, it wouldn't be surprising however to discover that the weapons were legally owned:

    Authorities said a preliminary investigation indicated that Scott Moody, 18, had shot dead his mother and two grandparents, as well as a high school friend and a 14-year-old girl, at two neighbouring farmhouses near Bellefontaine, Ohio.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Depleted uranium bill introduced in US congress

    According to this report, from the Lone Star Iconoclast, a bill has been introduced in the US congress calling for scientific and medical evaluations of the US military's usage of depleted uranium in combat zones. The bill also calls for the cleaning up of sites which have been contaminated:

    “I’ve been concerned about DU since veterans of the first Gulf War began to experience unexplained illnesses, commonly called ‘Gulf War Syndrome’ that remain mysterious,” McDermott said. McDermott added that there are reports from Iraqi doctors and others today of seemingly unexplained serious illnesses including higher rates of cancer and leukemia, and even birth defects. “We pretended there was no problem with Agent Orange after Vietnam and later the Pentagon recanted, after untold suffering by veterans. I want to know scientifically if DU poses serious dangers to our soldiers and Iraqi civilians.”
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Monday, May 30, 2005

    "Liberated" Afghan women still face abuse

    Those Afghan women must be so thrilled that one theocracy has been replaced with another. Reuters reports:

    Women are raped, murdered and abused with impunity all over Afghanistan despite the overthrow of the Taliban that was supposed to have ushered in a new era of rights for women, Amnesty International said on Monday.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Rice says no to independent investigation of Guantanamo abuses

    The Philadelphia Inquirer has this article:

    She said an outside investigation of the facility at the U.S. naval base in Cuba was not necessary. "The United States is as open a society as you will find," she said, and the administration is being held accountable "by a free press, by a Congress that is a separate and coequal branch of government, and by its own expectations of what is right."
    But of course, she would say that an investigation was unnecessary wouldn't she. After all, being a part of a regime which condones torture and abuse, an independent investigation may uncover some truths which that so called "free press" Rice speaks of may not be willing to report. See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Fear of civil war spreads across Iraq

    You may remember, in Afghanistan, the US interfered in a civil war there, however, in Iraq, the US has created a civil war atmosphere. This report from the LA Times:

    "I'm worried 24 hours a day," said Zainab Hassan, a university student majoring in computer science. "Whenever I hear bomb or shooting, I call my mother and husband to check if they're OK. I can see a civil war coming, it's obvious. Everybody is talking about it. We have to be more careful." Iraqis such as Abu Mohammed, who sells books along the Tigris River, struggle to comprehend how the euphoria of January's election has withered so quickly. They find contradictions rather than answers. Life has become a vicious thrum, with boys clinging to courtyard walls and gun battles beneath the date palms appearing live on TV.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Brown slammed for "imperial nostalgia"

    The Telegraph has this report:

    While in Tanzania, Mr Brown said the "days of Britain having to apologise for its colonial history are over". Earlier, he had declared: "We should be proud … of the Empire." Mr Mbeki discovered the comments on the internet and then wrote a furious, 2,102-word missive for the latest issue of ANC Today, the newsletter of the ruling African National Congress. Mr Mbeki said that Africa was being "demonised" by an "age-old white stereotype that we as Africans are sexually depraved". The president then accused Mr Brown, "the presumed successor to Tony Blair", of peddling imperial nostalgia.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Iraqi anger at detentions without charges

    The Los Angeles Times reports:

    Mazin Farouq, a 35-year-old photo lab technician, was held for six months. Farouq was shot by U.S. soldiers as he and two friends drove home to Baghdad one November night last year after a vacation in Syria. He said they did not see a checkpoint but fled in panic when they heard shots hitting their car. Several soldiers drove up and searched them. Finding nothing, the soldiers immediately freed the two friends and took Farouq to nearby Abu Ghraib for treatment at its field hospital. He said he received excellent medical care and expected to be released. Instead, he was placed in detention. Two months later, he was transferred to Bucca. After making numerous calls and visits to the ministries of interior and human rights, Farouq's parents were finally told that his case would be reviewed in early May. Farouq was released May 9.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Thom Hartmann's interview with George Galloway

    Common Dreams has the transcript, an excerpt below:

    [George Galloway] Now, we are the only country in the whole world that privatized our Air Traffic Control space; even the United States did not do that. [Thom Hartmann] We're talking about it here. [George Galloway] Yes, you're talking about it. Mr. Blair was ahead of you. He was ahead of Mrs. Thatcher, who wouldn't have dreamt of any such reckless measure. And we've now handed over control of our Air Traffic Control space to people whose primary responsibility, who's very legal and fiduciary duty is to use their investment to make a profit for their shareholders. That's got to be legally their first priority; to make a profit for their shareholders. Now, just like an equally deadly privatization, though it doesn't sound like it, it might sound banal, when we privatized the cleaning services in hospitals, we immediately passed on to companies a duty not primarily to keep the hospitals clean, but primarily to make a profit for their shareholders. The result has been an explosion, a veritable explosion, in re-infection rates; so-called MRSA which is a kind of super bug mutant, which is actually killing 10,000 people a year in Britain. And there are many hospitals, including the one in my own constituency, miscalled the Royal London Hospital, though you'd never find a member of the royal family in it, I can assure you, where you're as likely to come out sick as you are to come out cured because of the state of the cleaning services in the hospitals. And that's directly linked to the privatization of that service.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Abuses at Guantanamo

    The Washington Post has this report:

    THE LATEST FBI documents detailing allegations of prisoner abuse at Guantanamo Bay are, like previous FBI documents, highly disturbing. They contain prisoners' descriptions of beatings, strippings and abuse of the Koran. Detainees variously claim the Muslim holy book has been thrown on the floor, thrown against a wall and, yes, flushed in a toilet. There are also references to these kinds of events having led to an "altercation" between detainees and guards.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    TUC says there should be a limit on the working week

    The Guardian today reports that the TUC has stated that there should be a limit to the working week, and that it really is not healthy for people to be working for a limitless amount of time over the week:

    But the TUC argues that evidence shows that those who regularly work more than about 48 hours per week are likely to suffer an increased risk of heart disease, stress related illness, mental illness, diabetes and bowel problems. They are also likely to drink and smoke more, and to adopt a poor diet.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Rock band censored by MTV

    MSNBC has this report:

    A Los Angeles Times review called the song “a warning against blind acceptance of authority, including that of a president leading his nation to war.” “We were set to perform ‘The Hand That Feeds’ with an unmolested, straightforward image of George W. Bush as the backdrop. Apparently, the image of our president is as offensive to MTV as it is to me,” Nine Inch Nails’ leader Trent Reznor said in a statement posted on the band’s Web site.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Blair says it's "time for reflection"

    According to this article, from the Guardian, in light of the French rejection of the EU constitution, Blair has apparently said that Europe needs to address a profound question about its future. Indeed:

    "What is important now is having a time for reflection with the Dutch referendum in a couple of days' time and the European council in the middle of June where the leaders will discuss the implications of the votes that have taken place, Mr Blair said.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Iranians want answers from Pakistan on nuclear programme comments

    According to this report, from Reuters, the Iranians aren't happy with comments which have been attributed to Pakistan's president Musharraf claiming that Iran wants to build nuclear weapons:

    Pakistani Foreign Ministry spokesman Jalil Abbas Jilani said Musharraf's remarks had been "incorrectly reported". He said Musharraf was asked whether Iran was anxious to develop an atomic bomb. He said Musharraf replied: "I don't know". "With this, this misunderstanding should come to an end," Jilani added.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Dutch prepare to say No to EU constitution

    The Dutch vote in their referendum on the EU constitution on Wednesday. The Independent reports:

    Weekend voter surveys showed the "no" camp well ahead although the gap between the two sides appears to be narrowing slightly. There were fears that the French "no" vote could kill off any lingering hopes of securing a "yes"
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Occupying, or pulling out?

    Bloomberg reports that Israel may occupy some Gaza cities during their planned pullout. Seems to be a slight contradiction there:

    ``Twelve years after withdrawing from Khan Yunis, we may have to re-enter it to secure the withdrawal from the settlements,'' Eiland said, referring to Gaza's biggest city, which Israel left during the Oslo peace process. Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon plans to pull out about 8,000 settlers from Gaza and more from four, small West Bank settlements to reduce friction with Palestinians and ease diplomatic pressure on Israel for more concessions. Settlers and their supporters have said they will resist the evacuation.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    US representative seeks answers on US/UK bombing raids

    The Raw Story reports that a US representative, John Conyers is writing to Rumsfeld to seek answers about a report about the increased bombing raids on Iraq by the RAF and the US Air Force prior to the illegal invasion of Iraq:

    Conyers' early draft, leaked to RAW STORY, raises a battery of questions surrounding the Administration's plans for the Iraq war. "If true, these assertions indicate that not only had our nation secretly and perhaps illegally agreed to go to war by the summer of 2002, but that we had gone on to take specific and tangible military actions before asking Congress or the United Nations for authority," the ranking Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee pens.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    A grass burning power station

    This seems like an interesting idea. From the Guardian:

    The £6.5m power station in Staffordshire will be burn locally cultivated elephant grass and will be able to supply 2,000 homes with electricity. Amanda Gray, director of Eccleshall Biomass, the company behind the power station, said the project was of major importance to rural industry in Staffordshire and offered another way to meet the UK's obligation to reduce carbon emissions, because burning the elephant grass will only release the carbon dioxide that the plants soaked up anyway while they were growing.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Myers claims torture chamber detainees treated humanely

    According to this article, from Yahoo, Richard Myers, the chairman of the American joint chiefs of staff has claimed that the US has treated all of its detainees humanely at its torture chambers. Quite obviously Myers is in denial, and/or a liar:

    "We struggle with how to handle them, but we've always handled them humanely and with the dignity that they should be accorded."
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Eurosceptic peer receives EU grant

    The Guardian today reports that a eurosceptic peer who believes that EU subsidies are a "vast swindle" has received EU grants to replant on his estate. Surely not a hypocrite:

    Lord Pearson of Rannoch, the independent Conservative peer who was expelled from the Tories by Michael Howard for backing the rival United Kingdom Independence Party, has tabled bills in the House of Lords demanding Britain's immediate withdrawal from the European Union.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    French reject the EU constitution

    The BBC reports on the French people's rejection of the EU constitution:

    Almost 55% of people voted "No", with 45% in favour, according to final interior ministry figures. The vote could deal a fatal blow to the EU constitution, which needs to be ratified by all 25 member states.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    AIPAC staffers to face indictment under the US espionage act

    According to this article, from Haaretz, 2 former members of staff for the powerful Israeli lobby in the US, the AIPAC, are facing indictments on espionage charges:

    A Virginia grand jury is now examining the evidence in the case, which involved receipt of classified defense information from Larry Franklin, a Pentagon official, and its transfer to the representative of a foreign country, Naor Gilon, of the Israeli embassy in Washington.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    On the official death toll in Iraq

    TBR News comments that the official US military death toll does not include those who have died either in German hospitals, or en route to Germany. And of course, we all know that during the Vietnam war, the true figures of US deaths did not emerge for some time:

    U.S. Military Personnel who died in German hospitals or en route to German hospitals have not previously been counted. They total about 6,210 as of 1 January, 2005. The ongoing, underreporting of the dead in Iraq, is not accurate. The DoD is deliberately reducing the figures. A review of many foreign news sites show that actual deaths are far higher than the newly reduced ones. Iraqi civilian casualties are never reported but International Red Cross, Red Crescent and UN figures indicate that as of 1 January 2005, the numbers are just under 100,000.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    London may win Olympics through alternative vote system

    Rather interesting that a form of the alternative vote system may be the reason behind London possibly winning the Olympics in 2012. The Independent has this article:

    It will be chosen on a variation of the "alternative vote", with the least popular bidders dropping out of the race one by one and their supporters choosing between the remaining candidates. The winner will be the city that finally gathers 50 per cent support among members of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) , who are meeting in Singapore on 6 July. The Government accepts that London is likely to come second to Paris in the first round of voting, but believes that it can pick up enough backing from supporters of the rival cities, New York, Madrid and Moscow, to come from behind to win.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Sunday, May 29, 2005

    Secret plans to improve Downing Street

    According to this article, from the Sydney Morning Herald, when Bush came to visit Britain in November 2003, he complained so much apparently that plans were drawn up to improve Downing Street, at a cost of £30 million. It would be far cheaper just to tell the rogue regime in Washington to get stuffed:

    Downing Street is not safe from a terrorist attack, prone to "sewage smells" and is an entirely unsuitable venue for the British Prime Minister to receive world leaders, according to a secret Whitehall report drawn up after complaints from President George Bush.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    David Frost ends time at "Breakfast" programme

    The Scotsman reports on the end of David Frost's time at the "Breakfast" programme. I can't say i'm particularly sad about that, politicians must have loved going onto that programme, he gave them all such an easy time of it:

    Prime Minister Tony Blair said: “David’s style of interviewing was often extremely deceptive, because – as I found to my cost on many occasions – although the question was always courteous, he nevertheless managed to get reams of information out of you. “It’s great to know that David’s going to go on and do other things, which I’m sure he’ll do brilliantly. Breakfast With Frost is going to be missed.” Baroness Thatcher hailed Frost as “a giant of his profession”, adding: “David practically invented the searching interview.”
    I bet Paxman won't be so missed by the politicians when his time is up on Newsnight. See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    US still struggling in Afghanistan

    From the Tucson Citizen: Three years later, U.S. still struggling in Afghanistan

    Officials remain upbeat about the pace of reconstruction and the chances for peace. A U.S. commander tells The Associated Press there will be a small reduction in the 16,700 American soldiers currently posted in Afghanistan by the summer. Yet the country is still wracked by kidnappings, execution-style killings, almost daily clashes with rebels and, this month, deadly anti-American protests. Concern is also growing over drug production that supplies nearly 90 percent of the world's heroin. "Afghanistan's security situation has deteriorated significantly in recent weeks," a Human Rights Watch statement warns. It says the United States must lead international efforts to quickly deploy extra troops to quell violence in remote parts of the country.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    12 civilians killed in Eastern Afghanistan

    According to this article, from Khaleej Times Online, 12 civilians were killed after apparently being shot at by unknown forces in Eastern Afghanistan:

    “Mohammed Faqir and his 11 friends and relatives were on their way home in Manogay district as their vehicle came under light arms fire by unknown armed men and they were all killed,” Wafa told AFP Saturday. “They were civilians and it is not known who was behind the attack, if it was enmity with the family or it was an attack by insurgents,” he added.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    10 Iraqi Shiites tortured and shot

    According to this article, from the BBC, the bodies of 10 Iraqis have been found, apparently, they had been tortured and shot, in an area where it is widely known the US were carrying out so called "counter insurgency" operations close to the Syrian border. The US has consistently claimed that so called "insurgents are entering Iraq from Syria:

    The murdered pilgrims had apparently been blindfolded, tied up and shot in the head, police said. The corpses bore marks of torture. In other violence, seven people died in two suicide bombings in the northern town of Sinjar, officials said. The dead Shia pilgrims are thought to be from southern Iraq. Iraqi officials said they believed the Shias were stopped as they were on their way back from visiting a religious shrine in Syria several days ago.
    The article does not make clear who stopped these 10 Iraqis. See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    45 Iraqis killed in 2 days

    Yahoo has this report:

    Meanwhile, Iraqi police and army units prepared to launch a crackdown Sunday in Baghdad that will include helping cordon off the city and erecting hundreds of checkpoints in and around the capital, according to defense and security officials. More than 40,000 Iraqi soldiers and policemen, supported by U.S. troops, will deploy to the new checkpoints and later begin street-to-street sweeps. They hope to catch or flush out the insurgents responsible for a wave of violence that has left more than 690 people dead since the country's new Shiite-led government was announced April 28, according to an Associated Press count.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Venezuelans demonstrate to demand extradition of terrorist

    The BBC reports that tens of thousands of people have demonstrated in Venezuela to demand that the US stop harbouring terrorists, and hand a terror suspect over to their authorities:

    The ex-CIA employee denies involvement in the bombing that killed 73 people on the flight from Caracas to Havana. The naturalised Venezuelan citizen is wanted by both Cuba and Venezuela in connection with the attack.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    US may expand "war on terror"

    According to this report, from the Washington Post, the US is considering expanding its so called "waron terror":

    President Bush's top adviser on terrorism, Frances Fragos Townsend, said in an interview that the review is needed to take into account the "ripple effect" from years of operations targeting al Qaeda leaders such as Khalid Sheik Mohammed, arrested for planning the Sept. 11 attacks, and his recently detained deputy. "Naturally, the enemy has adapted," she said. "As you capture a Khalid Sheik Mohammed, an Abu Faraj al-Libbi raises up. Nature abhors a vacuum."
    Then of course, there are those labelled as "terrorists" who are given demining contracts, and not targeted in the so called "war on terror". See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    US rejects Venezuelan extradition request for terrorist

    Remember the time immediately before Afghanistan was invaded? The Bush regime were stating that the taliban should hand over Bin Laden or face invasion, well, the US have apparently rejected a request by Venezuela to turn over a terrorist wanted there. Double standards by the US? Surely not!

    Posada, a foe of Cuban President Fidel Castro, is wanted by Venezuelan authorities for his alleged role in the bombing of a Cuban passenger plane in 1976 that killed 73 people. The United States and Venezuela have had a strained relationship recently, with disagreements including the U.S. war in Iraq and Venezuela's decision to buy Russian assault rifles. Earlier this month, Venezuela asked the United States to arrest Posada as an initial step toward his eventual extradition there. Days after the request was received, U.S. authorities detained Posada on their own and charged him with illegal entry into the United States.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Blair likely to dump EU vote

    If, as expected, the French people reject the EU constitution in their referendum today, then it will be very difficult for Blair to justify holding a similar vote in Britain. This report from the Guardian:

    The Prime Minister is braced for the future of Europe to be plunged into turmoil for 12 months amid arguments over the crucial treaty. Whitehall sources also said that they are ready for fierce clashes with the French government, expected to wreak revenge for their expected defeat by blocking British plans for the accession of Turkey and for economic liberalisation.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Bush regime wants powers to get customer information from ISPs

    According to this report, from SFGate, the Bush regime want to be able to get customer information whenever they request it from internet service providers.

    U.S. District Judge Victor Marrero of New York last year blocked the government from conducting secret searches of communications records, saying the law that authorized them wrongly barred legal challenges and imposed a gag order on affected businesses. The ruling came in a lawsuit by the American Civil Liberties Union and an Internet access firm that received a national security letter from the FBI demanding records. The identity of the firm remains secret.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Analysis finds id cards could cost £300 each

    Apparently, the true costs of Blair & Co's unnecessary and unwanted id card project could top £18 billion. Why don't they pump that money into things that are necessary and wanted, instead of this ridiculous scheme? I'm sure £18 billion could do something good for education and health. The Observer reports:

    The LSE believes the government has grossly underestimated the cost of the technology involved in making the system work. Last week the government estimated the biometric card readers needed to scan the cards would cost £250-£750. 'A more likely figure ... would be in the range of £3,000 to £4,000 per unit,' the report suggests. The report also raises doubts about whether the government is right to assume a 10-year life span for each card. 'All technical and scientific literature indicates that biometric certainty diminishes over time, and it is therefore likely that a biometric - particularly fingerprints and facial features - will have to be re-scanned at least every five years. This cost must be taken into account.'
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    US claims Guantanamo criticism is "exaggerated"

    According to this article, from the Houston Chronicle, a US army general has claimed that Amnesty International's criticism's of the Guantanamo torture chamber is both "exaggerated" and "uninformed":

    The London-based human rights group said the prison violates law through a practice of arbitrary and indefinite detention of men the Pentagon says are al-Qaida or Taliban members or sympathizers.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Full text of proposed EU constitution

    If you would like to read the proposed EU constitution, and I warn you, it could take some time, then please click here. See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Bombing raids before Iraq invasion were also illegal

    The Times reports that information has been obtained which states that the RAF and the US Air Force stepped up their bombing raids over Iraq prior to the illegal invasion of the country:

    The systematic targeting of Iraqi air defences appears to contradict Foreign Office legal guidance appended to the leaked briefing paper which said that the allied aircraft were only “entitled to use force in self-defence where such a use of force is a necessary and proportionate response to actual or imminent attack from Iraqi ground systems”.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    11 British soldiers face war crimes trial

    The Independent has this report:

    Army prosecutors and the Attorney General, Lord Goldsmith, are under intense legal and political pressure to investigate properly Mr Mousa's death, after the High Court ruled last December the UK had broken the Human Rights Act by failing to prevent his death or prosecute his alleged assailants quickly. The UK is facing a formal investigation by the International Criminal Court in The Hague over allegations that the UK broke international law in Iraq by using cluster bombs in urban areas and by attacking power stations. The ICC is also studying war crimes claims based on the Mousa case and the deaths of other Iraqi civilians.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Chain of prisoner abuse starts at the top

    Newsday notes that some research must have gone into what type of things offends Muslims the most:

    Ann Wright is now free to say what few dare: That no young military reservist could possibly have concocted the strategy of interrogating Muslim men by using religious humiliation and tactics of sexual degradation worthy of the Marquis de Sade.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    £900 road tax for gas guzzling cars

    According to this report, from today's Independent, it looks as though people who drive the most environmentally unfriendly cars could face huge road tax increases:

    The Government's influential energy conservation agency, the Energy Saving Trust (EST), has told ministers the only way to force motorists to buy "green" cars is to introduce a new top rate of road tax as high as £900 a year. The new tax - more than five times the current rate of £165 a year for petrol engines - would have a major impact, by catching many popular larger family cars such as the Vauxhall Sharan or Ford Galaxy people carriers. But at the same time, the agency has said, ministers should also make the most energy-efficient cars tax free or even give motorists a £150 annual tax rebate as a reward for buying them.
    A good idea for once. Those responsible for pollution should have to pay for it. Now, we need huge taxes on those oil companies, and other polluters. See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Iran says US and Israel are the real nuclear threats

    According to this report, from Reuters, the Iranian chief envoy to the UN has stated that the real nuclear threats to the world come from the US and Israel:

    Zarif dismissed as hollow U.S. pledges in 1995 and 2000 reaffirming its commitment to scrap its nuclear arsenal. "The U.S. never had any intention of living up to its commitments under Article 6 of the treaty," he said. In Article 6 of the NPT the five treaty signatories with nuclear weapons -- Russia, the United States, France, Britain and China -- agreed to eventually disarm.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    US and Britain give demining contracts to a "terrorist"

    According to this article, from today's Observer, a Serbian who is on a "terror list" has apparently been paid by both the US and Britain to clear mines:

    The Observer has established that his company was awarded at least seven de-mining contracts paid for by the Department for International Development (DFID) in London. Most of the money was for work around sensitive sites at Srebrenica. Most of these contracts ended in 2003. It is estimated that in all Kojic received some £300,000 of British taxpayers' money for his work. Kojic also won several demining contracts funded by the US and the World Bank
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Media quickly drops stories critical of the Bush regime

    Media Matters comments on the fact that when it comes to lying, and deceiving, the US media is very poor at fully reporting on the stories that matter:

    On matters ranging from the Harken stock sale to his National Guard record to the Downing Street Memo and nearly everything in between, Bush has escaped the level of media scrutiny one would expect after seeing how the media treated President Clinton. Some of that, as Neal noted, is a result of conservatives' highly effective use of their "echo chamber" to push back on negative stories. But not all of it; there was no "echo chamber" drowning out coverage of Bush's Harken sale during the 2000 campaign. Such an "echo chamber" was unnecessary: the Post and other leading news outlets chose to ignore the story all by themselves.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    The Second Most Polluting State In North America

    Canada. Fresh air? Green forests? Pristine lakes? Canada's most populated region also happens to be North America's second worst polluter. Ontario assumed the shameful position under the dismal Progressive Conservative government of Mike Harris and has retained it's position since. From the Canadian Environmental Law Association: New Report Provides More Pollution Bad News:Ontario one of top polluters, again…

    Toronto, Ontario – In Taking Stock, the annual review of North American pollution emissions, the Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC) confirms that over 3.25 million tonnes of chemicals were released and transferred in North America in 2002. This number is always an underestimate since the report only counts, for the most part, emissions from larger facilities...

    According to the CEC report, data for Ontario remains at alarming levels ranking second amongst states and provinces in North America in overall releases and transfers in 2002. Ontario continues a multi-year trend of being among the top-ranking jurisdictions for pollution emissions in North America...

    “The amount of pollution entering the North American environment is simply enormous. Ontario continues tobe a bad actor and Canada seriously lags behind the US in getting industrial lead emissions under control,”noted Paul Muldoon, Executive Director of the Canadian Environmental Law Association.

    Saturday, May 28, 2005

    Iran attacks US nuclear policies

    From Yahoo: Iran slams US nuclear policies at non-proliferation conference

    "It's no wonder the United States tried to create smokescreens at this conference to deflect attention from its abysmal record," said Zarif. He also gave a harsh warning about the United States' current nuclear weapons capacity and its considering developing new small nuclear weapons. "The extremist attitude reflected in these ... practices seems to indicate that no lessons have been learned from the nightmare of Hiroshima and Nagasaki," said Zarif. "If history is any guide, nuclear weapons, ladies and gentlemen, are in the most dangerous hands," the Iranian ambassador said.
    Indeed, I believe the US is the only nation to have actually used nuclear weapons in a conflict. See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Labour rebels seek block on id card bill

    In this country, we don't need, or want id cards. They are costly, unnecessary, the security is flawed, and we don't want foreign agencies having access to the database containing Britons' details. The FT reports that a group of around 30 Labour MPs are preparing for a rebellion on the bill. In theory, it would only need 34 of Blair's own MPs to vote against the legislation for it to be defeated. See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    US navy seal cleared of murder

    Another one is let off the hook for his crimes. Yahoo has this report:

    Ledford, who had stood at attention for the verdict's reading, burst into a huge smile and embraced his attorney upon hearing he was acquitted. He later brushed away tears and shook hands with the prosecutors. "I think that's what makes this country great is that there is a system in place and it works," he said outside court.
    Of course he believes that the system works, he got away with murder. See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Thousands take part in Nepal protests

    From the BBC: Thousands march in Nepal protest

    Protesters at Friday's rally shouted "Down with autocracy" and "Long live democracy" as they marched through a district on the capital's outskirts. Most sat cross-legged in a sea of party flags to hear political leaders speak, while some clambered up buildings for a better view, said the BBC's Charles Haviland from the scene.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Iraqi bombers express surprise their car bomb attacked innocent Iraqis

    According to this article from Yahoo, 3 brothers who were part of the Iraqi resistance, and were offered $1500 for a bombing say that their ambition was to target American troops in Iraq, not innocent Iraqi civilians, and were surprised that their car bomb had indeed targeted civilians:

    "Our doctrine is to wage jihad against the Americans," Younis, wearing a stained beige traditional robe, told an Associated Press reporter as police stood over him. "Driving out the occupiers is the demand of all Iraqis... I wish to die in the battlefield instead of prison."
    Why would people who wanted to kill American troops attack Iraqis instead? If these mens' aims were to target the occupation forces, then attacking a restaurant filled with Iraqi civilians does not make sense. See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Bush claims to be winning the "war on terror"

    According to this article, from the Herald Sun, Bush has apparently claimed that the so called "war on terror" is being won. I wonder how Bush would clarify "winning" a war against an idealogy:

    "Since September the 11th, 2001, we've removed brutal regimes in Kabul and Baghdad that supported and harboured terrorists. We helped launch Afghanistan and Iraq on the path to lasting freedom by liberating over 50 million people.
    Of course, we all know that Hussein's regime did not support and harbour terrorists, although the rogue regime in Washington continue to perpetuate the myth. See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    US to expand military and oil interests in Africa

    The Taipei Times has this report:

    Morrison, of the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said the US now appears to have created a "counterterrorism bookend" to its strategy in east Africa, which has seen a spate of terror attacks, including the 1998 bombings of the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania blamed on al-Qaeda. Notable among the new entries is Nigeria -- Africa's most-populous nation of 130 million, the continent's biggest petroleum producer and source of one-fifth of all American oil imports.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Will the world ever know the truth about Fallujah?

    From Tanosborn Online: Will the world ever learn the truth about Fallujah?

    Did scores of Fallujans die, or was the number in the hundreds… or perhaps as many as 2,000 as some claim? Of its 350,000 population… were there only 8,500 remaining at the time Americans entered the city, or was the number closer to 25,000? And, after the Americans gained control over the Insurgency… how many Fallujans returned: 50,000; 100,000; 150,000 perhaps? And of those, how many stayed? Was the level of physical destruction to the buildings and infrastructure 25%, 50%, or was it as much as 80%? Is the price tag for all the destruction, even without accounting for the human component, $1-2-3 billion; or, as some claim, closer to $5 billion? Will the slant of the pen, depending on who is writing, be challenged soon… or is the truth buried in battle, never to surface but misrepresented by those with special interests?
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Over 28,000 people back electoral reform campaign

    From the Independent: Campaign for Democracy: 28,425 responses ... and still counting

    The momentum for incorporating proportional representation into the electoral system is growing. The practicality of PR has been proved in the election of UK members of the European Parliament and the additional member systems in the Scottish and Welsh Assemblies. The case is strong, so what we need is pressure on the Prime Minister to force his hand.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    City academy branded a failure

    The Guardian has this report:

    Unity academy in Middlesbrough required "special measures" after Ofsted, the Office for Standards in Education, found it was failing to give "an acceptable standard of education". Inspectors described a catalogue of weaknesses ranging from "fragile" leadership, an inappropriate futuristic building and a staff absence rate so high that on any given day up to a third of teachers did not turn up.
    Blair & Co are planning more of these academies, which many in the teaching profession are opposed to. See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Cherie Blair forgets her passport and gets it picked up by the police

    The Guardian reports today that the police were used to ferry a passport to Heathrow airport for Cherie Blair, when she discovered she'd forgotten it:

    Richard Barnes told the paper: "The fact that the Prime Minister's wife has mislaid her passport does not constitute an emergency. "It appears the Metropolitan Police is now providing a private service to the Labour Party."
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    G8 climate change draft doen't include any timetable or targets

    According to this article, from the Guardian today, the draft document on climate change which has been prepared for the G8 meeting doesn't include any proposals for a timetable for action, or indeed any targets:

    But the 2,000-word text for the July 6 summit at Gleneagles was denounced yesterday by environmental groups for lacking substance. It was described by Greenpeace as "a mush of warm words carefully crafted by civil servants to make sure no one is committed to anything".
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    US torture and abuse is widespread, systematic and sanctioned

    The Japan Times reports: Stop the torture and abuse

    Recently, The New York Times has reported on a U.S. Army file that details widespread abuse in Afghanistan. According to the paper, "The file depicts young, poorly trained soldiers in repeated incidents of abuse." In some cases, the abuse "was directed or carried out by interrogators to extract information." At least eight Afghans have died in U.S. custody. Two deaths were highlighted in the army file, but it also includes reports of torture, beatings and humiliation. Other documents obtained and released by the American Civil Liberties Union show that such abuse occurs throughout U.S. detention facilities worldwide.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    American reporter needs help understanding why the world hates Bush

    Apparently, an MSNBC reporter just cannot understand why on earth the Bush regime is viewed as a rogue regime in the rest of the world. Perhaps readers here would like to email her and explain some facts, as I will be doing after I have finished updating this blog. Her email address is MCrowley@MSNBC.com. See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    US not doing enough to tackle climate change

    From the Guardian: US told to face up to climate change

    Margaret Beckett today urges the Bush administration to accept that the "incontrovertible" weight of scientific evidence on the dangers of global warming is stimulating an urgent worldwide dialogue that the US must seriously engage with - or risk being left out.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Judge says public has a right to see abuse photos

    The Washington Post has this report:

    ACLU lawyer Megan Lewis told the judge she believes the government has pictures of abuse beyond the Abu Ghraib images that sparked outrage around the world after they were leaked to the media last year. Some of the thousands of pages of documents the government has released to the ACLU seem to refer to such images, and the government has not denied that additional photos exist, she said.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Clare Short to introduce bill banning use of British troops without MPs vote

    From the Guardian: Short wants vote on sending troops to war

    The chancellor, Gordon Brown, has supported such a measure, but Downing Street is opposed, arguing that a prime minister needs the flexibility to send forces into combat at very short notice. Ms Short came third in the annual ballot of MPs to introduce private members' bills. She chose to adopt a bill being sponsored by the pressure group Charter 88.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Protesters interrupt Condoleeza Rice speech

    Good for them. From Reuters: Rice interrupted by enactment of Abu Ghraib abuse

    Amid tight security at San Francisco's Davies Symphony Hall, three women and one man pulled on black hoods and cloaks and stood on their seats, acting out the scene caught in one of the photographs of abuse that undermined U.S. prestige abroad.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Burning crosses in America

    The Independent reports: Burning crosses signal return of Ku Klux Klan

    "You've got a lot of Klan presence in North Carolina - always have," said Mr Roy. "Something may have touched them off." In recent weeks there have been other reports of KKK leaflets being distributed across the South. In Philadelphia, Mississippi, where in two weeks the trial is due to start of an 80-year-old former Klan member accused of organising the 1964 killing of three civil rights workers, leaflets apparently printed by the KKK were discovered two weeks ago.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Galloway receives thousands of messages of support

    Following Galloway's testimony at the US senate, it appears he's been flooded with messages of support. This article from the BBC:

    Speaking to reporters at the Preem and Priphi restaurant in Brick Lane, east London, he said: "I never considered my name needed clearing. I've had 15,000 e-mails which has got to be some kind of parliamentary record. "My office is an inch deep in unopened envelopes. My phone has been ringing off the hook. "My appearance at the Senate has been a bit of a transformation of the situation. As Oscar Wilde said 'sometimes the most bitter trials turn out to be blessings in disguise'."
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Friday, May 27, 2005

    US troops kill Iraqi child

    ABC News has this report:

    Iraqi civilians often complain that US forces open fire indiscriminately when attacked, leading to innocent people being caught up in the crossfire. The US military says it takes all precautions possible to ensure innocents are not killed. Al Qaeda has reportedly denied it uses human shields. "They accuse our mujahedeen (holy warriors) of using human shields. But you are deceiving yourselves, worshippers of the cross... Wasn't it the Americans who used women and children as shields in Fallujah?" said a recent statement, whose authenticity could not be verified, according to AFP. During the war that overthrew Saddam Hussein, US forces said Iraqi fighters frequently used women and children as human shields, but it was never possible to independently verify the reports. Human rights groups have criticised the US military for not being restrained enough in its use of force, particularly at checkpoints when vehicles sometimes approach at speed and US soldiers, fearing a car bomb attack, open fire.
    American troops are indeed well known to be somewhat trigger happy. See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Iraq emerging as a transit point for narcotics

    MichNews.com has this report:

    An independent United Nations body monitoring global drug proliferation today expressed concern that Iraq was emerging as a transit point for narcotics originating in Afghanistan and on their way to Asia and Europe.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    US sergeant shows no remorse for murdering an unarmed Iraqi

    The sergeant apparently claimed that, although the Iraqi was unarmed he doesn't regret murdering the man, he claimed to save a fellow soldier. How could an unarmed Iraqi have matched the capabilities of US troops armed, and sometimes capable of shooting at anything that moves? Earth Link has this report:

    After shooting Ismail, Werst said he quickly fired the Iraqi's pistol into a couch and told the other soldier, Pfc. Nathan Stewart, to put the man's fingerprints on it. Werst said he was scared afterward because he had never shot anyone before, and that Stewart also was "freaking out." He said he should not have tried to make the shooting look like self-defense. "It was wrong. I have no idea why I did that," Werst said.
    Of course not. See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Most Americans see Iraq going badly

    Angus Reid has the details:

    Many adults in the United States believe the coalition effort in Iraq is proceeding ineffectively, according to a poll by CBS News. 57 per cent of respondents believe things are going badly for the U.S. in its efforts to bring stability and order to Iraq, a 10 per cent increase since February.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    America wants access to British id database

    If there weren't already good enough reasons to oppose the introduction of id cards in Britain, such as having to pay £100 for the privelage of carrying around something you don't need or want, or the flawed security of the planned system, then here's another one, from the Independent:

    The aim of getting the same microchip is to ensure compatability in screening terrorist suspects. But it will also mean that information contained in the British cards can be accessed across the Atlantic. Michael Chertoff, the newly appointed US Secretary for Homeland Security, has already had talks with the Home Secretary, Charles Clarke, and the Transport Secretary, Alistair Darling, to discuss the matter.
    Now, a question to all those who believe the threat to British sovereignty comes more from Europe than the US, I take it you don't object to a foreign government being able to access all of your details? Because i'm sure whichever government is in power when these id cards are introduced, they won't say no to America. See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Amnesty says Bush regime should face torture probes

    According to this article, from Yahoo, Amnesty International has called on foreign governments to investigate, and prosecute Bush regime officials for their complicity in torture and abuse:

    ''If the U.S. government continues to shirk its responsibility, Amnesty International calls on foreign governments to uphold their obligations under international law by investigating all senior U.S. officials involved in the torture scandal,'' Schulz said. ''If those investigations support prosecution, the governments should arrest any official who enters their territory and begin legal proceedings against them,'' he added. ''The apparent high-level architects of torture should think twice before planning their next vacation to places like Acapulco or the French Riviera because they may find themselves under arrest as Augusto Pinochet famously did in London in 1998.''
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Electrician charged with 29 counts of murder

    From the Guardian: Electrician charged with 29 murders in Omagh bombing

    Sean Hoey, 35, from Jonesborough, is the first person to be charged with murder over the Real IRA bombing in 1998, which killed 29 people in the biggest atrocity of Northern Ireland's Troubles. In a 10-minute hearing at Craigavon magistrates court, Mr Hoey was also charged with 23 explosives offences and conspiring to murder members of the security forces.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Britain sexes up aid figures

    According to this article, from the Guardian, Britain sexes up the amount of "real aid" which is offered to developing countries:

    The organisation's report said only 10 cents of every dollar of US aid was "real" aid. The UK, with 71% "real" aid, was the G7's best performer. But Luxembourg, Norway and Denmark, none of them G7 members, give far more aid relative to their wealth, and a high proportion of it - 81% in Luxembourg's case - was "real".
    Apparently, Britain spends far too much on "expensive consultants" and "administration". See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    America's broken nuclear promises endager all of us

    Robin Cook writing in the Guardian offers his opinion on the Bush regimes stance on nuclear proliferation:

    If the review conference breaks up in failure to agree, I suspect there will be some in Washington celebrating tonight, perhaps not in anything as foreign as French champagne but in the Napa Valley imitation. Within their own narrow terms they will have succeeded. They will have stopped another multilateral agreement and will have escaped criticism for not fulfilling their commitments under the last one. But in the process they will have weakened the non-proliferation regime and made the world a more dangerous place. The next time they lecture us on their worries about weapons of mass destruction, they do not deserve to be taken seriously.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Iran states (again) it's not seeking nuclear weapons

    Yahoo has this report:

    After the meeting, Straw said Iran had "reaffirmed its commitment not to seek to develop nuclear weapons. The freeze of the enrichment program will continue until an agreement is reached."
    ......
    German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer said the Europeans never had to resort to threats. "I'm happy that it didn't come to that," he said, noting "we are still searching for an agreement to bridge the differences."
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Police support officer arrested over car checks for BNP activists

    According to this article, from the Guardian, a community support officer has been arrested following allegations that he carried out checks on car registrations for right wing extremist activists from the BNP:

    The move followed the handing over of a dossier by the Yorkshire Post newspaper which also suggested that Mr Matthews was asked for information about criminal proceedings being taken against leading members of the rightwing group.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Reports: 20 Saddam Hussein regime officials may be released

    According to this article, from Knight Ridder, there are reports that up to 20 former Hussein regime officials may be released from custody, including 3 from that so called "most wanted" deck of cards:

    Lt. Col. Guy Rudisill, spokesman for U.S. detention operations in Iraq, acknowledged that the talks are under way, but refused to offer any details. "The Iraqi government has not yet decided regarding the issue of the 20 detainees," said Falah Moussa, a spokesman for Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari. But Bisho Ibrahim, the deputy justice minister, said in an interview at his office in Baghdad that the Justice Ministry already was planning for the release. "Two days ago, we had a meeting with the Americans at the Justice Ministry, and the Americans said they're just waiting for the final approval from the Iraqi government to release these 20," Ibrahim said.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    British military Land Rovers used in Uzbekistan massacre

    The issue will apparently be raised in parliament, the Guardian has this report:

    Oxfam said yesterday that photographs analysed by the Control Arms Campaign, a group pressing for stricter controls, show that British military Land Rovers were used by government troops in Andijan on the day they massacred up to 500 men, women, and children. The government classifies these Land Rovers, which are armour-plated and can be fitted with machine-gun hatches, as military vehicles. The Foreign Office told the Guardian earlier this month that only one had been exported to Uzbekistan and that was for a private company to transport gold bullion. One possibility is that the Land Rovers were exported from Turkey where a company, Otokar, assembles them under licence.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Malaysia's founding father savages Bush and Blair

    The Guardian has this report:

    "The US war on terror is a way of terrorising people. If you are an Iraqi and you are expecting to be bombed, aren't you terrified? If you have done nothing, if you are an innocent Iraqi citizen and you are expecting any time a rocket to fly in and blow you to pieces, aren't you terrified? "That is terror [and] the US is as guilty of terrorism as the people who crashed their planes into the buildings ... Bush doesn't understand the rest of the world. He thinks everybody should be a neocon like him."
    He also took aim at the powerful Israeli lobby in the US, and stated that the only way to beat terrorism is to go after the causes of terrorism. This echoes something the former head of Britain's MI6 stated some time ago. See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    US helicopter crashes under fire

    From USA Today: Military: U.S. copter crashes after coming under fire

    An announcement said that two Task Force Liberty helicopters were hit by ground fire while conducting operations in support of coalition forces near Baqouba, about 35 miles northeast of Baghdad. It said one, an OH-58 Kiowa, landed safely at nearby base after sustaining damage. The other crashed and the "status of the aircrew is unknown at this time."
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    US house votes against Iraq withdrawal plan

    From Antiwar.com: House Kills First Vote on Iraq Withdrawal

    The House of Representatives voted down a measure, by a 128 to 300 vote, that called on President Bush to devise a plan for a withdrawal from Iraq. It came in the form of an amendment to the $491 billion budget for the Pentagon that was passed on Wednesday night.
    Apparently, 5 Republicans even voted in favour of the ammendment. See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Lebanon smashes Israeli spy ring

    According to this article, from the BBC, Lebanese forces have broken up an Israeli spy ring:

    Safir newspaper says an Egyptian man living in Beirut has also been arrested, along with a lover of Ms Zaarura's who she had unsuccessfully tried to bring into the ring. She reportedly confessed that Mr Nasrallah was to be targeted with high explosives and poisonous chemicals installed in a tracksuit that would be slipped to his wardrobe.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Greens win Norfolk seat

    The Guardian reports: Shock poll win for greens

    The Green party triumphed in the final Norfolk County council election result. Its candidate, Christopher Hull, took Town Close division, dealing a blow to both Labour and the Liberal Democrats who ran the home secretary, Charles Clarke, close in the corresponding Norwich South parliamentary constituency.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Bush family and friends paid oil for food kickbacks to Saddam Hussein

    Global research has this report:

    At the same time Enron Chairman Kenneth ("Kenny Boy") Lay was involved in Vice President Dick Cheney's Energy Task Force secret dealings and when he was stuffing hundreds of thousands of dollars into the pockets of George W. Bush and Cheney's political campaign, he also managed to illegally stick $206, 757 into the pockets of Saddam Hussein and his cohorts. The Iraqi Oil-for-Food scandal also involves one of the Bush children—Dorothy "Doro" Bush Koch, sister of George W. Bush and married to Bobby Koch, reportedly a cousin in the oil industry Koch family, the owner of Koch Industries, which is also one of Bush's largest political donors. The minority committee report indicates that Koch Industries was also a major recipient of illegal Iraqi oil and a huge source of kickbacks to Saddam Hussein
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Another minister supports electoral reform

    From the Independent:

    Speaking for the Government in a debate on the electoral system, Baroness Ashton of Upholland, a Constitutional Affairs minister, appeared to suggest she was in favour of replacing the current first-past-the-post system with the Alternative Vote system (AV). "I have seen AV operating in Australia and I think personally it is a very interesting approach," she said. Lady Ashton said the AV system, which allows voters to mark their preferences of candidates rather than ticking a single box, was a system that "people can understand".
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Judge dismisses case calling for paper trail on touch screen voting machines

    This article from AP:

    The state will not be forced to create a paper record in case of tight races on touch-screen voting machines, a judge ruled Monday in upholding an emergency rule setting standards for electronic voting recounts.
    Apparently, the judge thought that the touch screen machines already provided ample safeguards. See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    BBC strike called off

    The Guardian reports:

    Leaders of Bectu, the National Union of Journalists, and Amicus said the BBC made a revised offer which involved "significant movement" on the threat of compulsory redundancies and on the outsourcing of jobs. The new offer will be put to a meeting of workers next Tuesday, but without any recommendation from the unions.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Newsday reporter says rogue elements in the Bush regime complicit in "911"

    According to this piece, a Newsday reporter has apparently stated that:

    "....he and his colleagues have received information that a significant number of agents in the FBI, CIA, and other intelligence services are talking about the complicity of rogue elements within the US government in the 9/11 attacks. He is pulling together information to write an article about officials within government who do not believe the government's official story."
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Long-term joblessness on the rise in U.S.

    From the Economic Policy Institute: LONG-TERM JOBLESSNESS GROWS DESPITE LOWER UNEMPLOYMENT RATES

    Three and a half years into this recovery, one in five unemployed Americans has been out of work for six months or more – marking the first time ever that so many jobless have been out of work for so long while the unemployment rate is relatively low and falling, according to a report from the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) and the National Employment Law Project (NELP).

    [T]his current trend of long-term joblessness – where people have been out of work 27 or more weeks –is not only worse than previous economic cycles, but more widespread among American families...

    ...

    The share of long-term unemployed reached 20% in October 2002—11 months into recovery. But that share has stayed above 20% ever since—31 consecutive months and still counting—creating an unprecedented streak even when the unemployment rate varied between 5.2% and 6.3%, relatively low figures that belie the labor market’s persistent weakness. In comparison, the share of long-term unemployed averaged just 12.3% for all months since January 1948 with similar unemployment levels.

    A reminder of the First Amendment for Judge Cale J. Bradford

    Seems Judge Bradford is restricting freedom of religion in Marion County, Indiana. From the Indystar:

    An Indianapolis father is appealing a Marion County judge's unusual order that prohibits him and his ex-wife from exposing their child to "non-mainstream religious beliefs and rituals."

    The parents practice Wicca, a contemporary pagan religion that emphasizes a balance in nature and reverence for the earth.

    Cale J. Bradford, chief judge of the Marion Superior Court, kept the unusual provision in the couple's divorce decree last year over their fierce objections, court records show. The order does not define a mainstream religion.

    If that weren't enough, Wicca is "mainstream" enough to be recognised by the U.S. miitary:

    Even the U.S. military accommodates Wiccans and educates chaplains about their beliefs, said Lawrence W. Snyder, an associate professor of religious studies at Western Kentucky University.

    A reminder for Judge Bradford: there is a document called the Constitution of the United States of America, and one doesn't even have to read the whole way through before one finds the following:
    Amendment I of the Constitution of the United States of America Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

    It's all good.

    Would-be politicians take note. This is how to frame and answer:

    Question: “Mr. President, as you know, the casualties of Iraq is again high today – 50 more people dying. Do you think that insurgence is getting harder now to defeat militarily? Thank you.”

    President Bush: “No, I don’t think so. I think they’re being defeated. And that’s why they continue to fight.” [Bush, 5/23/05]

    But wait. If they're are being defeated, the number of attacks will necessarily decrease towards the end. But when the number of attacks is low because of their defeat, the resistance will therefore be strong again, according to Bush's logic. I feel dizzy.

    Thursday, May 26, 2005

    Over 24,000 back Independent campaign for fairer voting

    And yet Blair & Co continue to fail to listen to the people who Blair promised to listen to. From the Independent. You can sign the online petition for fairer voting by clicking here. See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    £100 for an id card

    The Guardian reports that spiralling costs for the planned introduction of id cards in Britain could mean people have to pay £100 for one of these cards. This is an absolute disgrace, why on earth should we have to pay anything for a scheme that is absolutely unnecessary, and which many of us don't want?

    Ministers said the £93 figure was only an estimate of the "unit cost" of the combined passport/ID card to be phased in from 2008. But since it does not include the start-up costs or cross-subsidies of free ID cards for pensioners and the poor, it is likely to top £100 by the time the scheme gets under way. It currently costs £42 to renew a 10-year passport.
    No to id cards. This is a money making scam, and it's a disgrace. See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Iraqis forced at gunpoint to be car bombers

    According to this article, from CNN, the voluntary nature of car bombers in Iraq has been brought into question, following reports that drivers were unaware that their vehicles contained explosives. As you will see from the position of the following quote from the article, this particular revelation has not exactly been highlighted:

    In one recent car bombing investigators found a foot duct-taped to the accelerator pedal. Intelligence suggests some drivers were unaware their cars were loaded with explosives when they were remotely detonated. The military also theorizes some drivers have been forced at gunpoint into car bombings or that the drivers' families have been threatened with kidnapping.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Torture In America's prison system

    The Global research site has this disturbing report on the sadistic rituals inside America's own prison system:

    The prison guards stand over their captives with electric cattle prods, stun guns, and dogs. Many of the prisoners have been ordered to strip naked. The guards are yelling abuse at them, ordering them to lie on the ground and crawl. ‘Crawl, motherf*****s, crawl.’ If a prisoner doesn’t drop to the ground fast enough, a guard kicks him or stamps on his back. There’s a high-pitched scream from one man as a dog clamps its teeth onto his lower leg.
    ......
    Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo – or even Texas. The prisoners and all guards may vary, but the abuse is still too familiar. And much is it is taking place in America’s own backyard.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    China rejects US demands for currency devaluation

    Why on earth should any country have to devalue its currency purely on the say so of another country? If the country making the demands is in a financial mess of its own making, then it has no right telling other countries what to do. This article from MSN:

    "China will not do this when internal conditions are not ripe, no matter how great the external pressure is," said the spokesman, Kong Quan. China has long said it will dump the decade-old peg to the US dollar in favour of a more flexible exchange rate system, but it has not commented on the timing of such a move. Ha Jiming, chief economist at China International Capital Corporation, the country's largest investment bank, said that, although the timing was right for a change in currency policy, 10 per cent was too large a move at the beginning.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Experts say id scheme security is flawed

    According to this article, from the Guardian today, security experts have stated that Blair & Cos plans for id cards are not as secure as ministers have liked to make out:

    Recent hi-tech frauds, such as the attempted £220m hacking raid on the London branch of the Japanese bank Sumitomo Mitsui last November, have relied on insiders. In the case of Sumitomo, police investigators have indicated that the bank's cleaners were the weak link, but for ID cards it could be one of the thousands of office workers who will be required to help administrate the vast £5bn system. It is not unknown for organised crime to train "sleeper" operatives, who are placed inside organisations with the intention of committing criminal acts months or even years later. If such agents were operating from within the national ID database, they could potentially rewrite important personal information, or replace one set of biometric data with another, opening the door to fraudsters and gangs.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Rape rooms and torture chambers

    Slate has this useful chronology:

    "Iraq is free of rape rooms and torture chambers."—President Bush, remarks to 2003 Republican National Committee Presidential Gala.
    ......
    "A fifty-three-page report, obtained by The New Yorker, written by Major General Antonio M. Taguba … listed some of the wrongdoing: 'Breaking chemical lights and pouring the phosphoric liquid on detainees; pouring cold water on naked detainees; beating detainees with a broom handle and a chair; threatening male detainees with rape; allowing a military police guard to stitch the wound of a detainee who was injured after being slammed against the wall in his cell; sodomizing a detainee with a chemical light and perhaps a broom stick, and using military working dogs to frighten and intimidate detainees with threats of attack, and in one instance actually biting a detainee.' "—Seymour M. Hersh, "Torture at Abu Ghraib," The New Yorker, posted April 30, 2004
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Rumsfeld laments the media

    It's hardly surprising that Rumsfeld doesn't like the idea of a free press, like other members of the Bush regime, they obviously prefer the idea of sending the media their prepared propaganda which can then be spoon fed to the masses:

    One of the military's new wartime challenges is dealing with global media that can instantly spread around the world information that may be false or damaging to U.S. interests, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said Wednesday.
    Rumsfeld, as the article states was quite angry about the Newsweek report about Koran desecration, however, it is now widely known that they checked with the Pentagon prior to publishing the report, and the Pentagon did not deny the report. Additionally, there have been numerous reports which back that report up. See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    US world leaders in attacking human rights

    According to this article, from Reuters, although the US aren't the worst human rights abusers in the world, the rogue regime in Washington, by their actions have set the tone which other countries seem quite willing to follow:

    From Afghanistan to Zimbabwe the picture is bleak. Governments are increasingly rolling back the rule of law, taking their cue from the U.S.-led war on terror, it said. "The USA as the unrivalled political, military and economic hyper-power sets the tone for governmental behaviour worldwide," Secretary General Irene Khan said in the foreword to Amnesty International's 2005 annual report. "When the most powerful country in the world thumbs its nose at the rule of law and human rights, it grants a licence to others to commit abuse with impunity," she said.
    The Bush regime and their supporters must be so proud at what they've managed to "achieve". See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    EU president says french "non" would be a disaster

    The Guardian has this report:

    "If there is a 'no' on Sunday in France, that would be a catastrophe for France, for [French president Jacques] Chirac and for the entire world," Mr Juncker, who holds the EU's rotating presidency until July 1, said in an interview with Belgian daily Le Soir. "Imagine if you are head of a business in Texas or unionist in Bolivia or head of a business in Shanghai and see Europe like that ... saying 'no'," he added. "International observers will not know where Europe is going."
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Guantanamo the "gulag of our time"

    ABC News has this report:

    Amnesty International branded the U.S. prison camp at Guantanamo Bay a human rights failure Wednesday, calling it "the gulag of our time" as it released a report that offers stinging criticism of the United States and its detention centers around the world.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Amnesty attacks Israeli war crimes

    The BBC reports: Amnesty slams Israel 'war crimes'

    The rights group's report for 2004 says Israeli forces have killed some 700 Palestinians - including 150 children - mostly in unlawful circumstances. The report lists "reckless shooting, shelling and air strikes in civilian areas... and excessive use of force". It also condemns the killing of Israeli civilians by Palestinian militants and violence by Jewish settlers.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Labour MPs urge "conviction politics"

    The Guardian has this report:

    "It's not apathy which is turning people away from Labour but anger," said the minister for work, Margaret Hodge. "They are cross because they think we're not listening to them, or responding to them." She claimed that many Labour voters, angry at the slow pace of change, had put Labour in the last chance saloon. At the meeting on Tuesday night, organised by Progress magazine, she also called for Labour to take a firmer stand against the Conservatives on immigration.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Fox News viewer figures slump

    According to this report, posted at the Portland Indymedia website, Fox News viewing figures have taken something of a beating:

    Since the election, viewership in the coveted 25-54 age bracket of Fox News has fallen from over 1,000,000 in October to under 450,000 in April, according to a CNN press release.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Blair has failed the electorate on vote reform

    The Lib Dem leader, Charles Kennedy writes an open letter to Blair in the Independent:

    When you were in opposition, you actively courted my predecessor Paddy Ashdown with promises about reform of the voting system and a switch to proportional representation. In government, you set up a commission under the late Roy Jenkins - then refused to implement its findings. You set up a Joint Consultative Committee, which continued until it became clear that there was to be no serious movement on the matter of fair votes.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Is the US behind some of the car bombings in Iraq?

    This article, from Uruknet certainly makes some interesting observations: On May 13, 2005, a 64 years old Iraqi farmer, Haj Haidar Abu Sijjad, took his tomato load in his pickup truck from Hilla to Baghdad, accompanied by Ali, his 11 years old grandson. They were stopped at an American check point and were asked to dismount. An American soldier climbed on the back of the pickup truck, followed by another a few minutes later, and thoroughly inspected the tomato filled plastic containers for about 10 minutes. Haj Haidar and his grandson were then allowed to proceed to Baghdad. A minute later, his grandson told him that he saw one of the American soldiers putting a grey melon size object in the back among the tomato containers. The Haj immediately slammed on the brakes and stopped the car at the side of the road, at a relatively far distance from the check point. He found a time bomb with the clock ticking tucked among his tomatoes. He immediately recognized it, as he was an ex-army soldier. Panicking, he grabbed his grandson and ran away from the car. Then, realizing that the car was his only means of work, he went back, took the bomb and carried it in fear. He threw it in a deep ditch by the side of the road that was dug by Iraqi soldiers in preparation for the war, two years ago. See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Doctors Without Borders on the new Indian Patent Law

    From Medecins Sans Frontieres: MSF Statement On the New Indian Patent Bill

    March 23, 2005 - The Indian Parliament has passed a new law to become compliant with the World Trade Organization (WTO)'s Agreement on Trade-related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights. Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is deeply concerned that the new law will result in people in the developing world being cut off from the vital source of affordable generic versions of essential medicines produced in India.

    To date, the supply of affordable medicines from India has only been possible because Indian law previously had no product patent constraints. This has been particularly important for the antiretroviral (ARV) medicines for the treatment of HIV. Of the 700,000 people estimated to be on ARV treatment in developing countries, approximately 50% rely on Indian generic production.

    The new law makes it easy for multinational pharmaceutical companies to get patents granted, while making it difficult for generic companies to get compulsory licenses to override patents when necessary for public health or other reasons. Although a "worst-case scenario" was averted in the passage of this law due to widespread civil society pressure within India and around the world - for example, generic medicines already on the market in India will still be able to be produced, even if patents are granted, although generic producers will be required to pay licensing fees to the patent owner - the law is deeply worrying for all new drugs that will be subject to patentability in India in the future...