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  • Thursday, June 30, 2005

    Britain trained Uzbek troops weeks before massacre

    This is an absolute disgrace. Blair & Co should hang their heads in shame, we should have no part in the training of troops under the control of such a brutal regime. From today's Guardian:

    The training was part of a larger programme funded by Britain despite concerns expressed by the Foreign Office at the time over the Uzbekistan government's human rights record. A group of Uzbek military cadets were given a "coaching course" in marksmanship by British soldiers in February and March this year.
    Ask your MP to raise this issue in parliament if you are also concerned about this. There is a link on the sidebar here to contact your MP. See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    District Attorney claims police officer justified in shooting 15 year old boy

    According to this article, from KEZI, a district attorney has claimed that a police officer was justified in shooting dead an unarmed 15 year old boy who had stolen a car, no doubt that district attorney is a so called "pro lifer" as well:

    Jason Porter, a Thurston High School sophomore, was struck in the jaw as he sat behind the wheel of a pickup that was reported stolen. The shooter, a Springfield police officer with less than two years on the force, told investigators he thought Porter had a gun. "Assuming we don't get anything new, it's a justified shooting in our minds," Harcleroad said. Porter's parents, Charles and Kelly Porter, criticized Harcleroad's decision. "My son was shot and killed because he made a gesture with his hand," Charles Porter said Monday. "I think it was an unjustified shooting and everybody I talk to thinks it is, too." Said Kelly Porter: "I cannot believe an officer would shoot a little 15-year-old. I think the officer was just a little too trigger happy."
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Record number of endowment complaints

    According to this article, from the Guardian today, the Finanical Ombudsman Service has revealed the latest figures for those seeking compensation for mortgage shortfalls, and they have hit record levels:

    The Financial Ombudsman Service said yesterday that in the year to April 2005 it received 70,000 new complaints involving endowments - equal to 1,300 a week - compared with just 300 a week three years ago. It ordered endowment companies to pay out about £200m in compensation, after finding evidence of mis-selling in around half the cases brought to the service. The typical level of compensation was £5,500.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    US millionaire linked to looting of Middle Eastern artefacts

    According to this article, from Aljazeera, a top US businessman is behind an international looting ring. Good job he isn't an Iraqi, he could have been thrown into some Abu Ghraib type hell hole and abused for months:

    Former self-confessed smuggler and police informant Michel Van Rijn told Aljazeera.net that multi-millionaire James Ferrell, the CEO of America's second largest propane gas company Ferrellgas, is running a London-based business that deals in smuggled relics. Van Rijn says Ferrell established his network on 29 January 2000 with Hungarian-born antiquities dealer William Veres and academic Henry Kim of Oxford University's Ashmolean Museum.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Republican claims Hussein linked to "9/11"

    And still the right wingers in America attempt to link Saddam Hussein's regime to the events of the 11th September 2001, despite all evidence to the contrary. They don't know how to stop lying. CNN has this report:

    "Saddam Hussein and people like him were very much involved in 9/11," Rep. Robin Hayes said. Told no investigation had ever found evidence to link Saddam and 9/11, Hayes responded, "I'm sorry, but you must have looked in the wrong places."
    These people are a danger to not only Americans, but the rest of the world, which is precisely why the rest of humanity is quite right to be concerned about US foreign policy with the bunch of fanatical right wing extremists currently in power. See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    White House team faked Bush speech applause

    This from AMERICAblog: ABC reports that White House advance team FAKED the applause See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Former Bush regime insider's "9/11" claim gets huge response

    From LewisNews: Bush Insider Claim WTC Collapse Bogus Gets 'Huge Response' And Read By Millions Worldwide

    Two weeks ago, the former chief economist in the Labor Department during President Bush’s first term told the world he thought the WTC fell from a controlled demolition, indicating 9/11 was "an inside government job." Reynolds, a respected economist and former Republican conservative, made his claims after researching many aspects of 9/11, including scientific and engineering data for and against the government story. He presented his findings on the Internet in a long, detailed article, concluding: "It is hard to exaggerate the importance of a scientific debate over the cause(s) of the collapse of the twin towers and Building 7. If the official wisdom on the collapses is wrong, as I believe it is, then policy based on such erroneous engineering analysis is not likely to be correct either. "The government's collapse theory is highly vulnerable on its own terms. Only professional demolition appears to account for the full range of facts associated with the collapse of the three buildings.
    This isn't some so called "crackpot conspiracy theorist" talking, this is a well respected economist, and a man who was part of the Bush regime. See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Blair chief of staff's not so diplomatic language

    From the Guardian: Blair aide hit bottom line with envoy

    To some observers the significance of the incident, which came during Bill Clinton's presidency, long before 9/11 or the Bush-Blair love-in, may be proof that New Labour has become Washington's poodle. But to be accurate the poodle would need to be on the receiving end of the White House's affections rather than as stated. To others it may underline the decline in restrained language. Only this month Mr Blair was alleged to have called Jack Straw a "tart," affectionately in private, though it was denied.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    The last throes of US dominance

    Antiwar.com has this interesting opinion piece:

    The decline in economic and diplomatic standing that Americans have suffered under Bush is exceptional. How much longer will Americans support the incompetent Bush administration that is driving them and their country's reputation into the ground? The world press sees Bush as an arrogant hypocrite who justifies his invasion of Iraq in the name of democracy, while protecting Uzbek's murderous dictator Islam Karimov, described by Craig Murray, former UK ambassador to Uzbekistan as "very much George Bush's man in Central Asia." On May 13, Karimov had 500 protesters shot down in the streets of Andijan and 200 massacred in Pakhtabad. Still more civilians were massacred by Karimov while attempting to flee into neighboring Kyrgyzstan.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Terrorists hoped for Bush re-election

    This report from the Jerusalem Post:

    The cell leader trained with terror leader Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan and told them the insurgents supported a Bush presidency because they believed it meant that "there will be confrontation, occupation and radicalization of the Iraqi people," Malbrunot said. "Panorama" interviewed seven surviving hostages, including two Iraqi hostages who witnessed a beheading and the families of three hostages who were killed.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Majority of Americans believe Bush lied on Iraq

    From Yahoo: Majority of Americans believe Bush administration misled public on Iraq: poll

    A record 57 percent say the Bush administration "intentionally exaggerated its evidence that pre-war Iraq possessed nuclear, chemical or biological weapons," according to the poll. It was the first time a majority said the administration "intentionally misled" the public, the survey said.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    G8 meetings don't have a history of leaving a lasting legacy

    This opinion piece from today's Guardian makes an interesting read, looking at G8 meetings, and promises of a so called "lasting legacy":

    The G8's history stretches back only as far as 1975, when the then G6 leaders met in the elegant grounds of Rambouillet in France to discuss the oil crisis. Since then the meeting tends to get overtaken by events. More importantly, the G8 exists only in so far as the holder of the rotating presidency puts effort into giving it some bite.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Italy preparing extradition request for CIA operatives accused of kidnapping

    From Yahoo: Italy Wants to Extradite 13 CIA Officials

    A man identified as the former CIA station chief in Milan is among the 13, according to a report by the judge who issued the arrest warrants. The American was traced by cell phone records to Egypt in the days after the abduction when the cleric was "likely undergoing the first" rounds of torture, according to the report obtained by The Associated Press.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Bush's speech - count the lies

    From the Political Affairs Magazine: Bush's Speech: Let's Count the Lies

    Bush is sticking to the lies that he included in the formal letter and report that he submitted to the United States Congress within 48 hours after having launched the invasion of Iraq. In the letter, dated March 18, 2003, the President made a formal determination, as required by the Joint Resolution on Iraq passed by the U.S. Congress in October 2002, that military action against Iraq was necessary to "protect the national security of the United States against the continuing threat posed by Iraq," as well as suggesting that the war is part of a global campaign against those behind the attacks of September 11, 2001.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    US suspected of keeping secret prisoners on warships

    Yahoo has this report: US suspected of keeping secret prisoners on warships: UN official

    "There are very, very serious accusations that the United States is maintaining secret camps, notably on ships," the Austrian UN official told AFP in Vienna, adding that the vessels were believed to be in the Indian Ocean region. "They are only rumours, but they appear sufficiently well-based to merit an official inquiry,," he added.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Bush claims Iraq bloodshed is "worth it"

    Yahoo has this report, on the maniac's speech:

    A recent Associated Press/Ipsos poll found a majority of Americans now think the war was a mistake. Public patience is even being tested here in military-friendly North Carolina, where signs along the streets of nearby Fayetteville show steadfast support of the armed forces. In the past year, 100 troops from the several North Carolina bases have died in the war, trailing only the toll from California, according to an Associated Press analysis. A new statewide poll released Tuesday showed that, for the first time, more North Carolinians think the war is not worthwhile than think it is.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Bush exploiting "9/11"

    The Bush regime has been exploiting the events of the 11th September 2001 for political gain ever since they happened. News 24 has this report:

    "The president's frequent references to the terrorist attacks of September 11 show the weakness of his arguments," House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi said. "He is willing to exploit the sacred ground of 9/11, knowing that there is no connection between 9/11 and the war in Iraq."
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Second UK Indymedia server seized by police

    Global News Matrix has this report:

    It seems that when Indymedia said it did not "intend to voluntarily hand over information to the police as they have requested", the flatfeet arrived in force to seize the hardware. This is the second time that law enforcement authorities have attacked Indymedia servers in the UK in the run up to a major event. Last October, just before the European Social Forum, Indymedia servers in London were seized in an "international law enforcement operation".
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    US sniper believed to have shot dead an Iraqi reporter

    According to this report, from Yahoo, an Iraqi reporter is believed to have been shot dead by an American sniper in Baghdad last week:

    An early report said Salihee was shot by a passing U.S. convoy when he failed to heed hand signals or shouts from soldiers. That later turned out to be untrue. Most of the witnesses told another Knight Ridder Iraqi special correspondent that no warning shots were fired. But the front right tire of Salihee's car, a white Daewoo Espero, was pierced by a bullet, presumably meant to stop him from advancing. Iraqis in Baghdad often complain that U.S. and Iraqi soldiers set up positions in roadways without clearly marking them. Such roadblocks increase the likelihood that motorists won't have time to stop before soldiers, worried about suicide car bombers, open fire, many Iraqis say.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    US Chinook downed by hostile fire in Afghanistan

    AP reports: U.S. Helicopter Apparently Downed by Hostile Fire; Fate of 17 Crew Unknown

    The troops were on a mission against al-Qaida fighters when the helicopter went down in mountainous terrain near Asadabad, in Kunar province. "The helicopter was transporting forces into the area as part of Operation Red Wing, which is part of the enduring fight to defeat al-Qaida militants," a military statement said. "Initial reports indicate the crash may have been caused by hostile fire. The status of the service members is unknown at this time."
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Channel 4 to make Guantanamo docu-drama

    From the Guardian: C4 to make Guantánamo drama

    The Road to Guantánamo will tell the story of the "Tipton Three", who were released without charge from the US government's Camp X-Ray prison last spring after two years in captivity. Shafiq Rasul, Asif Iqbal and Rhuhel Ahmed set off from Tipton, their West Midlands home town, in September 2001 for a wedding and holiday in Pakistan. The three were captured in Afghanistan.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    FBI whistleblower to run for US congress

    According to this article, from Yahoo, an ex FBI whistleblower who wrote about intelligence failures will run for congress as a Democrat in Minnesota:

    "I'm concerned about the direction of the country," Rowley said in a telephone interview Tuesday. "We have done things that have made us less safe, among them the Iraq invasion and the loss of our allies and the moral high ground in international affairs."
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    US general admits secret Iraq bombings

    According to this article, from the Times, a US general has admitted that Iraq was bombed from 2002 to "lay the foundations" for the illegal invasion of Iraq. These bombing raids were also illegal in the way they were carried out:

    A leaked memo previously disclosed by The Sunday Times, detailing a meeting chaired by the prime minister and attended by Jack Straw, the foreign secretary, Geoff Hoon, the then defence secretary, and Admiral Sir Michael Boyce, chief of defence staff, indicated that the US was carrying out the bombing. But Moseley’s remarks, and figures for the amount of bombs dropped in southern Iraq during 2002, indicate that the RAF was taking as large a part in the bombing as American aircraft.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Monday, June 27, 2005

    Bush picks chemical polluters' lawyer as environmental enforcer

    The extent to which excessive capitalism runs riot in the US is highlighted by the various Bush regime appointments which have been made to appease corporations, and allow them too much influence in policy matters. This report from the Seattle Post Intelligencer:

    Selecting a lawyer and an engineer with one of the nation's largest corporate law firms, whose clients have deep and occasionally controversial relations with the EPA, triggered concerns that Nakayama would not be able to aggressively enforce environmental laws. Foremost among those concerns is W.R. Grace, which is under federal criminal indictment on charges related to the operation of its vermiculite mine in Libby, Mont. Hundreds of workers and Libby residents contracted lethal asbestos-related disease -- a situation that gained national attention after a Seattle Post-Intelligencer series in 1999.
    So the Bush regime believe that it's fine to choose a man who actually defended a company responsible for the above atrocity to "enforce" environmental laws. Somehow, I think his mind will be elsewhere. They are a bunch of criminals. How anyone can still defend the mob is beyond me. This post is also available at Blogger News Network. See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    ID Cards costs set to soar

    The Guardian reports: Rebel MPs and peers prepare to oppose bill analysts claim scheme could cost up to £18bn

    As critics stepped up the pressure on the system they have sought to paint as a "plastic poll tax", the scheme's achilles heel was increasingly being seen as the cost - between £15bn and £18bn, according to some independent analysts.
    This is a money making scam, and is unnecessary and unwanted, if you haven't already contacted your MP about this project, and you are opposed, then please do so. There is a link on the sidebar here to contact your MP. See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Ministers block release of Belgrano documents

    The Guardian reports on a cover up over the decision to "sink the Belgrano":

    The cover-up by the Thatcher government over the circumstances surrounding the sinking of the Belgrano prompted Clive Ponting, a senior Ministry of Defence official, to send documents to the Labour MP, Tam Dalyell. Mr Ponting was prosecuted under the Official Secrets Act and was acquitted by an Old Bailey jury in 1985. It emerged during the trial that one of Mr Ponting's colleagues, Michael Legge, warned ministers that the "appropriate warning" about a change in the rules of engagement on May 2 1982 - to allow attacks on the Belgrano and any other Argentine warship "over a large area" - was not issued until May 7. It was claimed that rules of engagement would have allowed attacks on Argentine destroyers picking up survivors. Mr Ponting was also concerned about ministers refusing to reveal the time the Belgrano was first detected and the direction it was heading when it was sunk.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Big media interlocks with corporate America

    Common Dreams has this interesting piece:

    A research team at Sonoma State University has recently finished conducting a network analysis of the boards of directors of the ten big media organizations in the US. The team determined that only 118 people comprise the membership on the boards of director of the ten big media giants. This is a small enough group to fit in a moderate size university classroom. These 118 individuals in turn sit on the corporate boards of 288 national and international corporations. In fact, eight out of ten big media giants share common memberships on boards of directors with each other. NBC and the Washington Post both have board members who sit on Coca Cola and J. P. Morgan, while the Tribune Company, The New York Times and Gannett all have members who share a seat on Pepsi. It is kind of like one big happy family of interlocks and shared interests.
    The article goes on to list some of the common interests of some media outlets and corporations. See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    US right wing extremists cheered election of hardliner

    No doubt they're very pleased at the atmosphere which has been created by their continual hate mongering and war mongering against Iran. The country has become more hostile now towards the US than in the past, and the fundamentalist extremists in the US will now doubt be wanting more of that tension to help in their crusade. The FT reports:

    President George W. Bush said on the eve of the vote that the Iranian electoral process, where all candidates are vetted, "ignores the basic requirements of democracy". He said it was a regime that "brutalises its people".
    As opposed to the US of course, where vote fraud was widespread at the last 2 presidential elections, and which now brutalises other countries' citizens. See all ercent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Good news for Bush - Poll finds huge support

    Bad news for Bush though, the poll was of Israelis. From the Washington Post: In Capital's Rhetoric Wars, 'Sorry' Is a Temporary Pause

    A poll of Israeli and American Jews done this spring for Yeshiva University finds that Israelis are far more supportive of Bush than Jews here are. Conversely, American Jews are more enthusiastic about Prime Minister Ariel Sharon than Israelis are. Four out of five Israeli Jews had a favorable view of Bush, compared with only 35 percent of American Jews. A majority of Israelis believed the Iraq war made them safer, while only 28 percent of American Jews think the United States is more secure because of the war. Four out of five Israelis supported Bush's policy toward Israel, compared with two-thirds of American Jews.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Lavish CIA kidnapping operation revealed

    The Washington Post has this report:

    The Americans stayed at some of the finest hotels in Milan, sometimes for as long as six weeks, ringing up tabs of as much as $500 a day on Diners Club accounts created to match their recently forged identities, according to Italian court documents and other records. Then, after abducting their target and flying him to Cairo under the noses of Italian police, some of them rounded out their European trip with long weekends in Venice and Florence before leaving the country, the records show.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    More Chinese tourists expected in Britain

    This report from today's Guardian:

    Tourism chiefs hope the scenes are a taste of things to come. They are predicting a significant increase in the number of visitors from China following Beijing's decision in January to add the UK to its authorised destination status (ADS) list. In the past, only Chinese businesspeople and students could obtain visas to travel here. From July, an ADS visa will be available that allows groups of five or more Chinese tourists to visit Britain.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    3 year old girl dies in tumble drier

    What an awful tragedy, report from the Guardian:

    Georgina Bywater, from Brierley Hill in the West Midlands, is believed to have woken in the middle of the night, walked downstairs and opened the machine. She was discovered by her mother who was searching the house for her. It is not known how old the tumble dryer was. There was nothing to suggest it had been turned on. Some years ago manufacturers were requested to narrow the loading aperture to prevent such accidents.
    The family must be absolutely devastated, it's so sad. See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Rumsfeld says Iraq "insurgency" could last 12 years

    I'm quite sure there would be plenty of right wing extremists happy at that prospect, considering some of them advocate a permanent US presence in Iraq. If the US is in talks with so called "insurgents", they obviously don't think that the "insurgents" will stop their activities any time soon. It's almost liek the US wants the so called "insurgency" to continue. MSNBC reports:

    Defeating the insurgency may take as long as 12 years, he said, with Iraqi security forces, not U.S. and foreign troops, taking the lead and finishing the job.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Israel apologises to New Zealand

    According to this report, from the New Zealand Herald, Israel has apologised for Mossad operations in the country apparently:

    The relationship has been frosty since Israel refused to apologise for what Miss Clark described as "utterly unacceptable" behaviour surrounding two alleged Mossad agents, Uriel Zoshe Kelman and Eli Cara, who were arrested in March 2004 and charged with trying to fraudulently obtain New Zealand passports. They were convicted in July last year, then deported last September after serving two months of their six-month prison sentences. Miss Clark imposed diplomatic sanctions pending an apology from Israel, including delaying approval for the appointment of a new Israeli ambassador.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    US holds some "material witnesses" illegally

    According to this article, from the Washington Post, the US holds some of its so called "material witnesses illegally:

    The report, released yesterday by Human Rights Watch and the American Civil Liberties Union, concluded that the government's use of "material witness" warrants in the months after the attacks was excessive and frequently unlawful because many of the detainees were never questioned by a grand jury or were denied access to attorneys for extended periods of time. Most were never charged with a crime.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Richard Whiteley dies aged 61

    The Guardian has this piece:

    Deceptively bumbling, he used an acute, Cambridge University-trained mind to establish an exceptional place in the country's affections. Had Yorkshire ever voted for independence, he would have been chosen president of the new republic by a landslide. Reports of his illness had been doubted, so strong was his TV image of a comfortable quizmaster with a wardrobe of ghastly ties (528 at the last count) and a unique line in weak jokes and dreadful puns.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    US in talks with Iraq "rebels"

    The Sunday Times has this report:

    After weeks of delicate negotiation involving a former Iraqi minister and senior tribal leaders, a small group of insurgent commanders apparently came face to face with four American officials seeking to establish a dialogue with the men they regard as their enemies. The talks on June 3 were followed by a second encounter 10 days later, according to an Iraqi who said that he had attended both meetings. Details provided to The Sunday Times by two Iraqi sources whose groups were involved indicate that further talks are planned in the hope of negotiating an eventual breakthrough that might reduce the violence in Iraq.
    The US sees fit now to sit down and talk to its enemies in Iraq, why did it not think that was an appropriate course to take before the illegal invasion of Iraq? And no, i'm not saying the US should have sat down and agreed all sorts of weapons sales with Iraq, as used to be the case. This post is also available at Blogger News Network. See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Tribunal says US caused more deaths in Iraq than Saddam Hussein

    This from Infowars: US caused more deaths in Iraq than Saddam, says anti-war tribunal

    "With two wars and 13 years of criminal sanctions, the United States have been responsible for more deaths in Iraq than Saddam Hussein," Larry Everest, a journalist, told hundreds of anti-war activists gathered in Istanbul. Founded in 2003, the WTI is modelled on the 1960s Russell Tribunal, created by the British philosopher Bertrand Russell to denounce the war in Vietnam. It has held about 20 sessions so far in different locations around the world.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    US students face hostility at Australian universities

    This is another cost of the rogue regime's disasterous foreign policies. From the Sunday Times (Australia)

    The Colorado-based Australearn organisation – which teaches "cultural adjustment" to US students before they come to Australia – started warning in January of attitudes towards Americans over Iraq. Australearn's Australian director, Shelia Houston, said the briefings aimed to give American students "coping strategies" in the face of an attack. She said some students suffered culture shock because of the belief that everyone loved Americans. "We are giving them the heads up that it is a bit more heated because of the war in Iraq," Ms Houston said.
    If the parents of any students who have been subject to abuse are Bush supporters, then the effects of their support should really hit home. Perhaps they will question the rogue regime more. This post is also available at Blogger News Network. See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Israeli tactics revealed

    According to this article, from the Scotsman, former IDF soldiers have stated that there is a growing climate of moral corruption within the force, they have also stated that IDF troops routinely fired into Palestinian areas without any specific target, and that Palestinian civilians are used as human shields by the IDF:

    What emerges from the testimonies is that far from being aberrations, abuses of Palestinian civilians are institutionalised and come from the highest levels of the army. In one written account by a soldier who served in Ujah village, near Jericho in 2001, he describes the "suspicious object" procedure. "If there is a suspicious object such as a pile of rocks in the road, we stop a Palestinian and send him to move the object while the soldiers hide behind cover," he said. "The Palestinian is considered unimportant since the object was put there by another Palestinian."
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Rumsfeld claims Guantanamo investigation "doesn't make sense"

    It's quite obvious why the rogue regime in Washington don't want an investigation into abuse and torture carried out by their crusaders. They don't like being held to account, and through the course of this presidency they have used every available method to get out of being held accountable. The Washington Post reports:

    House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., has said an independent commission could explore the atmosphere that permitted abuses, how troops were trained, and the length of detentions.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Republican senator says US losing the Iraq war

    From the Omaha World Herald: Hagel sounds alarm over Iraq

    More than 200 Nebraska American Legion members, who have seen war and conflict themselves, fell quiet as Sen. Chuck Hagel bluntly explained why he believes that the United States is losing the war in Iraq. And Hagel's deep fear is that it will all plunge into another Vietnam debacle, prompting Congress to force another abrupt pullout as it did in 1975.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Bush wants Blair to boost British troop levels

    Blair should give Bush the two finger salute, if he had any backbone at all he would do. The Scotsman reports:

    Tony Blair was warned that war-torn Iraq remains on the brink of disaster - more than two years after the removal of Saddam Hussein - during his summit with President Bush in Washington earlier this month. Scotland on Sunday revealed last month that Blair is preparing to rush thousands more British troops to Afghanistan in a bid to stop the country sliding towards civil war, amid warnings the coalition faces a "complete strategic failure" in the effort to rebuild the nation.
    Both Bush regime projects (Afghanistan and Iraq) have been failures. Afghanistan is still not stable, and Iraq is chaotic. See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    The Bush regime as war criminals

    From Uruknet: Beyond Impeachment: The Bush Administration as War Criminals

    Having assumed control as an occupying power, the U.S. also assumed responsibility for what occurred during its occupation of Iraq. Among its responsibilities to the people of Iraq is the duty to ensure against violence to life and person, including cruel treatment and torture, as required under Article 3 of the Fourth Geneva Convention. Article 3 establishes a minimum set of rights for all persons under occupation, regardless of their status as civilian, unprivileged belligerent, terrorist, or war criminal. (The United States is not only a signatory to the Fourth Convention, but also expressly recognizes the requirements of Article 3 via the War Crimes Act of 1996.) Furthermore, under Article 31 of the Fourth Convention, "No physical or moral coercion shall be exercised against protected persons [those subject to occupation], in particular to obtain information from them or from third parties." Article 147 expressly eliminates the defense of military necessity.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Blair's son gets job working for Republican congressman

    According to this article, from today's Guardian, Blair's son will be taking an unpaid job this summer for 3 months as a Republican congressman's intern when he leaves university:

    The prime minister's eldest son, who is about to graduate from Bristol University, will work for Congressman David Dreier, chairman of the House rules committee as part of preparation for what he hopes will be an MBA course at Harvard, possibly after a gap year.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    US planning radioactive project in Idaho

    The International Herald Tribune has this report:

    The Bush administration is planning the government's first production of plutonium 238 - a highly radioactive substance valued as a power source - since the Cold War, stirring debate over the risks and benefits of the deadly material. It is hot enough to melt plastic and so dangerous that a speck can cause cancer.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    The Boob is Back!

    From USA Today (with a nod to BoingBoing): Drapes removed from Justice Department statue

    WASHINGTON (AP) — With barely a word about it, workers at the Justice Department Friday removed the [$8000] blue drapes that have famously covered two scantily clad statues for the past 3 1/2 years.

    Spirit of Justice, with her one breast exposed and her arms raised, and the bare-chested male Majesty of Law basked in the late afternoon light of Justice's ceremonial Great Hall.

    Saturday, June 25, 2005

    Musharraf goes off message on Bin Laden

    According to this article, from today's Guardian, Pervez Musharraf has claimed that Bin Laden's whereabouts are unknown. Only the other day the CIA were claiming they knew exactly where Bin Laden is. Perhaps they should talk more and get their stories right:

    Musharraf - who abandoned support of Afghanistan's former Taliban regime after the Sept. 11 attacks - spoke with Afghan President Hamid Karzai twice this week. Musharraf would only say that ``a small difference of opinion was discussed and resolved.'' Last week, Karzai spokesman Jawed Ludin said Islamabad was not doing enough to fight the militants, adding that there would never be peace in Afghanistan until the two nations ``join hands together to fight terrorism.''
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    America turns on Bush

    Americans have reached the end of their tether with the rogue regime in Washington, as have the rest of the world, who lost patience with the criminals years ago. The Independent reports:

    Several victims were believed to be female marines. The Pentagon said they died when a suicide car bomber exploded his vehicle as a US military convoy was passing. The attack is the 479th recorded car bombing since the handover of sovereignty on 28 June 2004. Even more serious is the ebbing support on the home front. Polls show a majority of Americans believe the March 2003 invasion to topple Saddam Hussein was a mistake. Some 60 per cent now favour a troop pullout, while Mr Bush's approval rating has tumbled to little more than 40 per cent, the lowest of any second-term president since Richard Nixon in the throes of Watergate.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    US admits torture at Guantanamo, Afghanistan and Iraq

    According to this article, from the Khaleej Times, the US has for the first time publicly admitted that it tortures captives at its so called "detention centres" around the world:

    The acknowledgement was made in a report submitted to the UN Committee against Torture, said a member of the ten-person panel, speaking on condition of anonymity. “They are no longer trying to duck this, and have respected their obligation to inform the UN,” the Committee member told AFP. “They they will have to explain themselves (to the Committee). Nothing should be kept in the dark.” UN sources said it was the first time the world body has received such a frank statement on torture from US authorities.
    Not only should those responsible have to "explain themselves" to some committee, they should be prosecuted. See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    EU votes to keep ban on GM crops

    As usual, Britain was the American's poodle, and backed the US stance that we should allow these Frankenstein crops. The Guardian reports:

    One of the most contentious issues at the meeting was a variety of Bt Maize produced by Monsanto called MON 863, which caused unexplained kidney damage to rats, according to research conducted by the manufacturer. Monsanto has refused to release all the results of its own tests on the maize, although it has now been ordered to do so by a German court. Mr Morley said that while he was concerned about the findings, British scientists who had seen the data had concluded that this one study was not sufficient grounds to ban the crop. As a result the government had again voted for it to be introduced.
    So unexplained kidney damage arising from crops, did not, in the view of Blair & Co warrant an extension of the ban. Ridiculous, and dangerous. They should be ashamed. See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    ID Card "insurgents" set to strike

    Good luck to the id card "insurgents". This report from the Guardian:

    In theory the 21 only need a dozen or so Labour defectors to join them and Mr Blair loses his majority. In practice, the Northern Ireland delegation's absence works to shore up the government, especially when Unionist MPs could support the bill. So may others. Tory and Lib Dem abstentions will do the rest. The bill's sworn opponents know that death by a thousand cuts is their best strategy.
    Indeed, a defeat by Blair's own MPs, without the help of the opposition parties would inflict far more damage. See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Iran not even close to nuclear weapon making capacity

    According to this report, from SpaceWar, the former chief weapons inspector has told a Swedish radio station that Iran is not even close to developing nuclear weaponry:

    Blix on Thursday however said the concerns over that plant were exaggerated, pointing out that while the shell of the plant was built with German group Siemens before the Iran-Iraq war, Russia had stepped in after the war with only low-grade nuclear technology. "It's like putting the motor of a Lada in a Mercedes car," he joked, adding that the light-water reactors being used are also not ideal for creating plutonium. "It is possible, but it is very difficult. The way you would usually go is to have a research reactor," he said. Although the Iranians have said they plan to build a 40 megawatt research reactor, Blix insisted that their plans are too far off to really cause much concern.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Guantanamo captives may be chained to the floor, but they're "well fed"

    According to Dick Cheney, US captives at the Gunatanamo torture chamber are "well treated, well fed, and living in the tropics". Well, they're certainly not well treated, as another article I posted today shows, so, US captives are apparently "well fed" and "living in the tropics", i'm sure those so called "terror suspects" appreciate that when they're being beaten, and forced to urinate on themselves:

    Cheney on Thursday described prison conditions in more glowing terms, saying the United States spent heavily to build a new facility there. "They're very well treated down there. They're living in the tropics. They're well fed. They've got everything they could possibly want," Cheney said in a CNN interview. "There isn't any other nation in the world that would treat people who were determined to kill Americans the way we're treating these people."
    If you believe Cheney, then I have various electrical items which I could sell you, they've been left out in the rain all night, but I promise you they still work. See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    African Union rejects calls for action on Zimbabwe

    The situation in Zimbabwe quite obviously needs addressing by the African Union nations. They are best placed to help with the huge problems. The Guardian reports however, that the African Union doesn't seem to want to commit to tackling the problems:

    But Britain's position was weakened yesterday by a Zimbabwean archbishop, who urged it to stop sending failed asylum seekers back to the Mugabe regime. The Archbishop of Bulawayo, Pius A Ncube, said those deported would be persecuted by the Mugabe regime as "traitors". "People who were asylum seekers in Britain and are returned have been detained by police in Zimbabwe, some being tortured and forced to confess that they were in anti-government activities." Mr Ncube told Channel 4 that Zimbabwe was beginning to resemble Pol Pot's Cambodia. He said Mr Mugabe's policy of driving people out to the countryside "is extremely cruel and it is very much like Pol Pot and this will lead to people starving".
    Considering that Blair & Co are claiming at the moment that Africa is a top priority, they should be putting pressure on the African Union on the Zimbabwe issue, and at the same time they should stop sending people back to the country who quite obviously could face persecution. See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Rumsfeld claims Iraq is not a quagmire

    Rumsfeld's abviously been abusing solvents again if he really believes that all is well in Iraq. This article from the Independent:

    As Baghdad reeled from a deadly new spate of bombings, Donald Rumsfeld, the Defence Secretary, insisted that the US was not losing the war in Iraq. But the top US regional commander said the insurgency was undiminished, and ever more foreign fighters were entering the country.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    New Iranian president wants Iran to be a model

    Yahoo has this report: Election Winner Wants Iran to Be a Model

    Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's taped statement, broadcast on state-run radio, appeared aimed at easing worries that his ultraconservative views would clash with Iran's attempts to expand its economy and international ties. Ahmadinejad, however, made no mention of any new policies regarding the social reforms opposed by some of his supporters. "Let's convert competition to friendship. We are all a nation and a big family," he said in apparent reference to the rifts between liberals and hard-liners in Iran that deepened in the campaign for Friday's runoff election.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Vote fraud claims in Iranian election

    The Guardian reports: Fraud claims mar Iranian poll run-off

    The head of the central electoral committee called on Tehran's provincial governor to suspend balloting amid claims of violations and abuses. But voting was extended by at least two hours. The call for a suspension came after aides to Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, the centrist former president, accused supporters of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the hardline Tehran mayor, of systematic violations. The controversy reignited charges levelled at Mr Ahmadinejad after he unexpectedly came second in last week's first round, qualifying for yesterday's run-off.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Italian judge orders arrests of CIA linked suspects for kidnappings

    According to this article, from Reuters, an Italian judge has ordered the arrests of 13 people linked to the CIA in connection with the "rendition" of an Egyptian from Milan. You call it rendition if you like, i'll call it kidnap, false imprisonment and torture:

    The judicial source cited the warrant, which has still not been made public, as saying a CIA agent known to Italian authorities coordinated the operation. The source added there was no indication Italy had authorised the "illegal kidnapping". A CIA spokesperson in Washington said: "We're not even not commenting. We're saying: if we have anything to say, we'll get back to you." The U.S. embassy in Rome declined comment.
    Yet another article which qualifies the "rogue regime" title for Bush & Co. See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Home Office backs down on sending Mugabe opponent back to Zimbabwe

    According to this article, from today's Guardian, the British Home Office has backed down, although temporarily, on sending an opponent of Mugabe back to Zimbabwe:

    But yesterday it refused to reverse its policy of deporting people to whom Britain had refused asylum, which has triggered hunger strikes by at least 16 Zimbabweans held in detention. The most high-profile detainee, Crespen Kulingi, who was due to be deported today, has been given a temporary reprieve. Mr Kulingi, 32, is an adviser to the leader of Zimbabwe's main opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Republican join Iraq war critics

    I said some time ago, that when US troops started to die in large numbers, then right wingers in the US would start questioning the rogue regime in Washington more. Obviously they aren't concerned about the deaths of those tens of thousands of innocent Iraqis, but we didn't really expect them to be did we. It looks like the beginning of a turning point in America. The FT reports: Republicans join critics of war in Iraq

    In a worrying sign for the White House, which has tended to paint war critics as unpatriotic, Republican senators appear less reluctant to raise concerns about the way the administration is running the campaign in Iraq. On Thursday, some joined Democrats in warning the administration that the tide of public opinion is changing.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    IRA admits shooting 14 year old girl

    The Guardian reports: After 32 years, IRA admits it shot dead girl, 14

    Kathleen Feeney, the sister of an SDLP councillor, was killed by a single bullet fired by a gunman aiming at troops on patrol near her home in the city's Bogside. Her father witnessed the shooting from the doorway of their home. After Kathleen's siblings pushed for an explanation and apology for the murder, the IRA issued a statement in yesterday's Derry Journal. It said a new internal investigation had confirmed what "the Feeney family have always believed".
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    More vote fraud news from the US

    This report from Lodi News Sentinel:

    And who is Daniel Askelson? His name was listed as someone who had helped her fill out the form. As it turns out, Askelson, 31, of Manteca, registered a lot of voters in 2004 -- as many as 1,000 bogus forms were turned in, said Deborah Hench, San Joaquin County's registrar of voters. He is responsible for the largest case of voter registration fraud in the county, a problem that has "gotten considerably worse with these big registration drives and paying for registration," Hench said.
    See all recent "A Logcial Voice" posts

    Friday, June 24, 2005

    Republican candidate calls Bush regime "Nazis"

    According to this piece, from Raw Story, a Republican candidate for a North Carolina supreme court position has resigned from the party, equating them with Nazis:

    Rachel Lea Hunter, a Republican and a candidate for Chief Justice, likens Bush’s administration to the “Nazis” and says that all who disagree with the administration are being branded as “traitors”.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    US doctors linked to torture

    According to this article, from the Toronto Star, American doctors are complicit in abuses of US captives:

    Doctors, nurses and medics caring for the approximately 600 prisoners at the U.S. naval base in Cuba are required to provide health information to military and CIA interrogators, according to the report in the respected New England Journal of Medicine. "Since late 2003, psychiatrists and psychologists (at Guantanamo) have been part of a strategy that employs extreme stress, combined with behaviour-shaping rewards, to extract actionable intelligence from resistant captives," it states. Such tactics are considered torture by many authorities, the authors note. Medical personnel belonging to the U.S. military's Southern Command have also been told to volunteer to interrogators information they believe may be valuable, the report adds.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Evangelicals set up base in Iraq

    The Washington Post has this report:

    "The way the preachers arrived here . . . with soldiers . . . was not a good thing," said Baghdad's Roman Catholic archbishop, Jean Sleiman. "I think they had the intention that they could convert Muslims, though Christians didn't do it here for 2,000 years." "In the end," Sleiman said, "they are seducing Christians from other churches."
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    US commander says Cheney wrong on "insurgents"

    According to this article, from Katu, a US commander has said that Cheney was wrong to say that the so called "insurgency" in Iraq is in its "last throes". Cheney, Bush, Gonzales, Rice or Rumsfeld. Whichever Bush regime member you care to choose, they've all lied:

    Gen. John Abizaid's testimony came at a contentious Senate Armed Services Committee hearing at which Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld clashed with members of both parties, including a renewed call by Sen. Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts for him to step down. Citing what he called repeated "gross errors and mistakes" in the U.S. military campaign in Iraq, Kennedy told Rumsfeld: "In baseball, it's three strikes, you're out. What is it for the secretary of defense?" "Isn't it time for you to resign?" Kennedy asked. "I've offered my resignation to the president twice," Rumsfeld shot back, saying that President Bush had decided not to accept it. "That's his call," he said.
    Bush obviously likes to surround himself with failures and liars. See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Bush makes China more popular than the US

    According to this article, from CNN, an international poll has found that China is viewed more favourably than the US:

    In Britain, almost two-thirds of Britons, 65 percent, saw China favorably, compared with 55 percent who held a positive view of the United States. In France, 58 percent had an upbeat view of China, compared with 43 percent who felt that way about the U.S. The results were nearly the same in Spain and the Netherlands. The United States' favorability rating was lowest among three Muslim nations which are also U.S. allies -- Turkey, Pakistan and Jordan -- where only about one-fifth of those polled viewed the U.S. in a positive light.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Torture at Guantanamo

    Only the most ardent blood thirsty war mongering Bush regime supporters would now claim that Guantanamo captives are treated humanely. The Guardian has this report:

    The four independent specialists told reporters that U.N. experts had made numerous requests since early 2002 to check on the conditions of terror suspects at the U.S. Naval base in Cuba, as well as at U.S. facilities in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere. They cited ``information, from reliable sources, of serious allegations of torture, cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment of detainees, arbitrary detention, violations of their right to health and their due process rights. ``Many of these allegations have come to light through declassified (U.S.) government documents,'' said a statement from the four, who report to U.N. bodies on different human rights issues.
    Indeed, and although these various documents have come to light, still no one has been held to account in the rogue regime, and even worse the torture apologists attempt to deny any torture or abuse has ever happened. Those people should be ashamed of themselves. See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    What were "911" hijackers doing on board Republican lobbyists casino boat?

    That's the question posed by the Mad Cow Morning News:

    Less than a week before the 9.11 attack, for example, Atta and several other hijackers made a still-unexplained visit onboard one of Abramoff’s casino boats. What were they doing there? No one knows.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Lebanese deputy says Mossad behind assassinations

    This report from Al Bawaba: Lebanese deputy: Mossad behind assassinations

    In a statement to Tishrin newspaper published Thursday, Fares said that “Hawi is one of the Lebanese national symbols who participated in launching the resistance movement against Israel, and thus Israel is the main enemy for him. The Israeli Mossad is acting in Beirut freely."
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Republican lobbyist defrauded Indians

    This report from Bloomberg:

    Jack Abramoff, a former lobbyist who is the subject of a federal investigation, diverted funds from Indian tribes into projects ranging from an Orthodox Jewish academy to an Israeli sniper school, new documents show.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Ecuador will not sign immunity pact for US war crimes

    Well done Ecuador, no doubt the Bush regime will be labelling Ecuador as an "evil" regime sometime soon for refusing to comply with the criminals. AP reports: Ecuador Refuses to Sign Immunity Pact for U.S. Forces

    "If the United States decides it cannot provide aid if we do not sign this, well, we very much regret that we will not receive the aid," Antonio Parra told Channel 6 television.
    Ecuador won't accept blood money, they've taken a moral stand against the criminals. See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    A reminder - Blair admits mass graves claims "untrue"

    A flashback to July 2004, courtesy of the Guardian: PM admits graves claim 'untrue'

    Downing Street has admitted to The Observer that repeated claims by Tony Blair that '400,000 bodies had been found in Iraqi mass graves' is untrue, and only about 5,000 corpses have so far been uncovered. The claims by Blair in November and December of last year, were given widespread credence, quoted by MPs and widely published, including in the introduction to a US government pamphlet on Iraq's mass graves.
    There is plenty of evidence to suggest that many of the people buried in those mass graves died as a result of the Iraq-Iran war, one example of such a report is this from IRIN:
    “Both of my brothers who were Shi'ite activists in the 1991 uprising and my father who hadn’t participated in the uprising were killed and buried somewhere in an undisclosed location," he told IRIN in Baghdad. Hussein didn’t find either of the bodies of his family but he has now vowed to help others in his situation and joined the Society for the Preservation of Mass Graves. Rafid al-Husseini, President of the Society, who is a surgeon at Baghdad hospital, was searching for his two cousins who were killed in the 1980s during the war with Iran at the same place, Hilla. Rafid said that many of the people killed and buried randomly by the Iraqi security were during the Iraq-Iran war, and after the 1991 massacre of Iraqi Shi'ite Muslims.
    And, if you remember, the US urged Shiites to rise up, which led to the deaths of thousands. See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    US threatens wine war with Europe

    Yahoo reports: US threatens wine war with Europe

    European Union officials, pushed by traditionalists, are so far refusing to extend a current dispensation allowing the American practices, but US officials say that if no agreement is reached they will tighten application of the Bioterrorism Act. This law, introduced after the September 11 2001 attacks in the United States, covers imports of all food and drink. Patrick Ricard, a major figure in the industry, with interests in Britain and Australia as well as France, called for pragmatism. "Better a bad agreement than no agreement at all," he declared, though adding wryly: "If there is no agreement, I'll sell more Australian Jacob's Creek in the United States."
    It's rather sly of the US to use a piece of terrorism legislation for reasons other than terrorism, but we all know that there have been numerous examples of terrorism legislation being used for other reasons. See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Military recruiters sink to new lows

    This report from Common Dreams:

    While the stunning list of recruiting abuses has received some needed media attention, it's worth reviewing the extremes to which the military has gone to fill its ranks. In Houston, one recruiter warned a potential recruit that if he backed out of a meeting, "we'll have a warrant" for the potential recruit's arrest. In Colorado, a high school student, David McSwane, who wanted to see "how far the Army would go during a war to get one more soldier," told recruiters that he didn't finish high school and that he had a drug problem. "No problem," the recruiters responded. McSwane was told to create a diploma from scratch and to buy products at a store that would help him beat the drug test.
    The US military are desperate for cannon fodder, obviously. See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Thursday, June 23, 2005

    Koizumi in trouble

    Today in Samawa Iraq, a bomb blast hit a convoy of 4 Japanese APCs in Samawa Iraq. According to one of my students who is a civilian bureaucrat in the Japanese Defense Agency, no one was injured and there was minor damage to one vehicle. He tells me that no one at the Defence Agency is concerned about the event, but politically it could spell the end of the Prime Minister. At the time the troops were to be deployed, Prime Minister Koizumi promised that the Self Defence Force soldiers would not be in harm's way and said that if there was some event such as a bombing, he would resign. Tonight, he faces a tough choice: resign or lose even more credibility and a further slide in his plummetting popularity. Update: The Japanese news websites are astoundingly slow. There is scant coverage on the net - it's mostly on TV - but there is the following from Kyodo: Japan Troop Vehicle Damaged... It makes no mention of the debate sparked up yesterday in the Diet. The Mainichi is not much better: SDF vehicle damaged in explosion in Iraq

    Iraqi Sunni lawyer assassinated

    The BBC reports that a lawyer, and his 15 year old son have been shot in Iraq:

    Jasim al-Issawi, 50, and his son, died when gunmen opened fire on their car in Baghdad's north-western Shula district, the interior ministry said. Mr Issawi had declined the invitation to be one of 15 Sunnis on the parliamentary constitutional panel. Insurgents have threatened Sunnis who join the political process.
    So why was he shot? He had declined the invitation, so obviously was not part of the political process. See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Blair forced to apologise for tax credit failures

    This report from today's Independent:

    In the first year since its introduction in April 2003, one-third of all awards - 1,879,000 - were overpaid, by a total of £1.93bn. Kelly Montgomery, mother of two: 'I thought this must be the reward you get for going to work' Kelly Montgomery could not believe her luck when she first received tax credits. After a lengthy delay, cheques for hundreds of pounds started arriving in the post, but with no apparent regularity. When payments went into her bank account they were equally erratic. "I was telling everybody to go back to work," said Mrs Montgomery, 24, who has two children. Two years later she was forced to give up her job after her tax credits were slashed at one point to £1.20 a week, as the system tried to recover overpayments. "I heard of people receiving food parcels. If my mum was not there for me or my boyfriend [now husband] that is how it would have been for me," she added.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Britain wanted Sunni led Iraq

    According to this article, from Newsday, Blair & Co were in sharp disagreement with the US over the make up of a new Iraqi government:

    "What sort of Iraq we want?" the British documents asked rhetorically. The first possibility, it said, involved a "Sunni military strongman" who, in return for aid, would abandon weapons of mass destruction and respect human rights and ethnic minorities. But, the report noted, the arrangement could result in Iraq ending up in the hands of another Sunni dictator. A second possibility, the paper asserted, could be a "representative, broadly democratic government would be Sunni-led but within a federal structure. The Kurds would be guaranteed autonomy and the Shias access to government. Such a regime would be less likely to develop WMD and threaten its neighbors. However, to survive, it would require the US and others to commit to nation building for many years."
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Aljazeera cameraman suffered "horrendous abuse"

    According to this article, from Aljazeera, the lawyer of a cameraman who worked for the media outlet in Afghanistan has told how his client suffered "horrendous abuse" at the hands of his captors:

    "Sami has endured horrendous abuse - sexual abuse and religious persecution," said Stafford-Smith, who is on a visit to Qatar, on Tuesday. "He has been beaten. He had a huge scar on his face when I saw him." The British lawyer said that al-Hajj witnessed the Quran being flushed down the toilet by US soldiers in Afghanistan, and also witnessed expletives being written on the Muslim holy book.
    "He is completely innocent. He is about as much of a terrorist as my granddad. The only reason he has been treated like he has is because he is an Aljazeera journalist. The Americans have tried to make him an informant with the goal of getting him to say that Aljazeera is linked to al-Qaida.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Migrants bring benefits to Britain

    From today's Independent: Migrants 'bring more benefits than costs' to Britain

    The IOM cites a British report showing that between 1999 and 2000 migrants in the UK contributed $4bn (£2.1bn) more in taxes than they received in benefits. An increasing number of migrants are moving temporarily - rather than permanently - so there is potential for "brain circulation" or "brain gain", rather than "brain drain". Contrary to the perception that migrants take jobs from local workers, the report says that they tend to fill spaces at the poles of the labour market - working both in low-skilled, high-risk jobs and highly skilled, well-paid employment. They also make a significant contribution to the economies of their home states, the report says, with returning cash flows sometimes exceeding official development aid.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    North Korea says if it were not for the US they would not need nuclear weapons

    According to this report, from USA Today, North Korean officials have said that if the US was not so beligerant, the country wouldn't need nuclear weapons:

    "If the United States treats the North in a friendly manner, we will possess not one nuclear weapon," the North Korean delegation said, according to Kim Chun-shick, spokesman for the South Koreans. The statement echoed a pledge by North Korean leader Kim Jong Il, who met Friday with visiting South Korean Unification Minister Chung Dong-young and said Pyongyang could return to international nuclear disarmament talks as soon as next month if it gets appropriate respect from Washington.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    23 people killed in Iraq car bombings

    ABC News reports: Car Bombings in Iraq Kill 23, Injure 56

    A series of car bombs exploded after dusk Wednesday in Baghdad, killing at least 23 people and wounding about 56, police said. Separate attacks earlier in the day killed seven others.
    More blood on Bush and Blair's hands. See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Labours representation in parliament is disproportionately high

    According to this article, from today's Independent, a new study has found that under one system of proportional representation, at the last election, Labour would have had 120 fewer MPs than they have at present, the Tories would have the same number of MPs, and the Lib Dems would gain an extra 83 seats:

    Charles Kennedy yesterday challenged the Prime Minister over his refusal to reform the voting system. In Prime Minister's Questions he asked whether the election result "accurately reflects what the British public voted for on 5 May". Liberal Democrats tabled a motion calling for "urgent action ... to restore and maintain public confidence in the electoral system". The research to be published in the book Britain Votes 2005 showed Labour's number of MPs was disproportionately high given their share of the vote.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Texas man jailed for attack on Islamic centre

    This report from the Herald Sun:

    A US District Court judge sentenced Antonio Flores to 171 months in prison plus three years supervised release for attempting to firebomb the Islamic Center of El Paso in El Paso, Texas, according to the Justice Department. In March, Flores pleaded guilty to a charged that prohibits damaging or attempting to damage religious property and a second charge that bars the use of fire or an explosive device in the commission of a felony, the department said.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Straw says British troops will leave Iraq "as quickly as possible"

    From SpaceWar: British troops out of Iraq as 'quickly as possible'

    Speaking at a conference on the war-scarred country, he also reiterated that Britain was "ashamed" of prisoner abuses carried out by US and British forces, but maintains its call for Iraqi human rights standards to improve. Straw's comments on British troop withdrawals came two days after a top US commander said that the United States will start to pull its forces out by next March.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Brown tells EU "reform or stagnate"

    The Independent has this report:

    Mr Brown, a long-standing critic of what he regards as Europe's "sclerotic" economies, entered the intense debate over the EU's future following the "no" votes on the proposed EU constitution in France and the Netherlands. He argued that they had given a "new urgency" to his drive for economic change. Hinting that some EU powers might be better handled by national governments, he said the two referendums called into question what is the right balance "economically and politically between national decision making and European decision making to fit us to meet these challenges."
    Brown has always been known to be slightly more eurosceptic than Blair. See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    US to send 50,000 tons of food to North Korea

    Apparently, the Bush regime claim the food is meant as a humanitarian gesture, and has nothing at all to do with the nuclear stand off. From MSNBC:

    Seeds and small tools might be provided as well, Ereli said. ''Our objective is to help relieve the suffering of the North Korean people, despite our concerns about the North Korean government's policies.'' U.S. efforts to meet their needs and to halt the weapons program are not linked, Ereli said in announcing the program. ''Our decisions are made on humanitarian considerations solely,'' he said. Almost simultaneously, Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill, who is in charge of the U.S. negotiations effort, said, ''I'm more than willing to meet Chairman Kim Jong Il and hope to meet him.''
    No doubt all that food will help to get things moving again. The Bush regime doesn't do anything without a reason, and certainly does not "do" humanitarian gestures out of the kindness of their hearts. See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Appliances on standby pump 1 million tons of carbon into atmosphere

    According to this article, from today's Independent, 1 million tons of carbon dioxide are pumped into the atmosphere when we leave appliances in standby mode:

    Gadgets apparently turned off, but with their standby lights illuminated, are a little-recognised but significant contributor to global warming, figures released yesterday show. Each year they waste enough electricity to power a city the size of Birmingham for a year or keep Britain's street lights burning for four years, and are a major contributor to the emissions which are polluting the atmosphere. Millions of "sleeping" video recorders, set-top boxes, washing machines and radios in homes and offices accounted for one million tons of carbon emissions, approaching 1 per cent of the nation's total.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    "War on terror" short of trained linguists

    According to this article, from USA Today, the Bush rehimes so called "war on terror" is short of trained linguists:

    Since 9/11, Congress and the White House have pumped money into new and existing programs for training in Arabic and other Middle Eastern languages and cultures. Annual spending has jumped from about $41 million in 2001 to $100 million today. While the funding and programs have grown, the results are, so far, insufficient, according to Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Conn. The government needs to hire 34,000 foreign-language specialists, particularly Arabic speakers, for homeland security, defense and intelligence agencies, he says.
    Perhaps if the US didn't keep on firing linguists for being gay, then they wouldn't have as much of a problem. Remember this?
    Nine United States Army linguists, including six trained to speak Arabic, have been dismissed from the military because they are gay. The soldiers' dismissals come at a time when the US military is facing a critical shortage of translators and interpreters for the fight against terrorism. Seven of the soldiers were discharged after telling superiors they were gay, and another two got into trouble when they were caught together after curfew, said a spokesman for the Servicemembers' Legal Defence Network, which defends homosexuals in the military.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Iraq is a terrorist training ground

    According to this article, from Yahoo, the CIA now believe that Iraq is a better terrorist training ground than Afghanistan was in the 1980's. The Bush regime, and their blood thirsty supporters must be so proud:

    A classified report from the U.S. spy agency says Iraqi and foreign fighters are developing a broad range of deadly skills, from car bombings and assassinations to tightly coordinated conventional attacks on police and military targets, the official said. Once the insurgency ends, Islamic militants are likely to disperse as highly organized battle-hardened combatants capable of operating throughout the Arab-speaking world and in other regions including Europe.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    "Christian" fundamentalists in the US Air Force

    Yahoo reports: Report faults U.S. Air Force Academy on religion

    An April report by the watchdog group Americans United for Separation of Church and State said academy instructors proselytized in classrooms and senior cadets harassed non-Christian junior cadets. Other issues included football coach Fisher DeBerry hanging a locker room banner saying, "I am a member of Team Jesus Christ." The religious bias investigation followed a decade of sexual assaults and harassment against female cadets at the academy that a Pentagon report last December blamed on leadership failures by top Air Force officials. Brady's report found a "perception of religious intolerance" at the academy, and called for new guidelines for commanders and supervisors on appropriate religious expression as well as training in religious diversity and respect. Without offering details, the report said cadets had made "religious slurs" and "disparaging remarks," and some members of the faculty and staff had expressed strong religious beliefs "in ways that others found offensive."
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    Blair & Co blamed on superbugs

    According to this article, from today's Guardian, the Public Accounts Committee has said that Blair & Co have failed to tackle the crisis of hospital acquired infections:

    The public accounts committee, which monitors government spending, said little had been done since its investigation four years ago. "It is astonishing that poor ward cleanliness, lax hand-washing practices, a shortage of isolation facilities and high bed occupancy rates are still plaguing NHS hospitals," the chairman, Edward Leigh, said.
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    War resisters find public support in Canada

    This report from CTV: Campaign to give army deserters refuge persists

    For example, Siksay told CTV's Canada AM early Wednesday, Canadians are widely opposed to the prison abuse reported at the Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay prisons. "They're (also) outraged at the failure to produce any weapons of mass destruction, since that was one of the main reasons for going into this war," he added.
    I've always thought our Canadian cousins were smart people. See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Chertoff's role in torture

    This article from the Information Clearing House archives:

    At the time, few paid attention to this peculiar silencing of Lindh. In retrospect, though, it seems clear that the man coasting toward confirmation as Secretary of Homeland Security effectively prevented early exposure of the Bush/Rumsfeld/Gonzales policy of torture, which we now know began in Afghanistan and later "migrated" to Guantánamo and eventually to Iraq. So anxious was Chertoff to avoid exposure in court of Lindh's torture--which included keeping the seriously wounded and untreated Lindh, who was malnourished and dehydrated, blindfolded and duct-taped to a stretcher for days in an unheated and unlit shipping container, and repeatedly threatening him with death--that defense lawyers say he made the deal a limited-time offer. "It was good only if we accepted it before the suppression hearing," says Harris. "They said if the hearing occurred, all deals were off." He adds, "Chertoff himself was clearly the person at Justice to whom the line prosecutors were reporting. He was directing the whole plea agreement process, and there was at least one phone call involving him."
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    Letters on US torture and abuse

    The following are excerpts of letters, from Americans sent to the Star Tribune:

    The reference to Nazis, gulags and Pot Pol's regime of terror were well placed in the context of his speech. Indeed, if we heard the tales of Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib without knowing the context, we would logically conclude that a ruthless regime with no regard for human rights and international law must be the perpetrator.
    Being a member of the Minnesota Republican Party, this is hard to write, but being a combat veteran requires me to. I would like to thank Sen. Dick Durbin for having the courage to stand up and demand that we close our prison in Guantanamo Bay. Now that Colin Powell has left, there is no one in a leadership position in the Bush administration who has seen combat. If they had, they would realize the lifetime of psychological trauma that is inflicted on our troops when they are required to chain prisoners to the floor -- leaving them in that position so long that they urinate and defecate on themselves. FBI reports tell how some prisoners left in that way have pulled their own hair out.
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    Wolfowitz claims he hasn't read any of the British memos

    According to this article, from the St. Louis Post Dispatch, Wolfowitz has claimed that he hasn't read any of the leaked memos, which show that the Bush regime were plotting regime change in Iraq, at a time when they were claiming in public that an invasion was not inevitable:

    Wolfowitz is the focus of one of the newly disclosed memos, a report by then British Ambassador Christopher Meyer on a March 2002 lunch with Wolfowitz quotes Wolfowitz as questioning the administration's focus on Saddam's alleged possession of WMD - later shown to be untrue - as the principal justification for war. "He took a slightly different position from others in the administration," Meyer reported of Wolfowitz. "The WMD danger was of course crucial to the public case against Saddam, particularly the potential link to terrorism. But Wolfowitz thought it indispensable to spell out in detail Saddam's barbarism." The minutes of the July 2002 meeting of the British war cabinet report Foreign Secretary Jack Straw saying that a U.N. ultimatum demanding that Saddam permit the return of U.N. inspectors could be useful because Saddam's refusal would "help with the legal justification for the use of force."
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Dust off the Nuremberg Files

    Anwaar Hussain, writing this piece, from the Information Clearing House makes a good case for prosecuting the war criminals in charge of the illegal invasion and occupation of Iraq:

    According to a August 2002 report by the UN sub commission, laws which are violated by the use of DU shells include: the Universal Declaration of Human Rights; the Charter of the United Nations; the Genocide Convention; the Convention Against Torture; the four Geneva Conventions of 1949; the Conventional Weapons Convention of 1980; and the Hague Conventions of 1899 and 1907, which expressly forbid employing 'poison or poisoned weapons' and 'arms, projectiles or materials calculated to cause unnecessary suffering'. No legal genius, then, is required to indict George Bush, Tony Blair and a few other coalition leaders with violating: * The United Nations Charter * The 1945 Nuremberg Charter * International humanitarian law * The Geneva Conventions The main indictments could be further buttressed by certain other charges.
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    Can Bush's downfall come soon enough?

    That is the question posed by Mark Morford in this opinion piece, from SFGate:

    Here is the American cynic's view: It is almost too late to care about the lies. It is almost pointless to scream and rant and point fingers of blame. We all know who is to blame, and it ain't Saddam, and it ain't Osama, and it ain't "terror," and it ain't our "freedoms." Bush has driven us so deep into the Iraq hellhole it serves almost no purpose to whine about the obvious deceptions and blatant whorelike pre-9/11 machinations that got us here. We are now, instead, focused on endurance. On gritting teeth and getting through and getting the hell out of this new Vietnam Bush has imbecilically driven us into, all while surviving 3.5 more years of one of the most abusive, secretive cadres of warmongering leadership in American history.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Israeli soldiers think they can act with impunity

    The Globe and Mail reports: Rights group decries 'sham' of Israeli probes

    “Most of Israel's investigations of civilian casualties have been a sham,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “The government's failure to investigate the deaths of innocent civilians has created an atmosphere that encourages soldiers to think they can literally get away with murder.”
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    Brothel owner gets community service

    The Guardian has this report: Community service for £1.2m brothel owner

    O'Brien, 32, was sentenced yesterday to 180 hours' community service for running two high-class brothels - at Upper Berkeley Street and 164a Gloucester Place, a flat she rented in Marylebone - and an escort agency, Marble Arch Girls. She has already spent five months on remand. Scotland Yard detectives, who caught the Kenyan-born O'Brien after a six-month undercover investigation in which they posed as clients before making their excuses and leaving, were amazed at the sheer scale of her sex empire and the huge amount of money she was raking in. Police estimate she pocketed £12,000 a week in profits.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    US rushed to spend billions before "transferring power" to Iraqis

    According to this article, from the Washington Post, in the run up to the official date for the hand over of power to the Iraqis, the US ordered an urgent delivery of more than $4 billion in Iraqi funds:

    Cash was loaded onto giant pallets for shipment by plane to Iraq, and paid out to contractors who carried it away in duffel bags. The report, released at a House of Representatives committee hearing, said despite the huge amount of money, there was little U.S. scrutiny in how these assets were managed. "The disbursement of these funds was characterized by significant waste, fraud and abuse," said Waxman. An audit by the U.S. Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction said U.S. auditors could not account for nearly $8.8 billion in Iraqi funds and the United States had not provided adequate controls for this money.
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    Air base for Iraq war started before "911"

    Liberty Forum has this interesting piece on an air base in Qatar:

    By the summer of 2001 plans to expand Al Udeid into a large-scale installation were well under way. The bidding process for contracts to do the work had all ready begun. On August 9, 2001 bids went out for a "contractor owned-contractor operated" fueling station for both fighter and cargo planes as well as a diesel and automotive gasoline facility for ground vehicles. Also in the bid was a fueling station for mobile aircraft refueling vehicles and a commercial tank truck receiving facility.
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    Births, marriages and deaths database to be moved to India

    According to this article, from today's Guardian, the database of all births, marriages and deaths in England and Wales since 1837 is being moved to India. This is a disgrace, these records should stay in this country, and as the article states, the move will no doubt see inaccuarcies in translations, and maybe see people's personal data at risk:

    The news provoked a furious reaction from trade unions and MPs who have tabled a motion objecting to the deal, which has already been criticised by two Parliamentary committees. Mark Serwotka, general secretary of the Public and Commercial Services Union, said yesterday: "Not only is this highly irregular, but it is outrageous that a government will so readily dismiss the concerns of both houses of parliament in handing over the records of 250 million people to a third party halfway across the globe . "Ministers need to intervene, stopping ONS playing fast and loose with such valuable and sensitive information, and ensure that the population's personal information remains in the hands of the public sector."
    Indeed, private companies should never have access to these huge databases of information, which contain personal details on all of us in England and Wales. See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Saddam longs for his old pal...

    From Democracy Now!:

    [A] group of U.S. soldiers who are guarding Saddam Hussein in prison have told GQ Magazine that he has spoken favorably of Reagan from his jail cell. One soldier recalled Hussein saying "I wish things were like when Ronald Reagan was still president."

    Justice [Nearly] Served

    From Democracy Now!: Klansman Convicted For 1964 Civil Rights Killings

    In Philadelphia Mississippi, a jury has found a former Ku Klux Klansman guilty of felony manslaughter in the killings on three civil rights workers in 1964. The verdict against Edgar Ray Killen came down Tuesday exactly 41 years after James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner were killed. The three had come to Mississippi to investigate the burning of an African-American church. Prosecutors charged that Killen plotted the murders along with other Klansmen and then arranged for a bulldozer to bury the bodies. Killen will be sentenced on Thursday and faces a maximum of 60 years in jail. The verdict was only a partial victory for state prosecutors -- the jury found Killen guilty of felony manslaughter instead of murder. Michael Schwerner's widow -- Rita Schwerner Bender -- said "The fact that some members of the jury could not bring themselves to acknowledge that these were murders, that they were committed with malice, indicates that there are still people among you that choose to look aside, not to see the truth." Edgar Ray Killen's attorneys said they would appeal the jury's verdict.

    Wednesday, June 22, 2005

    "Free Trade"

    The Times reports on a problem with "free trade":

    Yet Mozambique’s sugar industry is in danger. The reason is the European Union’s highly protectionist Common Agricultural Policy, which hits the country’s sugar producers from three directions simultaneously. The CAP subsidises European producers of the much more costly sugar beet by £550 million a year. Much of this goes to companies such as Tate & Lyle in Britain, which alone is estimated to receive £120 million a year. The CAP places import tariffs of more than 200 per cent on cane products from non-EU countries, making it even more difficult for dirt-poor producers such as Ethiopia, Malawi, Zambia and Mozambique to take advantage of low wage costs. And the CAP’s price-support system leads to over-production. As a result roughly five million tonnes of European sugar are dumped on the world market annually, driving prices downwards.
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    Plot to kill Hugo Chavez

    This report from The Australian: Plot against Venezuela president

    Mr Chacon said intelligence reports indicated that opposition members linked to businessman Pedro Carmona - who led a de facto government that replaced Mr Chavez after a failed two-day coup against him in 2002 - are meeting with the Colombian insurgents to hatch an assassination plot against Mr Chavez. The interior chief also linked dissident Venezuelan military staff to the alleged plot, which he said had no link to the Colombian government. He said the assassination plot had become a more pressing concern given Mr Chavez's high popularity rating, which polls say tops 70 per cent.
    And these intelligence reports apparently come at a time when new oil reserves have been discovered in Venezuela. Now, who would benefit from regime change in Venezuela I wonder. See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts