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  • Wednesday, August 31, 2005

    Third Time Lucky? Bog Snorkelling, and Looting

    Well, time has flown by since our last brief journey through just a small part of the blogosphere; so, maybe it's time for another round of blog hopping. Is it going to be "third time lucky" for Ken Clarke? That's the question posed by "A Limey in Bermuda". Only time will tell I guess. "Dudu's dad Desz" makes an interesting post about Malaysian Independence day, if you didn't know today was the day, you do now. Meanwhile, "Yank!", a musical about being gay in the military during World War 2 will debut at the New York Musical Theatre Festival, according to "Intous". Apparently, part of the billing for the musical is how the war became a "great catalyst for bringing gay men and women together". The "Martian Anthropologist" has, quite rightly a low opinion of those looters who have taken advantage of hurricane Katrina. It's a disgrace that some people try to take advantage of others suffering, but I guess that will always happen, unfortunately. On a lighter note, did you know that there is an annual world bog snorkelling championship? "Waxing The Sasquatch" informs us that this years champion is a firefighter from Bristol. Congratulations to Iain Hawkes. And finally, "A la Gauche" does a great public service by asking "Do You Know These Looters?" Lefty is also asking that if anyone has any other images of the looters, to send them in, and they'll be posted. Good idea Lefty. See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Breaking News: Mississippi governor says 90% of homes completely destroyed

    According to various media reports, the governor of the American state of Mississippi, which was badly hit by hurricane Katrina has said that 90% of homes in the worst hit area have been completely destroyed. See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Fresh evidence that Israel knew of "9/11 hijackers"

    Antiwar.com has this very interesting piece:

    Hume: "What about this question of advanced knowledge of what was going to happen on September 11? How clear are investigators that some Israeli agents may have known something?" Cameron: "It's very explosive information, obviously, and there's a great deal of evidence that they say they have collected, none of it necessarily conclusive. It's more when they put it all together. A bigger question, they say, is how could they not have known?"
    Why would Israel not share information on what it had discovered on those "9/11 hijackers" with US authorities? Did they share that information at some point, and was that hushed up by the powers that be, just as "Able Danger" has been hushed up by the current mob. Were the 5 dancing Israelis who were arrested on the 11th September 2001 renegade Mossad agents who were pleased that those terrorist attacks had taken place as it would further their agenda?
    Vince Cannistraro, former chief of operations for counter-terrorism with the CIA, says the red flag went up among investigators when it was discovered that some of the Israelis’ names were found in a search of the national intelligence database. Cannistraro says many in the US intelligence community believed that some of the Israelis were working for Mossad and there was speculation over whether Urban Moving had been “set up or exploited for the purpose of launching an intelligence operation against radical Islamists”. This makes it clear that there was no suggestion whatsoever from within American intelligence that the Israelis were colluding with the 9/11 hijackers – simply that the possibility remains that they knew the attacks were going to happen, but effectively did nothing to help stop them. After the owner vanished, the offices of Urban Moving looked as if they’d been closed down in a big hurry. Mobile phones were littered about, the office phones were still connected and the property of at least a dozen clients were stacked up in the warehouse. The owner had cleared out his family home in New Jersey and returned to Israel. Two weeks after their arrest, the Israelis were still in detention, held on immigration charges. Then a judge ruled that they should be deported. But the CIA scuppered the deal and the five remained in custody for another two months. Some went into solitary confinement, all underwent two polygraph tests and at least one underwent up to seven lie detector sessions before they were eventually deported at the end of November 2001. Paul Kurzberg refused to take a lie detector test for 10 weeks, but then failed it. His lawyer said he was reluctant to take the test as he had once worked for Israeli intelligence in another country.
    This report, from Israel Insider reported in November 2001 that almost 100 Israelis had been arrested in the US following the 11th September 2001 attacks:
    Nearly 100 Israelis have been detained in the United States since the September 11 terror attacks. Most of the Israelis were arrested on visa violations or for working without permits. Some, though, were detained on suspicion of connection to international terrorist organizations.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Beslan mothers to confront Putin

    The Independent has this report:

    For many mothers it was not an easy decision to accept Mr Putin's invitation since he named a date - 2 September - which falls right in the middle of the three-day mourning period. "We had been asking to meet him for a year and yet he chose 2 September," says Mrs Dudieva. "He insulted us." When asked what Mr Putin could say to ease their pain, Mrs Dudieva said: "No words will ever calm us. Only action." Zina Tsarakova, who lost her 12 year-old son, Elbrus, was more blunt. "Putin is to blame most of all. He was supposed to guarantee our security, but didn't keep his word."
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    67 journalists killed in Iraq

    This report from Yahoo: TV Reporter 67th Journalist Killed in Iraq

    The International Federation of Journalists on Monday urged the United Nations to investigate deaths of media staff at the hands of coalition forces in Iraq.
    It certainly seems as though someone should launch an investigation into all these deaths. See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Straw authorised leaked memo

    According to this article, from today's Independent, Jack Straw has admitted that he authorised the recently leaked memo which warned that the illegal invasion of Iraq could anger Muslims. However, he has claimed that the invasion and continued occupation has not led to Britain being at greater risk of terrorist attack. He's a liar, just like the rest of them:

    The letter warned: "British foreign policy and the perception of its negative effect on Muslims globally plays a significant role in creating a feeling of anger and impotence among especially the younger generation of British Muslims. This seems to be a key driver behind recruitment by extremist organisations."
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Breaking News: Up to 600 dead at Iraqi festival

    According to the BBC, there are reports that upto 600 people have died at a festival in northern Baghdad. Apparently, there were around 1 million people who made a pilgrimage to this festival, and a stampede began it seems when rumours began to swirl that there was a suicide bomber among the crowd. Very very sad news. See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    More than 3000 members of Louisiana National Guard are in Iraq

    I wonder where those members of the Louisiana National Guard really should be, in Louisiana, helping to deal with a disaster in the homeland, or in a foreign land, fighting an illegal and unnecessary war that cannot be won. BTC News has this report:

    More than 3,000 members of the Louisiana National Guard’s 256th Brigade serving in Iraq can only watch from Baghdad as Hurricane Katrina bears down on their families and homes in New Orleans and the other south Louisiana communities from which they hail. The deployed soldiers and their equipment, which includes high water vehicles, Humvees and generators, will be sorely missed as Louisiana attempts to prepare for and recover from the historic Category Five storm.
    Citizens of New Orleans should demand that these National Guard troops are returned immediately to deal with something that is much more important than Bush's project in Iraq. See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts Addendum:
    Louisiana has 65 percent of its troops available for state missions; Mississippi, 60 percent; Alabama, 77 percent; and Florida, 74 percent, Guard officials said.

    In other words, Louisiana and Mississippi have more than a third unavailable, Alabama nearly a quarter unavailable, and Florida over a quarter unavailable. [DJEB]

    Ken Livingstone to face disciplinary hearing

    According to this article, from today's Guardian, Ken Livingstone, the mayor of London is to face a disciplinary hearing, following remarks made to a London Evening Standard reporter earlier this year. The board of deputies of British Jews made a complaint about Mr Livingstone's remarks to the Standards Board for England, and they've decided that Ken will have to face a hearing by the adjudication panel:

    Mr Livingstone said last night: "The Standards Board has rejected the allegation that I failed to comply with the GLA's code of conduct in relation to this exchange. The tribunal will now consider the issue of whether I treated a journalist with respect."
    I think it's also worth reminding some just why Ken Livingstone made the comments that he did. This post from February should refresh your memories:
    "Rothermere wrote an article, 'Hurrah for the Blackshirts', in January 1934, in which he praised Mosley for his 'sound, commonsense, Conservative doctrine', and the paper published articles lamenting the number of German Jews entering Britain as refugees after the rise of Nazism. "Rothermere had several meetings with Adolf Hitler, and addressed him as 'My Dear Fuhrer' in letters and telegrams. He argued that the Nazi leader wanted peace, and in 1934 campaigned for the African land confiscated in the Versailles Treaty to be returned to Germany. "Rothermere and the Mail supported [British prime minister] Neville Chamberlain's policy of appeasement, particularly leading up to the Munich Agreement.
    This post sets out exactly what Ken Livingstone said back in February: Mr Livingstone repeated his question and then asked: "What did you do? Were you a German war criminal?" Finegold told the mayor that he was Jewish and therefore found the remark offensive, before asking again how the event had gone. Mr Livingstone replied: "Arr right, well you might be [Jewish], but actually you are just like a concentration camp guard, you are just doing it because you are paid to, aren't you?" Finegold: "Great, I have you on record for that. So, how was tonight?" Mr Livingstone: "It's nothing to do with you because your paper is a load of scumbags and reactionary bigots." Finegold: "I'm a journalist and I'm doing my job. I'm only asking for a comment." Mr Livingstone: "Well work for a paper that doesn't have a record of supporting fascism." See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    British soldiers court martial to begin on Monday

    The Guardian reports: Soldiers to be tried over Iraq death

    The men will be tried for "a joint offence of murder and a second joint charge contrary to section 70 of the Army Act of violent disorder contrary to section 2 of the Public Order Act 1986". The court martial is one of number of cases facing British soldiers. Last month the attorney general, Lord Goldsmith, said three British soldiers would face trial for war crimes against Iraqi detainees under the jurisdiction of the international criminal court.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    More than 95% of gulf oil production lost

    NOLA.com has this report:

    The U.S. Minerals Management Service said 645 of the 819 staffed production platforms in the Gulf were shut down, delaying production of 1.43 million barrels of oil. On a normal day, the Gulf produces 1.5 million barrels. The shutdowns also delayed production of 8.8 billion cubic feet of natural gas, or 88 percent of the Gulf's normal daily gas production of 10 billion cubic feet, the MMS reported from a survey of 68 companies.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    US: World leaders in death and destruction

    According to this article, from the New York Times, the US has once again topped the table for global arms sales, with sales to developing nations apparently soaring. Bush regime supporters will, no doubt be so proud that the USA is once again number 1:

    The United States once again dominated global weapons sales, signing deals worth $12.4 billion in 2004, or 33.5 percent of all contracts worldwide. But that was down from $15.1 billion in 2003. The share of American arms contracts specifically with developing nations was $6.9 billion in 2004, or 31.6 percent of all such deals, up slightly from $6.5 billion in 2003.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    US may need to rely on European oil stockpiles

    In the wake of the devastation caused by hurricane Katrina, it seems likely that the US may have to rely on european oil stockpiles, according to this article, from Forbes.

    Europe will need to send some of its strategic emergency stockpiles of crude to the US if refinery damage caused by Hurricane Katrina proves severe, said International Energy Agency executive director Claude Mandil.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Danes ban CIA from using their airspace

    Well done to Denmark. They at least realise that the US organised "renditions" are in breach of international law. This article from M & C News:

    "The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has made it quite clear to U.S. officials that Denmark does not want its airspace used for purposes that are in conflict with international conventions," wrote Foreign Minister Per Stig Møller in response to an inquiry from a spokesman for military affairs for the Red-Green Alliance.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Heavy fighting reported in western Iraq

    The Bush regime, and Blair & Co would have you believe that things are so much better now in Iraq since the US led illegal invasion of that country. Quite obviously, things aren't "so much better", and it appears that civil war has already started. The New York Times has this report:

    The clashes between the pro-government Bumahl tribe and the pro-insurgent Karabila tribe began after 2 a.m. in the western city of Qaim near the Syrian border, said the officials at the Qaim General Hospital. They spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of retaliation from insurgents. The officials said 20 members of the Bumahl tribe and 15 from Karabila were killed in the clashes. He said dozens were also wounded.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    US bombing raid kills 56 Iraqi civilians

    According to this article, from Xinhua, US bombing raids close to the Syrian border have killed 56 Iraqi civilians:

    The US air strike early on Tuesday near the Iraqi western town of Qaim killed 56 civilians, said an Interior Ministry source. "We have information that the US aircraft pounded areas near the town of Qaim near the Syrian border, destroying four houses and killing a total of 56 people," the source told Xinhua on condition of anonymity. Sixteen people were killed in one of the houses, which was leveled in the attack, he said, adding 40 others were killed in a second house, where three families gathered.
    Oh yes, things are looking so much better in Iraq now that the "glorious liberators" have arrived. See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    All of New Orleans will soon be underwater

    I was watching some news footage last night of the devastation caused by hurricane Katrina, and some survivors accounts, I have to say it was moving to hear people speaking about what they'd been through, although why those people didn't evacuate when they could have done so, I don't know. This report from WDSU.com:

    In an exclusive interview with WDSU anchor Norman Robinson, Nagin said the rising water has caused the generators to stop operating because the water got too high. Due to that, Nagin said he's been advised by the head technician at the sewage and water board that water in the east bank area of Orleans and Jefferson parishes will rise to levels equal to Lake Pontchartrain. "It's going to rise to 3 feet above seal level. For example, St. Charles Avenue is 6 feet below sea level, there will most likely be 9 feet of water on St. Charles Avenue," Nagin said. Also, if residents are in a part of city that is 10 feet below sea level, Nagin said the levels will probably rise to 13 feet of water. He said the "bowl is now filling up" and the entire city will soon be underwater.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Tuesday, August 30, 2005

    "Freepers" planning to disrupt "Bring them home now" tour

    According to a post at the "Free Republic" website, a poster, perhaps appropriately named as "Chickenhawk Warmonger", has announced a call to action for the "Bring them home now" tour. It seems right wing extremist fundamentalists would rather their countrymen and women continue to die, rather than being sent back to America alive. And that lot claim to be "patriots". I don't think so. See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Somali says "it could have been me who got shot that day"

    The Guardian reports on a Somali who was caught up in the London bombing investigation, and how it could so easily have been him murdered, rather than Jean Charles de Menezes:

    "I knew him from the gym, although not well, not 100%," said Mr Omar, 42. " I lent him my card. But I have no idea why it was in the rucksack." An army surveillance specialist, on attachment to Scotland Yard, had begun watching the flats where Mr Omar lived at 6.30am on the day after the failed attacks. Mr Omar was living in a second-floor flat in the block, while Mr de Menezes was on the first floor. Police had decided to monitor everyone leaving through the front door. When Mr de Menezes emerged the soldier was, according to his later statement, relieving himself, and was unsure whether he had been watching either Mr Omar or Mr Osman.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Must lying and dying be the American way?

    This piece is interesting, from the Post Gazette:

    Periodically, every nation needs to remind itself what its values are. Like Watergate, the slow unraveling of lies may undermine the Bush administration. From "I cannot tell a lie," Washington and "honest Abe," truth has been paramount in our national identity. We need to remind ourselves what every schoolchild knows: Values count. Lying is not OK.
    Quite obviously, some people's "morals" include believing that it is perfectly ok to lie. See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    How gullible are you?

    It's a matter of fact that there are plenty of people willing to swallow any old load of rubbish. But, just how willing are you to swallow myths, deceptions, and outright lies? Take the gullibility test to find out. See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    We dreamed up "Al Qaeda", let's not do it again with "evil ideology"

    The Guardian has this very worthwhile piece, by Adam Curtis, the writer and producer of "The Power of Nightmares":

    Modern Islamism is a complex political movement with a history that goes back more than 50 years. Its most influential ideologist was an Egyptian school inspector, Sayyid Qutb. In the 50s he wrote a series of books that put forward a powerful critique of modern western culture and democracy, and called for a new type of utopian society in Muslim lands in which Islam would play a central political role. Out of this has come a movement for revolutionary change in the Islamic world that includes an extraordinary range of groupings and variations on Qutb's original arguments. It is only a tiny minority in the Islamist movement who have developed these ideas into a politics that advocates terrorism against the west. Historians of Islamism have shown that this minority, grouped initially around Osama bin Laden and Ayman Zawahiri in the late 90s, turned to attacking the west only because of the failure of the wider movement to achieve its revolutionary aims in the Muslim world.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Breaking News: Benjamin Netanyahu to challenge Ariel Sharon for leadership

    The BBC has just reported that Benjamin Netanyahu has announced that he will be challenging Ariel Sharon for the leadership of the Likud party. See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    So called "Christian" extremists want to create a constitutional crisis in America

    Common Dreams has this interesting article, reporting on the so called "Christian" extremists in the US who are hoping to overturn the US constitution and create an American theocracy. Watch out America, if these people get their way there'll be regular public stonings, people will have to cut off the part of their body that they've "sinned" with, children will be forced to believe that dinosaurs roamed the garden of Eden with Adam and Eve, and that someone, somehow managed to walk the dinosaurs two by two onto Noah's Ark. See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Iraqi women give Bush the finger

    The Independent reports on the lady who made that famous salute some time ago now:

    "When we came back from exile, we thought we were going to improve rights and the position of women. But look what has happened: we have lost all the gains we made over the past 30 years. It's a big disappointment. Human rights should not be linked to Islamic sharia law at all. They should be listed separately in the constitution."
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    The growing influence of "evangelicals" in the US military

    The Washington Post reports on the worrying influence of so called "Christian evangelicals" on the US military. I wonder if those so called "Christians" have ever heard the phrase "Thou shalt not kill"? You cannot be both a "Christian" and engage in acts which promote killing.

    The growing influence of evangelical Protestants is roiling the military chaplain corps, where their desire to preach their faith more openly is colliding with long-held military traditions of pluralism and diversity. After accusations this summer that evangelical chaplains, faculty and coaches were pressuring cadets at the Air Force Academy, the Air Force yesterday issued new guidelines on respect for religious minorities. In the Navy, evangelical Protestant chaplains are fighting what they say is a legacy of discrimination in hiring and promotions, and they are bridling at suggestions they not pray publicly "in the name of Jesus."
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Was the 1961 Bay of Pigs invasion an act of terrorism?

    Certainly, some would consider US actions in 1961 as terroristic in nature, Democracy Now has this:

    Also at stake in today's hearing is whether the failed 1961 Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba should be considered an act of U.S. terrorism. Judge Abbott asked lawyers in the case to prepare briefs on whether Posada provided material support for terrorist activities. He participated in the Bay of Pigs invasion as a CIA operative. Posada is also accused of orchestrating the 1976 bombing of a Cubana Airlines plane, killing 73 people including the entire Cuban Olympic fencing team.
    But of course, some would say that the US would never harbour or support terrorists. Sorry, that's just not true. The US has been, and most likely, will continue to be a "state sponsor of terrorism". Pictured above, Luis Posada and Osama bin Laden. The connection? Both have been supported by the US at some stage. See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Reuters says US should release journalist

    According to this article, from Reuters, the news agency is demanding that the US release an injured journalist it is holding captive:

    "Reuters demands the immediate release of Haider Kadhem," Global Managing Editor David Schlesinger said. "We fail to understand what reason there can be for his continued detention more than a day after he was the innocent victim of an incident in which his colleague was killed." Lieutenant Colonel Robert Whetstone, a military spokesman, said: "He is being questioned by our investigating officer."
    Most likely he is being told to keep his mouth shut by US forces. See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    New label on US based terrorist training camp doesn't change a thing

    This piece is a worthwhile read, from Alternet. It takes a look at the US based terrorist training camp at Fort Benning, Georgia, which has harboured and supported terrorists and dictators for decades:

    Since 1990, SOA Watch has worked "to close the SOA/WHINSEC and to change oppressive U.S. foreign policy that the SOA represents." The organization points to hundreds of cases where WHINSEC graduates have been found guilty of or implicated in human rights abuses, including the November 1989 killing of six Jesuit priests and two associates in El Salvador and the February 2005 murder of eight members of the San Jose de Apartado Peace Community in Colombia.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Ken Clarke, the anti war Tory leader?

    As you may know, the battleground for the Tory leadership race is looking pretty crowded already. One issue however on which Ken Clarke could really campaign on is his opposition to the illegal invasion of Iraq, and it would be rather unusual for the Tories to have a leader who was not gung ho about going to war. The Independent has this article:

    One MP who supports Mr Clarke said yesterday: "The fact is that Ken got it right on Iraq and others got it wrong. If he had been Tory leader, the political landscape would have looked very different. We could have made the running on the issue at the general election. Ken wasn't a lone voice. A lot of Tories had doubts but went along with the leadership."
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Arizona Daily Star rids itself of Ann Coulter

    According to this editorial, from the Arizona Daily Star, readers, and staff at the news outlet have had enough of the right wing extremist militant, Ann Coulter, and have decided to get rid of the rubbish (I believe across the pond they would say "throw out the trash"):

    Finally, we've decided that syndicated columnist Ann Coulter has worn out her welcome. Many readers find her shrill, bombastic and mean-spirited. And those are the words used by readers who identified themselves as conservatives.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    US senators detained at Russian airport for several hours

    The Democratic Daily has this piece:

    “I am in Ukraine with Sen. Lugar,” Lugar’s spokesman, Andy Fisher, said in a message sent from a personal messaging device Sunday afternoon. He said Russian officials refused to let the plane take off for three hours and insisted on boarding it. “They did not. The border patrol finally got orders to let us go,” Fisher said.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Senior US army auditor fired after whistleblowing on Halliburton abuse

    According to this article, from today's Independent, a senior US army auditor has been fired from her job, following her revealtions last year that the decision to award a no bid contract to a Halliburton subsidiary was "the most blatant and improper abuse I have witnessed"

    As the senior civilian in charge of procurement at the Army Corps of Engineers, Ms Greenhouse developed a reputation as a stickler for proper procedure and won high marks in her performance reviews. Those reviews began deteriorating at almost the same time she began speaking out against the KBR contract, causing her lawyer to accuse the Pentagon of malicious retaliation.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Are you a "terrorist"?

    The chances are, if you have attended a pro peace demonstration, US authorities consider you a "terrorist". According to this piece, from Raw Story, Bush's Brown Shirts consider those involved in peaceful anti war activities as "engaging in terrorist activities":

    "Labeling political advocacy as 'terrorist activity' is a threat to legitimate dissent which has never been considered a crime in this country," said Kary Moss, Executive Director of the ACLU of Michigan. "Spying on people who simply disagree with our government's policies is a tremendous waste of police resources." The FBI report was obtained through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request filed by the ACLU of Michigan on behalf of nine local organizations and individuals, including Direct Action. ACLU affiliates in 15 additional states have filed similar requests on behalf of more than 100 groups and individuals.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Venezuela to provide America's poor with discounted heating oil, and free eye operations

    This report from Venezuelanalysis.com: Venezuela to Provide Discounted Heating Oil and Free Eye Operations to U.S. Poor

    “There is a lot of poverty in the U.S. and don’t believe that everything reflects the American Way of Life. Many people die of cold in the winter. Many die of heat in the summer, many unemployed and that die of starvation,” said Chavez in explaining why Venezuela was interested in providing discounted heating oil to the U.S. poor. “We could have an impact on seven to eight million persons,” he added.
    No doubt the Bush regime won't like this plan to help America's poor. After all, they only represent the rich. See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Another blaze in Paris

    It's almost like someone, or a group is deliberately targeting immigrants in Paris with the number of fires which have killed African immigrants in France now. The Independent has this report:

    Six people, including a six-year-old child, were killed when a fire broke out in a rundown Paris apartment building where African immigrants were living. The latest fire comes just days after a deadly blaze killed 17 Africans in the French capital.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Rory Blackhall's suspected murderer was bailed

    The Independent today reports on Rory Blackhall's suspected murderer, Simon Harris being found dead yesterday at his home. Simon Harris was apparently due to appear in court on charges of assaulting and abusing young girls, and an arrest warrant had been issued following his failure to appear at a pre trial hearing:

    "If it was him who killed that little boy we will all sleep better at nights now," said Margaret Newland, a local resident and mother of three. "But you have to wonder why he was allowed out on bail if he was already facing sex charges. The courts are supposed to protect people. Maybe if he had been kept locked up instead of being let out then that wee boy might still be alive."
    Indeed. See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Most terrorist plots uncovered in the US planned by white right wing extremists

    The Southern Poverty Law Centre has this: Terror From the Right

    In the 10 years since the April 19, 1995, bombing in Oklahoma City, in fact, the radical right has produced some 60 terrorist plots. These have included plans to bomb or burn government buildings, banks, refineries, utilities, clinics, synagogues, mosques, memorials and bridges; to assassinate police officers, judges, politicians, civil rights figures and others; to rob banks, armored cars and other criminals; and to amass illegal machine guns, missiles, explosives, and biological and chemical weapons. What follows is a list of key right-wing plots of the last 10 years.
    See the above link for more. See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    War may interfere with Katrina cleanup

    Something I was wondering about... From Democracy Now!

    The war in Iraq may... play a role in the recovery and cleanup of the hurricane. Earlier this month the Louisiana National Guard publically complained that too much of its equipment was in Iraq. The local ABC news affiliate reported dozens of high water vehicles, Humvees, refuelers and generators are now abroad.

    Hurricane Katrina

    New Orleans has been ordered evacuated, though the potential for loss of life, particularly in the poorer communities remains. Right now the category five hurricane (the strongest on the Saffir-Simpson hurricane scale) with its 28 foot storm surge is just off the coast and is headed directly for New Orleans. Another problem with Katrina is that about one third of the oil that comes into the U.S. goes through the city. Offshore, one million barrels a day in production have ceased. Refineries will likely close. Al this means that the price of oil will likely hit $70+ per barrel. A further problem with this is that there is a potential ecological disaster from the oil and chemical industry in the region.

    Update: Katrina has been downgraded to a category 4, though it is still a major storm. Update: The top of the Superdome, being used as a shelter for over 10,000 people, now has a hole about 1/12 the total size of the whole roof. Update: It seems as though one of the levies has been significantly breached and that New Orleans is flooding.

    Monday, August 29, 2005

    Key evidence in Lockerbie trial was fabricated

    It seems, according to this article, from the Scotsman, that a key piece of evidence in the Lockerbie bombing trial, which found a Libyan to be guilty for the murder of 270 people, was fabricated. A former highly ranked police officer has stated that the CIA was involved in planting evidence to implicate Libya in the bombing:

    The police chief, whose identity has not yet been revealed, gave the statement to lawyers representing Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed Al Megrahi, currently serving a life sentence in Greenock Prison. The evidence will form a crucial part of Megrahi's attempt to have a retrial ordered by the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission (SCCRC). The claims pose a potentially devastating threat to the reputation of the entire Scottish legal system.
    This raises some very interesting questions. 1 - Exactly how far are US authorities prepared to go in order to initiate a frame up? 2 - Why have the Scottish police been willing to cover this up for so long? 3 - Who in the British establishment knew about this frame up? 4 - If British police forces have been compliant in such a criminal act as Lockerbie, then what other acts have they been compliant in? See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Could England clinch the Ashes for the first time since 1987?

    In the 3rd test, England looked like they were on course for victory, until rain stopped play, and caused a draw with Australia. England came through however in the 4th test to gain a 2-1 lead in the Ashes series. Could this be England's year? The Guardian has this report:

    In the whole of the last century only one team won a Test match after being asked to follow on in the second innings. That was England at Headingley in 1981, when Ian Botham inspired a famous defeat of Australia. For an hour yesterday evening it looked as though Australia might be about to inflict revenge on a grand scale.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    £700,000 of British aid to Malawi spent on US workers

    According to this article, from today's Guardian, charities are furious following revelations that a British government department frivolously spent more than £700,000 on hotel bills and meals for American workers in Malawai. That money was meant for those who really needed it, not to make American workers in Malawi more comfortable:

    The BBC inquiry claims that one project funded by the DfID flew in pens and notebooks from Washington, instead of buying them locally. Patrick Watt, of the charity ActionAid, told the programme: "This is another example of aid money not getting down to people who most urgently need to benefit from it. It's phantom aid, when what Malawi needs is real aid." Peter Hardstaff, head of policy of the World Development Movement, said: "The government is spending money on consultants that do not benefit the country.
    And what on earth is our Department for International Development doing paying out for American citizens' expenses. If anyone should pay their expenses it should be the companies they work for in America, not the British government, and ultimately, British tax payers. See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Bush regime refused to fund New Orleans flood and hurricane defences in February

    This piece is interesting in light of Hurricane Katrina, don't you think. I hope citizens of New orleans will now remember how the Bush regime have preferred to spend their money on death and destruction in foreign lands, rather than on trying to save their own citizens' lives:

    The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has identified millions of dollars in flood and hurricane protection projects in the New Orleans district. Chances are, though, most projects will not be funded in the president's 2006 fiscal year budget to be released today. In general, funding for construction has been on a downward trend for the past several years, said Marcia Demma, chief of the New Orleans Corps' programs management branch.
    Let's just go over that again. American citizens' lives have been put on the line because the Bush regime would much rather fork out for an unnecessary, illegal and unjustified crime against humanity overseas rather than pay out for flood and hurricane defences. Citizens of New Orleans should be furious. See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    The "Christian" preachers of hate

    I do hope that Blair & Co are planning on a level playing field for this "preachers of hate" deportation idea. Somehow, I very much doubt it, unfortunately. This piece from today's Guardian:

    One aspect of the preachers of hate debate which has gone unnoticed is that any new laws would have to apply to Christian preachers as well as Muslims.
    See all recent "A LogicalVoice" posts

    Reuters soundman murdered by US sniper

    Yahoo reports on more trigger happy Americans in Iraq:

    Two Iraqi colleagues who arrived on the scene minutes after the shooting were also briefly detained, then released, Reuters said. They said that Khaled was still alive when they reached him, and that US troops refused to give him water despite the blazing sun. "They (US soldiers) treated us like dogs. They made us... including Khaled who was wounded and asking for water, stay in the sun on the road," Reuters quoted a television crew member Mohammed Idriss as saying.
    More "civilised" behaviour, from the so called "glorious liberators". No doubt the flag waving morons will be pleased. See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    The "drink sodden, former Trotskyist popinjay", versus "Gorgeous George"

    Who will win the battle between Christopher Hitchens and George Galloway in New York? I'm sure whatever is said, it should be an interesting debate. If George Galloway performs anywhere close to how he performed in fornt of that US senate committee, then people are in for a real treat. This report from the Guardian:

    Not since the Rumble in the Jungle, when Muhammad Ali fought George Foreman in Kinshasa in 1974, can there have been such an eagerly anticipated punch-up as the one due to take place in New York in a fortnight. Odds as to whether the bout will go the distance, or on who can deliver a knockout punch, are already being offered as ring-side seats are sought.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    A "bumpy ride" for police over Jean Charles de Menezes murder

    Police deserve a rough time over the murder of Jean Charles de Menezes. This report from today's Guardian:

    It has emerged that, in an email sent to the British Association of Women in Policing the week after the shooting, she said she was prepared for the forthcoming investigation but conceded it would not be an easy time.
    Above left - Jean Charles de Menezes. Above Right - Osman Hussain. Can you tell the difference? Apparently, the police couldn't. See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Sunday, August 28, 2005

    Mystery of why GIs killed in Iraq SOLVED!

    Why are soldiers getting killed in Iraq? It turns out it's that goddam God. It seems God has been expressing his homophobic rage by doing in soldiers in Iraq. From AP via Yahoo: Church: God Punishing GIs Over Gays

    SMYRNA, Tenn. - Members of a church say God is punishing American soldiers for defending a country that harbors gays, and they brought their anti-gay message to the funerals Saturday of two Tennessee soldiers killed in Iraq.

    ...

    The Rev. Fred Phelps, founder of Westboro Baptist in Kansas, contends that American soldiers are being killed in Iraq as vengeance from God for protecting a country that harbors gays. The church, which is not affiliated with a larger denomination, is made up mostly of Phelps' children, grandchildren and in-laws.

    The church members carried signs and shouted things such as "God hates fags" and "God hates you."

    About 10 church members protested near Smyrna United Methodist Church and nearly 20 stood outside the National Guard Armory in Ashland City. Members have demonstrated at other soldier funerals across the nation.

    Ok, using the funeral of others to express your mental illness is too much. How do these twits get created? Apparently it's taught within the Phelps family.

    "I thought it was terrorists firing into the crowd"

    Undoubtedly, the people who murdered Jean Charles de Menezes on the 22nd July behaved like terrorists. This report from the Times:

    Sir Ian Blair, the Metropolitan Police Commissioner, wrote to Sir John Gieve, the permanent secretary at the Home Office, on the morning of the shooting, asking him to stall the IPCC inquiry because of sensitive intelligence issues, a move denounced by relatives of the dead man as an attempted cover-up.
    6 days passed before the IPCC was allowed to begin their investigation into the murder. There was obviously a cover up. See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    A gym in a pub, will it catch on?

    According to this article, from today's Independent, Ladypace is looking for pub function rooms to turn into all women gyms. A rather novel idea:

    After opening a gym in a function room above a pub in Braintree, Essex, Ladypace is on the hunt for other pub function rooms suitable for its all-women micro gyms. Ladypace is the UK distributor of the US-made Pace fitness equipment. This is used at Curves, an international fitness franchise which has over 9,000 mini-gyms worldwide. These are almost exclusively women-only centres, promoting a 30-minute, intensive, fat-burner workout.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Pat Robertson and Ann Coulter are owed big thank yous

    The Huffington post has this worthwhile read, explaining why right wing extremist fundamentalists, Pat Robertson, and Ann Coulter are owed big thank yous by Americans:

    We owe Pat Robertson and Ann Coulter a big thank you. These two American mullahs of the far (f)right are helping to expose how The Bush Team is in the extreme and we who question this war – most prominently Cindy Sheehan – are in the mainstream.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    BBC political editor says a large amount of journalism is repetitive garbage

    The Sunday Herald brings us news that the BBC's political editor, Andrew Marr has said that journalism is in a terrible state, and a large amount of it is repetitive garbage. Apparently, Andrew Marr believes that journalists need to regain the trust of the public:

    “Not enough reporters are actually going out and getting stories,” complained Marr, who has won respect and admiration for his quirky, irreverent but insightful style as the Beeb’s political editor. He said that instead they are getting “squirted” stories off the internet. “It’s also just laziness,” said Marr.
    He has made a good point here. Most so called "journalists" aren't exactly investigative in nature, and do tend to just repeat the information given to them by Blair & Cos spin doctors without actually checking any of the claims. For example, prior to the illegal invasion of Iraq, the media merely repeated the claims of Blair & Co, mostly without question, which was a disgrace. See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Katrina aims for the US again

    The Independent has this report on hurricane Katrina:

    After wreaking havoc across southern Florida on Friday, leaving seven dead, Katrina was picking up strength over the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico and could return as soon as tomorrow. The storm was upgraded to a category three "major hurricane" in the course of the day, meaning it carried winds of more than 120mph. There are fears it could bounce back as a category four - a hurricane of potentially catastrophic intensity with winds of 130mph.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    "Patriotic pins" made in China

    Oh, I do like ironies, this one is quite delicious, from the Arizona Daily Star:

    Billy Shields, a member of the commission formed to build the memorial, said Sid Leluan, owner of Lapel Pins and More, gave the commission a great deal, minting them for 61 cents each. But Shields said he didn't know until the pins were already ordered - and, in fact, on their way to the commission - that they were not being made at the Tucson firm. Gov. Janet Napolitano, who last month publicly asked Arizonans to buy the pins, said no one told her before her press conference that they were made in China. In fact, speakers at the press conference made a big point of telling reporters how the pins were made by a Tucson firm. But Napolitano said she doesn't want concerns about where the pins were manufactured to become an issue.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Iraqis want Saddam Hussein back

    Yahoo has this: Iraqis hold up a poster of ousted President Saddam Hussein during a demonstration in the streets of Baquba, 60 kilometers northeast of Baghdad August 26, 2005. Thousands of Iraqis demonstrated in Baquba calling for the return of ousted President Saddam Hussein. See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Tessa Towell attacks 24 hour drinking propaganda

    According to this article, from today's Independent, the culture secretary, Tessa Jowell has attacked the type of hedonistic attitude adopted by Blair & Cos spin doctors in relation to 24 hour drinking laws:

    This is the first time a Cabinet minister has admitted openly that serious errors were made in promoting Labour's policy on extended pub opening hours. It comes as the Department for Culture, Media and Sport faces mounting criticism for pushing ahead with round-the-clock drinking, despite warnings from chief police officers and prominent doctors that it will lead to more binge drinking and yobbish behaviour.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Light hearted dating book earns author "Nazi" tag

    According to this article, from today's Observer, a light hearted book written by an author who was encouraged by a Jewish friend to write a book on non Jews dating Jewish men has attracted some controversy:

    Despite her praise for Jewish men, she has been the target of vitriolic attacks from Jewish women. At a book reading in New York she was accused of being anti-semitic and like a Nazi. Letter writers in Israel have bristled at what they see as Grish's presumption. Darlene Jospe, from Jerusalem, warned the writer not to think too much of herself because she has managed to attract so many Jewish men.
    I think it's going overboard to describe the author as being "anti semitic" and a "Nazi". I do feel that those terms are thrown around by some without any real thought. See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Would pro war officials send their children to die in Iraq?

    That appears to be a question the US media is increasingly asking, according to this piece, from the Editor and Publisher:

    Gov. Mitt Romney of Massachusetts, a strong backer of Bush policy in Iraq -- who has give sons age 24 to 35 -- heard the query yesterday, from a Boston Herald reporter. Romney, who has promoted National Guard recruitment, replied, a bit angrily, that he has not urged his own sons to enlist -- and isn't sure whether they would. The Herald tossed the question as Romney as he was honored by the Massachusetts National Guard. "No, I have not urged my own children to enlist. I don't know the status of my childrens' potentially enlisting in the Guard and Reserve," Romney said, his voice tinged with anger, the Herald reported.
    If these politicians aren't willing to send their own children to die in Iraq, then they shouldn't expect others to send theirs. See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Blair warned in 2004 over link between Iraq war and extremism

    This report from today's Observer:

    Attached to the letter is a strategy document, also obtained by The Observer, which reveals further concerns. It says Britain is now viewed as a 'crusader state', on a par with America as a potential target. 'Muslim resentment towards the West is worse than ever,' the document, 'Building Bridges with Mainstream Islam', says. 'This was previously focused on the US, but the war in Iraq has meant the UK is now seen in similar terms - both are now seen by many Muslims as "Crusader states".
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    George Galloway's speaking tour

    The Traprock Peace Centre has details of George Galloway's speaking tour of the US: George Galloway, British MP, Announces September Tour of United States to Speak Against War in Iraq. See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Bush regime offended by "respect for nature"

    According to this article, from the San Francisco Chronicle, the Bush regime has objected to a proposal to express "respect to nature" at a UN conference next month in New York:

    That phrase was included in a draft statement of principles to be agreed to by 175 heads of state and government attending a Sept. 14 United Nations summit on poverty and U.N. reform. The statement invited leaders to embrace a set of "core values" that unite the international community, including respect for human rights, freedom, equality, tolerance, multilateralism and respect for nature.
    Unsurprisingly many are puzzled why the US would not wish to express its respect for nature. See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Operation Yellow Elephant

    This is interesting, from Neat Things. Watch the video as college Republicans make their excuses as to why they won't serve in Iraq in a war they support. See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    US releases almost 1000 Abu Ghraib captives

    Yahoo reports that the US has released almost 1000 of its victims who were languishing at the Abu Ghraib torture chamber. No doubt that'll mean that the US will want to fill those empty cells quickly again, those sadists running the torture chamber quite obviously won't be able to cope for long with less people to abuse:

    "Those chosen for release are not guilty of serious, violent crimes — such as bombing, torture, kidnapping, or murder — and all have admitted their crimes, renounced violence, and pledged to be good citizens of a democratic Iraq," the U.S. statement said.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    "For them, the Flintstones is a documentary"

    According to this article, from the Los Angeles Times, some rather loopy types, who perhaps would be better off in a padded cell have been attempting to sell the myth that dinosaurs lived in the garden of Eden with Adam and Eve, and, according to these rather disturbed individuals, someone managed to march all the dinosaurs, two by two onto Noah's Ark:

    "Dinosaurs lived in the Garden of Eden, and Noah's Ark? Give me a break," said Kevin Padian, curator at the University of California Museum of Paleontology in Berkeley and president of National Center for Science Education, an Oakland group that supports teaching evolution. "For them, 'The Flintstones' is a documentary." Tyrannosaurus rex and his gigantic brethren find themselves on both sides of the nation's renewed debate over the Earth's origins and the continuing fight over whether Charles Darwin's "The Origin of Species" or Genesis best explains the development of life.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Shakespeare, the rebel?

    This piece from today's Observer is rather interesting, in that it takes a look at claims made that Shakespeare's works were filled with code:

    Asquith, the wife of a British diplomat who was posted to Moscow and Kiev during the Cold War, says that while she was living in the Soviet Union she began to understand how 'dissident meanings' worked in live theatre. Shakespeare, she claims, adopted some of the more general Catholic code terms that were current, such as the use of the words 'tempest' or 'storm' to signify England's troubles, but he also used new cyphers. Asquith argues, for example, that his obsession with the theme of romantic love was much more than a crowd pleaser.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Senior Iranian cleric hails Islamic state of Iraq

    Well, it seems that there are many clerics happy that the Bush regime have turned a relative secular society into something more akin to a theocracy. Iran Focus reports that a senior right wing cleric in Iran has praised the establishment of an Islamic state of Iraq. It seems Bush and the Iranian clerics are in agreement for a change:

    Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati, who heads the powerful ultra-conservative Guardian Council, told worshippers in Tehran’s Friday prayers, “Fortunately, after years of effort and expectations in Iraq, an Islamic state has come to power and the constitution has been established on the basis of Islamic precepts”. “We must congratulate the Iraqi people and authorities for this victory”, he said.
    Oh, but he forgot to thank Bush and Blair for allowing this to happen, credit really should go to them as well. See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    It's the values, er somethin' like that

    Holy #%*&! Bush has a mouth on him! I knew from past quotes of his that he was a #%*&ing potty mouth, but these new ones set a new standard. This interesting set of quotes comes to us from Capitol Hill Blue via Jennifer's Island of Serenity:

    I’m not meeting again with that goddamned bitch,” Bush screamed at aides who suggested he meet again with Cindy Sheehan, the war-protesting mother whose son died in Iraq. “She can go to hell as far as I’m concerned!

    Bush, administration aides confide, frequently explodes into tirades over those who protest the war, calling them “motherfucking traitors.” He reportedly was so upset over Veterans of Foreign Wars members who wore “bullshit protectors” over their ears during his speech to their annual convention that he told aides to “tell those VFW assholes that I’ll never speak to them again if they can’t keep their members under control.

    ...

    Who gives a flying fuck what the polls say,” he screamed at a recent strategy meeting. “I’m the President and I’ll do whatever I goddamned please. They don’t know shit.” [Bloody hell! He's as bad as Dick Cheyney! - DJEB]

    ... Aides say the President often “flips the bird” to show his displeasure and tells aides who disagree with him to “go to hell” or to “go fuck yourself. ”

    Saturday, August 27, 2005

    Look at the humans daddy

    This is quite a different piece, from the Independent:

    The spectacle of five of the planet's most advanced great ape species hanging about in swimwear on Bear Mountain, the 91-year-old Grade II-listed terraces that once housed polar bears and grizzlies, is the opening salvo in a campaign by the Zoological Society of London (ZSL), which runs the zoo, to highlight humanity's status as a "plague species". Nearly 15,600 separate species are believed to be threatened with extinction caused by human activity.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Fox TV sued over intolerable working conditions

    According to this article, from today's Guardian, Fox TV is being sued by writers who say that working conditions are intolerable:

    "We've heard stories of people breaking down from the strain, of men and women working from nine in the morning until after midnight with no meal breaks, of location shoots where eight people were required to work in hot trailers meant for four," he said. Fox TV, and Rocket Science Laboratories, the company it contracted to hire the writers, have refused to comment on the lawsuit, which was lodged with the superior court in Los Angeles and seeks unpaid wages, compensation and punitive damages.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Sex crazed Brits run amok in Zakynthos

    The Guardian has this report:

    The island's Socialist MP, Dimitirios Varvarigos, told the Guardian that the "shameless Britons" should be extradited and tried for committing "gross public indecency", a charge that carries a three-year jail term. "It would be very useful if Britain could offer us advice and police support as it did in Faliraki," the politician said. This summer, the Federation of British Tour Operators promised Greek authorities that steps had been taken to ensure there would be no repeat of the alcohol-fuelled antics that brought notoriety to Faliraki.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    It's carnival time

    And London, as usual will most likely put on quite a show. However, there is some bickering behind the scenes, as the Guardian today reports. Meanwhile, Manchester's gay pride event takes place this weekened, and, it seems the army will be taking part this year in an attempt to recruit some cannon fodder. See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Hospital superbug struck almost 45,000 people last year

    According to this article, from the Guardian today, recently released figures show that almost 45,000 patients were infected with the Clostridium Difficile superbug, and that nearly 3 times more patients have died from that, than from MRSA. Some worrying figures there I think:

    Charities and opposition politicians blamed the government for giving inadequate priority to hospital hygiene, but the department said its decision to publish the facts was an indication of its commitment to raising standards. Officials said 44,488 patients, most of them over the age of 65, had been infected by the bacterium in hospital in England last year, up by 25%.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    US tv stations won't air Cindy Sheehan advert

    According to this article, from the Huffington Post, US tv stations are refusing to air the Cindy Sheehan advert, claiming there is no proof that Bush lied about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction. I don't recall those tv stations saying the same thing when the rogue regime in Washington were claiming that Saddam Hussein had all those dangerous weapons. See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Galloway to tour US with Jane Fonda

    According to this piece, from the After Downing Street website, George Galloway will be touring the US with Jane Fonda. I'm sure the rabid right wingers over there will like that:

    Mr Galloway, whose speaking tour, Stand Up and Be Counted, starts in Boston on 13 September and will end at a rally scheduled for 24 September in Washington, said he had received more than 20,000 messages from US residents asking him to return. He will also be promoting a new book, Mr Galloway Goes To Washington.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    American Taliban at it again

    It seems the apparent leader of the American taliban movement, Pat Robertson has been spreading his special brand of "Jesus' love". According to this piece, he's advocated death by stoning for UFO enthusiasts:

    Robertson used the news of the July 4th Mars landing to promote his extreme beliefs. A segment on the July 8, 1997 broadcast of The 700 Club featured news of the Mars Pathfinder mission. Employing the historical event as a starting point, the program delved into the possibility of the existence of UFOs and space aliens. While Robertson viewed the space program with suspicion, on a more serious note, he launched into a diatribe against those who entertain the existence of space aliens and UFOs. He said, in a rambling discourse, that if such things exist, they are simply demons trying to lead people away from Christ.
    It must be wonderful to be filled with somuch love and compassion like that, don't you think? See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    The Bush regime is rotten to the core

    This from the Niagra Falls Reporter: A storm of anti-war protests and sentiment is sweeping across the nation. Finally, reality and truth are trumping President George W. Bush's lies. Even the perpetual propaganda machine of the corporate media can no longer manufacture consent for Bush's monstrously bad policies and decisions. See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Were the 7th July London bombers' movements physically possible?

    According to research carried out, as presented at the Iraq website here, a claim has been made that it would have been physically impossible for the London bombers to have been photographed at 7:22 AM at Luton, then to have managed to arrive at Kings Cross at 8:26 AM prior to being filmed. The site says that the train the police claim the bombers caught on that day was actually cancelled, so they could not have possible arrived at Kings Cross at 8:26 AM, and it would not have been possible for the men to have reached the right platform to have managed to catch the 7:24 AM train from Luton. This does raise some interesting questions. See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Clinton never told about Able Danger?

    This piece is interesting, from Daily Kos:

    Able Danger was disbanded in Feb. 2001 when the Neo-Cons took power. Don't know who gave order but it must have been Rice or Cheney. We know Clarke demoted by Zelikow on Rice's order at that same time, along with most if not all counter-terror programs and recommendations started by Clinton and Gore.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Israel orders seizure of Palestinian land

    According to this article, from the Seattle Times, Israel has ordered the stealing of more Palestinian land, under the guise of building their separation barrier:

    The plan would place Maaleh Adumim, five miles east of Jerusalem, inside the security barrier Israel is building around the West Bank. The settlement, which has a population of about 30,000, has been cited repeatedly by Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon as among the Jewish population centers in the West Bank that Israel intends to keep if and when the Palestinians achieve statehood. The landowners have the right to appeal the orders to Israel's Supreme Court, and Palestinian officials indicated they would do so.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Guantanamo captives restart hunger strike

    The Boston Globe reports that several Guantanamo captives have restarted their hunger strike over poor living conditions, and further abuses by US guards:

    Mr Smith's newly declassified notes say his client Binyam Mohammed, a British refugee from Ethiopia, told him on August 11 that many prisoners had decided to resume their hunger strike. The decision was sparked by rumours of a violent interrogation session and two rough extractions of detainees from their cells, as well as a new incident of alleged desecration of a copy of the Koran.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Family terrorised following Fox News blunder

    According to this article, from Local6.com, a family has been terrorised following their home address falsely being given out on Fox News as belonging to someone,who it is claimed is linked to the 7th July London bombings:

    After the report ran on Fox News on Aug. 7, people have shouted profanities at Randy and Ronnell Vorick and spray-painted "terrorist" (spelling it "terrist") on their property. "I'm scared to go to work and leave my kids home. I call them every 30 minutes to make sure they're OK," Randy Vorick said. John Loftus, a former federal prosecutor who appears on the Fox News segment "Inside Scoop with John Loftus," gave out the house address during the broadcast.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Friday, August 26, 2005

    Cindy Sheehan to Bill O'reilly and company

    From Democracy Now!:

    "I know my son. I know him better than anybody else. And, he wasn't married, we were very close. He called me everyday when he was at Fort Hood. We talked about all of his life, all of my life. And, I lost my best friend when I lost my son. But I know my son. And, I know he would say 'I don't want anymore of my buddies killed just because I am dead; I want my buddies to come home alive.' And I know when I get up to greet him, when it is my time, he is going to say 'good job, Mom.' He is not going to accuse me of dishonoring his memory. And, anybody who knows my son better than me, would like to come forward and tell me something different, I would be glad to hear their voices."

    Oh those poor uber rich

    The top two percent has to go through the hardship of being in the only group in America whose income hasn't stagnated or declined since the 1970s and they are the the poor souls who have to pay estate tax. Their burden just tugs at my heartstrings. Well, come September, the Republican Senate will be returning to vote on whether or not to give their "base" a further break at the expense of the nation or not by permanently eliminating the tax. From United for a Fair Economy

    Two percent of Americans are now subject to the estate tax. These are people with estates larger than $1.5 million ($3 million for a couple). Half of all estate taxes are paid by the top 0.14% of Americans. These are people with estates larger than $5 million.

    If we reformed the estate tax to exempt the first $3.5 million ($7 million per couple), then only the top 0.25% of Americans would pay any estate tax at all. That's the wealthiest one out of every 400 people. Yet we would save $460 billion in revenue between 2014 and 2023.

    Those not happy with this attempt to strip a trillion dollars from the U.S. tax base can petition here.

    American Legion against free speech (and common sense)

    From Democracy Now!: American Legion Declares War on Peace Movement

    The organization the American Legion has voted at its national convention to target peace activists and the antiwar movement. The group boasts nearly 3 million members. The group's national commander called for an end to all "public protests" and what he called "media events" against the war, even though they are protected by the Bill of Rights. Thomas Cadmus told the convention "The American Legion will stand against anyone and any group that would demoralize our troops, or worse, endanger their lives by encouraging terrorists to continue their cowardly attacks against freedom-loving peoples. The delegates voted to use whatever means necessary to "ensure the united backing of the American people to support our troops and the global war on terrorism."

    If Americans what to put an end to the "cowardly attacks against freedom-loving (and foreign-land occupying) peoples" then people of Cadmus' ilk are going to have to look at empirical evidence and not blindly believe to world according to Bill O'Reilly types. As the history of suicide terrorism clearly points out, continued occupation by a democratic nation of another nation will only serve to encourage terrorism, not abate it. Additionally, calling for possibly violent attacks attacks against people (to see what "any means necessary" means in historocal context, see UNSC Resolution 678 and remember what happened in 1991) exercising their Constitutionally enshrined right to free speech is, frankly, the stuff of Nazis and thugs.

    Under cover of the Gaza pullout

    From Democracy Now!:

    Just hours after it said it had completed its withdrawal operations from Gaza and the West Bank, Israel issued orders to seize Palestinian land to build a massive weaponized separation barrier in a plan that would essentially annex the West Bank's largest Jewish settlement to Jerusalem. The US State Department said it opposed the plan, while Palestinians charged that Israel issued the confiscation orders in the West Bank while world attention was still focused on the forcible removal of Jewish settlers and demolition of their homes by Israeli bulldozers. The massive barrier would cut some Palestinians off from areas of Jerusalem.

    Bush hits new low

    From Democracy Now!: Bush's Approval Rating Plummets to New Low of 36%

    [O]pinion polls show President Bush's approval rating has dropped to a new low of just 36 percent -- according to the latest survey from the American Research Group. Bush's approval rating is now lower than Richard Nixon's was at the height of the Watergate scandal.

    Thursday, August 25, 2005

    American Traitor Robertson in favour of sedition

    Right-wing religious crackpot extraordinaire and founder of the Christian Coalition Pat Robertson called this week for the assassination of democratically elected "strong-arm dictator" Hugo Chavez (perhaps out of frustration over the failure of the U.S.-backed coup against Chavez in 2002). My knowledge of the New Testament may not be quite up to par with some of our readers, so if someone could please point out what verses of the New Testament condone assassination, I would be greatful. Although Robertson's call for the assassination falls under protected free speech imagine if some of the names were changed:

    [I]f there were other people in this country doing similar kinds of things, if someone advocated, an Islamic cleric, for example, in the same level as Robertson, the murder or assassination of Tony Blair in the United Kingdom because of the Iraq war, I can tell you that cleric would be in jail in this country, and they would figure out a way to make the law say that, well, his followers were imminently going to do something about it, and advocating it helped him.... I can tell you those people would likely be in jail. If they were non-citizens, they would be jailed and deported very quickly.

    Looking a little closer at Robertson can be a rather informative experience. What does Robertson want? For one thing, he wants to throw out the U.S. government as it is and replace it with a theocracy:

    [H]e calls for the creation of a Christian America, a Christian state. And there has been an assault against the democratic system, largely unseen, I think, by the majority of the American people, ever since the early 1980s.

    In Robertson's view of the Religion of Love, violence and death are the Hand of God at work:

    Robertson, along with most of the radical Christian right, endorses violence as a kind of curative for the satanic movement, secular humanism, liberalism, Islam, whatever it is that they see outside the gate. So the final aesthetic of their movement, in many ways, is violence. This is what the whole “End Time” series is about. So if you go back and look at his statements, he repeatedly sees incredibly destructive and violent acts as the hand of God. His most famous statement coming, along with Jerry Falwell, right after 9/11, when he said that the attacks of 9/11 were caused by [God's anger against] pagans, abortionists, feminists, gays, lesbians, the ACLU and People for the American Way.

    Robertson, in all seriousness, also makes claims that could be taken as evidence of mental illness:

    He... claims that God speaks to him for the new year, and he has in the past claimed to have, through God's power, harnessed the destructive might of hurricanes, such as Hurricane Gloria in 1985, where he claimed that through his relationship with God, he steered the hurricane away from his company's Virginia Beach headquarters. This hurricane, of course, caused millions of dollars of destruction in states along the East Coast. He made a similar claim about Hurricane Felix in 1995.

    And if overthrowing the government of the U.S. and replacing it with a theocracy were not treason enough...

    [H]e indicated that... an explosion of a nuclear weapon at the State Department could be good for the country. [He made the statement] when he was asked a question about it, and he said that a small nuclear device would be good for the country, if we exploded it in the State Department.

    Robertson has also been friendly with some of the worst of the worst that the human race has to offer:

    [H]e was chose to [warlord] Charles Taylor [in Liberia], for instance. [H]e has set up alliances with some of the most despotic regimes around the globe, including a very deep involvement in the forces extremism in Central America. He was an avid supporter of the Contras in the war against -- set up by the Reagan administration against the Sandinistas in Nicaragua, a strong supporter of Rios Montt, who carried out wholesale massacres in Guatemala in the early 1980s, and the regime in El Salvador during the war at a time when the death squads in El Salvador were killing between 800 and a thousand people a month. And this was not limited to statements of support from the United States, but visits...

    Well, is Robertson just a nutcase whose radical statements can be shrugged off? Perhaps not:

    I think we have to remember that the radical fringe of this movement is violent, that those who attack abortion clinics, those who embrace this creed and are members of militia movements are people who not only believe in the use of violence but practice the use of violence. So, what you have potentially is the incitement of these fringe groups within the movements who are happy and willing to use force.

    [Source: The Cannon of Christianity: Pat Robertson Calls for the Assassination of Hugo Chavez]

    Update:

    Keeping up with Robertson is hard work. After saying "I don't know about this doctrine of assassination, but if he thinks we're trying to assassinate him, I think we really ought to go ahead and do it," Robertson went on to deny what he said saying "Wait a minute, I didn't say 'assassination.' I said our special forces should "take him out," and "take him out" can be a number of things including kidnapping. There are a number of ways to take out a dictator from power besides killing him. I was misinterpreted by the AP, but that happens all the time."

    Misinterpreted Mr. Robertson? No, you know that that is so untrue that you later went on to say "Is it right to call for assassination? No, and I apologize for that statement. I spoke in frustration that we should accommodate the man who thinks the U.S. is out to kill him."

    [Source]

    Wednesday, August 24, 2005

    Cops sue Taser

    From Democracy Now!: Police Chief Sues Taser Over Injuries Suffered During Training

    Stun gun manufacturer Taser is facing another lawsuit over the safety of its product. This time the lawsuit has been filed by a police chief in Hallsville, Missouri. Jacob Herring has sued the company claiming that he was severely injured after being shocked with a Taser weapon during training. Herring says he suffered at least two strokes, loss and impairment of his vision and hearing, neurological damage, a head injury and "significant cardiac damage" after being shocked by a Taser M26 during a class last year. Taser has now been sued 14 times since 2003 by officers who say they were injured in training.

    Bomb-Grade Uranium in Iran Came From Pakistan

    From Democracy Now!: Bomb-Grade Uranium in Iran Came From Pakistan

    [T]he Washington Post is reporting that a group of U.S. government experts and other international scientists have determined that traces of bomb-grade uranium found two years ago in Iran came from contaminated Pakistani equipment and are not evidence of a clandestine nuclear weapons program. One senior official said, "The biggest smoking gun that everyone was waving is now eliminated with these conclusions." The Bush administration had pointed to the material as evidence that Iran was making bomb-grade ingredients.

    Juan Cole's 10-point plan to get out of Iraq

    From Informed Comment (with a nod to Democracy Now!): Ten Things Congress Could Demand from Bush on Iraq

    [H]ere is what I would suggest as a responsible stance toward Iraq. Others, including Iraqi politicians, have already suggested most of these things...

    1) US ground troops should be withdrawn ASAP from urban areas as a first step. Iraqi police will just have to do the policing. We are no good at it. If local militias take over, that is the Iraqi government's problem. The prime minister will have to either compromise with the militia leaders or send in other Iraqi militias to take them on. Who runs Iraqi cities can no longer be a primary concern of the US military. Our troops are warriors, not traffic cops.

    2) In the second phase of withdrawal, most US ground troops would steadily be brought out of Iraq.

    3) For as long as the elected Iraqi government wanted it, the US would offer the new Iraqi military and security forces close air support in any firefight they have with guerrilla or other rebellious forces. (I.e. we would replicate our tactics in Afghanistan of providing the air force for the Northern Alliance infantry and cavalry.) I concede that this tactic will get some US Blackhawks shot down from time to time, and won't be painless. But it could prevent the outbreak of fullscale war. This way of proceeding, which was opened up by the Afghanistan War of 2001-2002, and which depends on smart weapons and having allies on the ground, is the major difference between today and the Vietnam era, when dumb bombs (and even carpet bombing) couldn't have been deployed effectively to ensure the enemy did not take or hold substantial territory. [I am not advocating bombing civilian neighborhoods of cities; I am talking about intervening in set-piece battles of the sort that will become possible in the absence of US ground troops.]

    4) With the agreement of the elected Iraqi government, the US would prevent any guerrilla force from fielding any large number of fighters for set piece battles. Such large units of militiamen attempting to march from Anbar on Baghdad, e.g., would be destroyed by AC-130s and other US air weaponry suitable to this purpose. This tactic cannot prevent the current campaign of car bombings, but it can stop a full-scale Lebanon or Afghanistan-style civil war from erupting.

    5) In addition to the service of its air forces, the US would offer targeted military aid to ensure the stability of the Iraqi government. It would help protect key political figures from assassination, and it would give the Iraqi government help in preventing pipeline sabotage so as to increase Iraqi petroleum revenues and strengthen the new government.

    6) The US would help rapidly build an Iraqi armor corps. The new Iraqi military's lack of tanks is almost certainly because the US is afraid they might be turned on US troops in a crisis. Once US ground troops are out, there is no reason not to let the Iraqi military just import a lot of tanks and train the new Iraqi army in using them.

    7) The US should demand as a quid pro quo for further help that elections in Iraq henceforward be held on a district basis so as to ensure proper representation in parliament for the Sunni Arab provinces. This step is necessary if there is to be any hope of drawing the Sunni Arab political elites into the new government.

    8) The US should demand as a quid pro quo for further help that the Iraqi government announce an amnesty for all former Baath Party members who cannot be proven to have committed serious crimes, including crimes against humanity. Former Baathists who have been fired from the schools and civil bureaucracy must be reinstated, and no further firings are to take place. (This step is key in convincing the old Sunni Arab elites that they won't be screwed over in the new Iraq.)

    9) Congress must rewrite the laws governing US reconstruction aid to Iraq so as to take out provisions that Iraqis must where possible use US companies or materiel. All of the reconstruction money should go directly to Iraqi firms, so as to help jump-start the economy.

    10) The US should join the regular meetings of the foreign ministers of Iraq's neighbors, with Condi Rice in attendance, along with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, employing a 6 + 2 diplomatic track to help put Iraq back on its feet through diplomacy and multilateral aid. This step will require that the Bush administration cease threatening regularly to bomb Tehran or to overthrow the governments of Syria and Iran. For the sake of getting out of Iraq without a world-class economic disaster, the US will just have to deal with the real world, which contains Iran and Syria. The US is now a Middle Eastern Power, not just a New World one, and as such it needs to use Iraq's neighbors to calm their clients within Iraq. This goal cannot be achieved through simple intimidation, more especially since, with half of all fighting units bogged down in Iraq, the US is in no position to follow through on its threats and everyone knows it.

    I can't guarantee that these steps will resolve the crisis in the short or even medium term. But I do think that, if taken together, they would allow us to get the ground troops out without risking a big civil war or a destabilization of the Middle East. Once Iraq can stand on its own feet, I am quite sure that the Grand Ayatollah in Najaf will just give a fatwa for complete US withdrawal, and the US will have to acquiesce, as it did in similar circumstances in the Philippines.

    Tuesday, August 23, 2005

    Did someone say liar?

    Have the top 2 liars in the country been discovered by Robin Grant? The top 2 liars in the UK? See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Breaking News: Press conference on Jean Charles de Menezes murder

    The Brazilian embassy in London is hosting a press conference on the murder of Jean Charles de Menezes, carried out by police officers on the 22nd July. Officials from Brazil arrived in Britain yesterday. As you may have heard, in related news, the IPCC says that it should have its report ready on Mr de Menezes's murder by Christmas. Conference began at approx. 3:12 PM The mission arrived yesterday, and intends to stay until Friday. They will follow up procedures and maintain a dialogue with police and the IPCC, and also looking into the legislation applicable in this case. They are "trying to understand what is going on". Particularly interested in the links between the Met Police and IPCC, and the CPS (Crown Prosecution Service) "We are trusting its (The IPCC) methods" At this point in time, Brazilian officials claim that they don't believe Met Police trying to cover things up. "We were perplexed because of the leak...we were trying to find out some explanation for the new facts." "Mr Yates gave us information about the circumstances surrounding the death..all the data was transferred to the IPCC" Journalists asks if Brazilians are concerned because a full 6 days passed before information was passed to IPCC. Brazilian officials say "they are obliged to send everything to the IPCC". They seem to be skirting the question. Brazilian officials now explaining about the police offering the de Menezes family money. They don't seem to really understand the workings of the IPCC, the coroner etc...

    The "generosity" of Coca Cola

    Common Dreams reports on the "generosity" of Coca Cola in India:

    ''One way or another, this plant should be shut down and the management made to pay compensation for destroying our paddy fields, fooling us with fake fertilizer and drying out our wells,'' Paru Amma, an aboriginal woman who lives in this once lush, water-abundant area, told IPS. Chairman of the KSPCB, G. Rajmohan, said the closure was ordered because the plant ''does not have adequate waste treatment systems and toxic products from the plant were affecting drinking water in nearby villages'' and that the plant ''has also not provided drinking water in a satisfying manner to local residents''.
    It seems to me a disgrace the way this company has treated local residents. See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Ken Clarke changes his mind on the Euro

    It seems to me that this is a rather opportunistic attempt for Ken Clarke to have a stab at becoming the next Tory leader, considering his previous pro Euro comments. The Times reports:

    In an abrupt about-turn from the Conservative Party’s most passionate pro-European figure, he said that conditions had never been right for Britain to join and predicted that it would remain the case for at least a decade.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts