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  • Tuesday, February 28, 2006

    Lords fight on against id cards

    The No2id card campign informs us that members of the House of Lords are continuing to fight compulsory id cards:

    Please do contact a peer if you have not already done so!
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    The Lords stuck to their guns

    Everyone interested in Liberty has won a victory tonight. The House of Lords has once again defeated Blair & Co's authoritarian plans contained in the "anti terror" bill, from the Guardian:

    Tonight peers, after a two-hour debate, voted to remove the "glorification" clause from the bill by 160 to 156, a majority of just four.

    Today's defeat came after the former law lord Lord Lloyd of Berwick put forward an amendment removing the controversial clause.

    Although Tory MPs had opposed the measure, Conservative peers had been told not to vote against the bill for tactical reasons, saving their fire for next week's vote on ID cards in the Lords. However, enough rebelled and voted against the measure to defeat it.

    Thank you to all those who have voted against this ridiculous "glorification" offence. Our MPs should be doing their jobs properly and supporting liberty in this country, but at this moment in time, quite obviously, the liberty protecters sit in the house of Lords. See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Rabid right responds to troop poll

    It's been interesting watching the reactions of those on the rabid right to the poll I mentioned earlier today, showing that 72% of US troops want to be withdrawn from Iraq. The so called "Free Republic" website is a haven for crazy right wingers, and "nuke em" fans, so I thought the best place to gauge reaction to the poll among Bush's supporters was there, just a few responses to the poll from the rabid right:

    After all, a war should be fought not by whether the country is safe, but by the polling questions of a pacifist media.

    ...... Everyone knows the war ended on May 1, 2003.

    ...... Steaming load of BS, IMO. Zogby is hate-America, pro-muslim-islamic-arab garbage. He can't be trusted to do an un-skewed poll.

    ...... See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Liberty alert: Terrorism bill returns to Lords today

    Courtesy of Liberty Central:

    First, there are the provisions for the inclusion of 'glorification' of terrorism in provisions designed to outlaw the 'encouragement of terrorism'. There are two basic ways of looking at this part of the Bill; either as the reintroduction of the crime of 'sedition' or the introduction of a new class of 'thoughtcrime' into UK law. Neither view is particularly good or desirable.

    Second, and of particular concern to those of us who inhabit the electromic frontier, are the provisions for 'takedown notices', which will enable the Police to demand the closure of websites that they consider to be 'supporting' terrorism on their own recognisance and without judicial oversight.

    The Lords must not allow themselves to become subject to the authoritarians in charge of our country, they must hold their ground, and stamp on any attempt to bring in these laws, which would severely restrict what we are able to say. Blair & Co must not be allowed to abuse yet more powers. See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Are US troops traitors?

    An interesting poll has been conducted, as reported at Think Progress, whereby 72% of US troops serving in Iraq believe they should be withdrawn.

    The rabid right no doubt will be silent on this poll, this doesn't fit in with their twisted thinking that everyone opposed to an ongoing occupation is a traitor.

    It will be fun watching the rabid right trying to explain this one away, given they claim to be pro military. Today's news just seems to be filled with ironies.

    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Minister under pressure over "alleged" bribe

    The Times reports on Jowell's dirty little secret ("alleged dirty little secret" of course):

    TESSA JOWELL was under growing pressure last night after it emerged that the Cabinet Secretary was seeking “clarifications” over financial transactions conducted by her husband David Mills. As the Culture Secretary fiercely denied any suggestion of wrongdoing over allegations that she had signed a mortgage document allowing Mr Mills to bring an alleged bribe of £350,000 into the country, Sir Gus O’Donnell was understood to have concluded that there were issues that had to be ironed out.

    If there are "issues that need to be ironed out", then Jowell must be suspended from her position until those issues have been "ironed out". When they have been finally ironed out, and Jowell is proven to have been a party to corruption, then she should be fired.

    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Brown seeks written code on relationship between MPs and executive

    This piece from today's Independent:

    Mr Brown wants a national debate on the "changes we need to the political system", citing low turn out at elections, declining membership of political parties and what he calls "the long term decline in trust" as reasons for urgent reform. Evidently he is contemplating some big changes in the way we are ruled as he deploys a vivid parallel to make his point.

    ... The article continues...
    I ask Mr Brown about his personal interest in constitutional reform given that he has a reputation of being a mighty control freak, interested only in getting his own way. "Thirty years ago before I was even a Labour candidate I campaigned actively for devolution when it was an unpopular policy within the party and beyond. To paraphrase Aneurin Bevan the 20th century was about elected governments taking power away from vested economic interests. The 21st century must be about governments giving power to the people."

    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Strong support for Campaign for Democracy

    Today's Independent reports that both the Tories and the Lib Dems have spoken to varying degrees in support of the power inquiry's proposals, which I mentioned earlier:

    In its report yesterday the independent commission, chaired by the Labour peer and QC Helena Kennedy, proposed 30 recommendations to re-engage people with politics. They included the abolition of the first-past-the-post voting system in line with The Independent's Campaign for Democracy, which has won the support of almost 40,000 people.

    ......
    The Green Party urged the Government to act swiftly on the Power report. Peter Cranie, the party's elections co-ordinator, said: "Tony Blair has developed a presidential-style leadership, making major, controversial decisions without public support, including going to war with Iraq and backing the insidious takeover of the NHS and state schools by private companies. This has contributed to the alienation of the electorate, particularly young people, who feel that their trip to the ballot box is ignored."

    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    1300 more deaths in Iraq's civil war

    The Guardian today sadly reports that more than 1300 deaths have been loggged at Baghdad's main morgue since the Mosque bombing a few days ago:

    Most of the dead had been shot, knifed or garroted, often with their hands tied execution-style behind their backs, the report said. It added that the blood-caked bodies of hundreds of men lay unclaimed outside the morgue as distraught families searched for missing relatives yesterday. Figures from the Iraqi police statistics department put the nationwide toll of violent deaths at 1,020 since the Samarra bombing, with the majority killed after being abducted by armed men.

    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    "America is headed for a soft dictatorship"

    Paul Craig Roberts was a former assistant secretary at the US treasury, and writes, in this piece at the Information Clearing House, about how the upcoming November elections in the US are the last chance for Americans to "reaffirm the separation of powers that is the basis of their civil liberties."

    The entire world now recognizes that America has lost its economic power and is dependent on the rest of the world to finance its budget and trade deficits. The US no longer holds the cards. American real incomes are falling, except for the rich. Jobs for university graduates are scarce, and advanced technology products must be imported from China. The US is a rapidly declining power and may soon end up as nothing but a tinhorn dictatorship.

    Very powerful words there from Paul Craig Roberts. Will Americans listen?

    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    How Germany assisted with the attack on Iraq

    H, over at Terrorism News informs us that German intelligence passed on information to the US to assist in their illegal invasion:

    Two German intelligence agents in Baghdad obtained a copy of Saddam Hussein's plan to defend the Iraqi capital, which a German official passed on to American commanders a month before the invasion, according to a classified study by the United States military.

    I wonder what the rabid right who are constantly bashing EU nations have to say about this?

    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    How torture became Bush regime policy

    The New Yorker reports on the Bush regime's refusal to actually do anything to prevent torture and abuse, on the contrary, they did everything possible to allow it:

    The memo is a chronological account, submitted on July 7, 2004, to Vice Admiral Albert Church, who led a Pentagon investigation into abuses at the U.S. detention facility at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. It reveals that Mora’s criticisms of Administration policy were unequivocal, wide-ranging, and persistent. Well before the exposure of prisoner abuse in Iraq’s Abu Ghraib prison, in April, 2004, Mora warned his superiors at the Pentagon about the consequences of President Bush’s decision, in February, 2002, to circumvent the Geneva conventions, which prohibit both torture and “outrages upon personal dignity, in particular humiliating and degrading treatment.” He argued that a refusal to outlaw cruelty toward U.S.-held terrorist suspects was an implicit invitation to abuse.

    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    US senator's war profiteering

    This interesting piece, from Brick Burner:

    The Democrats aren’t just letting the Republicans get away with murder, however, some of them are also reaping the benefits of the Bush wars. We constantly hear about Dick Cheney’s ties to Halliburton and how his ex-company is making bundles off US contracts in Iraq. But what we don’t hear about is how Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein and her husband are also making tons of money off the “war on terror”.

    The wishy-washy senator now claims Bush misled her leading up to the invasion of Iraq. I don’t think she’s being honest with us though, there may have been other reasons she helped sell Bush’s lies. According to The Center for Public Integrity, Senator Feinstein’s husband Richard Blum has racked in millions of dollars from Perini, a civil infrastructure construction company, of which the billionaire investor wheels 75 percent of the voting share.

    This is a very good article, and makes a worthwhile read, please do go and read all of it, it has some very valid points. These issues aren't a matter of petty partisan politics, whoever benefits from war profiteering, or is responsible for illegal actions in the so called "war on terror" and invasions of Afghanistan, and Iraq must be held responsible.

    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    77% of Brits believe greater terrorist threat because of Iraq attack

    According to this article, from the Guardian today, a majority of people surveyed around the world believe that the illegal invasion, and occupation of Iraq has led to a greater terrorist threat:

    Steven Kull, director of the Programme on International Policy Attitudes at the University of Maryland, which helped conduct the survey between last October and January, said: "Though the Bush administration has framed the intervention in Iraq as a means of fighting terrorism, all around the world most people view it as having increased the likelihood of terrorist attacks."

    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Cheney may be put out to pasture shortly

    Cheney may be put out to pasture, following the elections in the US later this year, according to this piece, from Insight:

    Senior GOP sources envision the retirement of Mr. Cheney in 2007, months after the congressional elections. The sources said Mr. Cheney would be persuaded to step down as he becomes an increasing political liability to President Bush.

    Yes, I guess 2 criminals at the head of the US is 2 too many.

    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    2002: Israeli intelligence say Bin Laden dead

    This report from the World Tribune on the 16th October 2002:

    Osama Bin Laden appears to be dead but his colleagues have decided that Al Qaida and its insurgency campaign against the United States will continue, Israeli intelligence sources said.

    If Bin Laden was dead, would the US admit it? From December 2001:

    A prominent official in the Afghan Taleban movement announced yesterday the death of Osama bin Laden, the chief of al-Qa'da organization, stating that binLaden suffered serious complications in the lungs and died a natural and quiet death.

    Rather handy that tape emerged just before the US presidential elections, wasn't it. See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    How many times has Zarqawi died?

    How many time have there been reports that Zarqawi has died? Pick your favourite date from one of the following, or, alternatively, let us know about any other occasions on which Zarqawi is supposed to have died:

    1 - 17th September 2005 - Cleric says al-Zarqawi died long ago

    Al-Kalesi claimed that al-Zarqawi was killed in the Kurdish northern region of Iraq at the beginning of the US-led war on the country as he was meeting with members of the Ansar Al-Islam group affiliated to al-Qaida.

    "His family in Jordan even held a ceremony after his death. Abu Musab al-Zarqawi is therefore a ploy used by the Americans, an excuse to continue the occupation. It's a pretext so they don't leave Iraq."

    2 - 2nd June 2005 - Zarqawi died on Friday:

    During a telephone conversation from the city of Fallujah with the Saudi newspaper, Nasir said al-Zarqawi was taken there after being injured in the city of Ramadi around three weeks ago, and may have been treated by two doctors who had worked with his aides in Baghdad. He said the two doctors had stopped a serious haemorrhage in al-Zarqawi's intestines, but that after his condition worsened last week, the militant died on Friday.

    3 - 22nd November 2005 - Tests to clarify if Zarqawi died at the weekend

    A U.S. government official, who spoke in Washington on condition of anonymity, confirmed that DNA from the eight insurgents who died in the Saturday raid in Mosul had been taken for testing.

    Meanwhile, U.S. soldiers fired Monday on a civilian vehicle they feared might hold a suicide bomber, killing at least two adults and a child, U.S. and Iraqi officials said.

    4 - 5th March 2004 - A dozen "alleged insurgent groups" say Zarqawi dead:

    U.S. officials say al-Zarqawi may have been involved in some of the series of suicide bombings this year in Iraq — including the massive mosque bombings on Tuesday that killed more than 100 Shiite Muslims.

    But according to a statement circulated this week in Fallujah, a hotbed of anti-U.S. insurgency activity, al-Zarqawi was killed in northern Iraq "during the American bombing there."

    The Fallujah statement called the al-Zarqawi letter "fabricated," saying it has been used by the U.S.-run coalition "to back up their theory of a civil war" in Iraq.

    5 - 21st November 2005 - US denies Zarqawi died on 19th November

    U.S. forces left a cordoned area around a house in northern Iraq today following a gun battle in which eight suspected Al-Qaeda members were killed and 11 American soldiers were wounded.

    Earlier, a White House spokesman in Washington dismissed reports that Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, head of the Al-Qaeda group in Iraq, may have been among those killed in the 19 November shootout in Mosul.

    8th November 2004 - Bin Laden (Yes, he who died in 2001) may have died alongside Zarqawi in Fallujah:

    As US and Iraqi forces march ahead in Falluja, some special reward may be waiting for them. Rumor is rampant in Baghdad that the dreaded Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and Osama Bin Laden are trapped in Falluja. If the coalition forces are able to kill or capture both or either of them, it will be a major hit against terrorism.

    Now, I wonder who'd want to start a rumour like that.

    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Why do 55% of people want id cards?

    Europhobia,quite rightly thinks that some people are idiots, as evidence, he points to the fact that while 55% of people say they want id cards, 80% of people would acknowledge that no matter how secure the system someone will always find a way of forging them.

    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    How we can stop the meltdown of our democracy

    Blairwatch has a write up on the Power inquiry, which I mentioned yesterday. Among the recommendations:

    Citizens should be able to initiate law through petitions, hold inquiries and force a parliamentary debate. Parallel processes could be set up for councils and local bodies. MPs should produce annual reports and hold annual general meetings. The inquiry says: "We believe that it is vital not just to reassert one's faith in democracy, but rethink it to meet new challenges."

    This does indeed sound hopeful.

    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    No more puppets in Mexico

    Exoplanet, over at Deficient Brain informs us of Mexico's presidential front frunner pledging to return to non interventionist policies, if he wins the upcoming election:

    That'll change, Lopez Obrador signaled to a crowd estimated between 70,000 and 120,000. Having led public opinion polls for two years, Lopez Obrador is on track to become Mexico's first president elected from a left-wing party, the Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD). "We're not going to meddle in the internal life of other peoples and other governments, because we don't want them meddling in ours," Lopez Obrador told a sea of supporters in the Zocalo, the city square that Spanish conquistadors built atop Aztec ruins.

    Well, that certainly sounds like a good idea. All over latin America, the people are turning away from interventionism, they don't want to follow the US. Yes, Bush, look at them waving down there in Latin America at you, and your lot haven't been able to do a damn thing about it because you've been pre-occupied. Well, I guess at least while Bush has sent his crusaders into the middle east, Latin America is safe for the moment. See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Bush approval ratings at just 34%

    How long before they dip below 30%, I wonder? Colcam brings us the news that only 18% of Americans have a favourable view of Dick, while 34% approve of Bush.

    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Taliban spokesman studies terrorism at Yale

    Oh, there are so many ironies here, it is difficult to even know where to begin with this one. From the New India Press:

    Sayed Rahmatullah Hashemi, a former Taliban spokesperson, who has the dubious distinction of having come in contact with terror mastermind Osama bin Laden has joined a non-degree course, which includes a class on terrorism.

    (Bin Laden was not a "terrorist mastermind", he was a terrorist financer)
    However, with time, doubts started creeping into Hashemi's mind about the various customs of the Taliban, including checking the lengths of beards and thrashing women with leather straps and herding crowds into the Kabul soccer stadium to witness lashings amputations and executions. "I felt better not being distinguished," he said.

    After the Taliban regime fell, Karzai administration invited him to work for the government, but he feared for his safety in Kabul. When a friend suggested that he apply to Yale, Hashemi jumped at the chance and soon got the clearance he needed and flew to New York.

    (That's nice of America isn't it, allowing a member of the "evil regime" to go over there and study terrorism. Perhaps when he's finished his studies he can go and visit other former members of the regime, held at Bagram, and elsewhere and let them know that they should have gone to America, one of many universities there would have welcomed them with open arms.)

    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Monday, February 27, 2006

    Diana driver worked for French intelligence, cameras were not "on the blink"

    Some weeks ago, the man heading the inquiry into the death of Diana, Princess of Wales revealed that Mohammed Al Fayed was right to raise certain points relating to the death of his son, Dodi, and Diana. (Although he did not make clear at that time which points in particular he was right to raise, there were reports that blood samples had been tampered with)

    Today's Daily Mirror reports that Diana's driver worked for French Intelligence, and that the inquiry has discovered staggering evidence that the CCTV cameras in Paris were not "on the blink", as was reported. The Harrods boss has shown no signs of letting up in his campaign. Last week he also wrote to Labour MP Paul Murphy, head of the Commons intelligence and security committee, praising the new probe. Mr Fayed said: "Lord Stevens decided that allegations... made by me, and which until that time, had been largely ignored, warranted full and thorough investigation. "He appointed a team of senior officers under his personal direction, the remit being conspiracy to murder." But he added: "Although Lord Stevens has been given access to security service personnel and files, he has clearly not been given the truth, nor has he been given anything like the access to which your committee is entitled." See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Blair: Declaring war on education

    It seems the 13th March could be a date to note in your diary. Today's Mirror reports that Labour backbenchers believe that Blair has declared war on education, and they are prepared to answer that call:

    Opponents claim up to 110 Labour MPs will vote against the Education Bill on March 13, which controversially expands the role of Trust schools. Mr Blair has refused more concessions and signalled he would rely on Tory backing.

    Watch out for fireworks from the 13th March onwards, we will, of course, do our best to watch, and inform our readers as Blair gets another bloody nose.

    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    On equal pay, we're the worst in europe

    Monsters and critics reports on the pay gap between men and women in Britain:

    According to a major study by the women and work commission, created by prime minister Tony Blair in 2004, British women in full-time employment on average earn 17 per cent less than their male colleagues performing the same jobs - the largest gender pay gap in Europe. The report urged radical reform in order to redress the wage imbalance, estimating that tackling gender inequality would provide a £23 billion boost for the UK economy.

    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Livingstone will appeal

    Today's Scotsman informs us that Ken Livingstone will appeal against his suspension as London Mayor. The suspension came about because a journalist claimed they were insulted by Livingstone's comments.

    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Explosions in Iran

    The BBC reports on explosions in southern Iran:

    In both cities, the devices were planted in the governor's offices, the official Irna news agency says. No serious injuries were reported. The attacks are the latest in a series to hit the southern Khuzestan province, at the heart of Iran's oil industry.

    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Liberty Central

    The Liberty Central site is now up and running, please do go and take a look round.

    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Police reveal Bush can't wave and pedal at the same time

    From today's Independent:

    The police report describes him as a "falling object" who lost control of his bicycle after trying to pedal and wave at the same time. So ends the mystery of how President George Bush collided with a police officer while cycling at Gleneagles on the first day of the G8 summit last year.

    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    New Labour sleaze

    Exoplanet, over at Deficient Brain informs us of the latest developments in the David Mills case:

    Tessa Jowell, the Culture Secretary, is facing an investigation into whether she has breached the ministerial code of conduct in relation to her husband's business deals in Italy. It emerged yesterday that the minister signed a document allowing her husband, David Mills, to bring money from an alleged bribe into the UK.

    Oh dear.

    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Is it worth doing business with the US?

    Many companies are saying it most certainly isn't, as this article from the Independent reports:

    And it is not just Far East and Middle East companies that might be tempted to disengage with the US. "Any businessman with any connection with the US, however tenuous, should think very carefully about the potential peril they face. Right here, right now, I would not advise even to engage in a business relationship with the US." These were the warning words of a British man, David Bermingham - one of the "NatWest Three" bankers who lost their appeal last week against extradition to the US to face trial for Enron-related fraud.

    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Democracy is in meltdown in Britain

    A warning from the power Inquiry, as reported by today's Independent:

    In a bleak picture of the gulf between the government and the governed, it concludes that growing numbers of people feel their votes are wasted and that they have no influence over the decisions that shape their lives. ...... It points to the mass support for causes such as the anti-war movement and the Countryside Alliance and to a recent survey that discovered that half of adults - 20 million people - had done voluntary work. The report, the most extensive of its kind in Britain, concludes that a two-party political system moulded in the early 20th century was out of kilter with a "far more complex" country. The inquiry says that there is a "very widespread sense that citizens feel their views and interests are not taken sufficiently into account".

    I've long argued for widespread reform in this country, the issue needs to be resolved.

    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    17 arrests made at Florida neo-Nazi rally

    The Seattle Post Intelligencer reports on neo Nazis in Florida:

    In khaki uniforms, tall black boots and red arm patches bearing swastikas, about 30 members of the National Socialist Movement were barricaded on one side by SWAT team members at the rally. On the other side of the SWAT officers, a group of about 100 black-clad counter-demonstrators, many covering their faces with black masks, held anti-Nazi signs. Several counter-demonstrators were arrested before the march officially began when pockets of violence erupted, police said. It was not immediately clear whether anyone was hurt. The march went on as planned through the Orlando neighborhood of Parramore, with about 500 spectators and counter-demonstrators following the group. Grandparents held the hands of their grandchildren as they watched the march from the front of their homes.

    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Solutions - Not War

    Colcam.Image presents us with some interesting news on Russian negotiations with Iran:

    "Talks to complete this package will continue in coming days in Russia," he said. "There are different parts that need to be discussed. These are not just related to forming a company, there are other elements. There are political issues and the proposal should be seen as a package."

    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Ex CIA analyst believes US in most danger from its own regime

    This is an interesting piece, from Prison Planet:

    Former CIA analyst a and presidential advisor Ray McGovern does not rule out Western involvement in this week's Askariya mosque bombing in light of previous false flag operations that have advanced hidden agendas of the ruling elite.

    .......

    "There's lots of evidence that the government in the past has used these things for its own purposes, for overthrowing governments, as it did in Iran in 1953, and in Guatemala in 1954, the Gulf of Tonkin was a little different...LBJ did deceive Congress and the war went on for seven years." Concerning 9/11 McGovern declared that although he is still in two minds, he is deeply suspicious of the official version of events and "there is certainly a cover up." The amount of unanswered questions and blatant lies told by Cheney and the NeoCons makes it very easy for him to believe the government was involved.

    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    A single Ohio voting machine recorded negative 25 million votes for Kerry

    XOPL has this:

    In the case of the Free Press article, you can't really declare it as crazy lefty conspircy theory considering they are merely summarizing the Government Accountability Office's report (PDF) on elections problems. Incidentally, this GAO report has gotten very little coverage. But the most telling piece of information is this... In the 2004 presidential election, an electronic voting machine (manufacturer: ES&S) in Youngstown, Ohio (Mahoning County) recorded NEGATIVE 25 MILLION votes for Kerry. Sources: MSNBC, House.GOV PDF (Google HTML version), and any Google search for "voting machine in Mahoning County recorded a negative 25 million votes for Kerry".

    Please do go and read this piece, it certainly makes a worthwhile read. See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Venezuela prepared to stop US oil exports

    This report from the Washington Post:

    "If our country, our process, our constitution are attacked by the Bush administration, we are not going to send any more oil," Oil Minister Rafael Ramirez told the Ultimas Noticias daily in an interview. "We'll see then which of the two governments is able to manage this type of a situation better."

    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Is Gordon Brown a gambler?

    According to this article, from today's Guardian, Brown is backing plans for voting at 16.

    There are just a couple of things I want to say about this idea, firstly, the idea behind this seems to be a good one, however, I remember when I was 16, I was (for my age) quite interested in different issues, however, many of my friends weren't really interested in political issues.

    To engage with young people you have to listen to them, you have to understand why there isn't this respect for authority which Blair & Co are always talking about. How can children look up to politicians, for example, who carry out criminal actions on the international stage? How can they look up to ministers who have allowed paedophiles to have jobs in schools?

    When politicians have engaged with young people on these issues, and many more, when they start giving some respect, then, and perhaps only then should they expect any respect back. In the meantime, if they wish to bring in voting at 16, fine, I think they'll find that vast numbers will go to the polls and kick out those in power when they don't address the issues which do concern them. So, Brown, fancy a bet?

    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Sunday, February 26, 2006

    Healey urges Blair to go

    From ePolitix:

    One of Labour's elder statesmen has called on Tony Blair to stand down as prime minister and hand over power to Gordon Brown. Former chancellor Lord Healey said that Blair had been "losing his grip" over the past two years, and the sooner he moved on the better.

    Of course, Gordon Brown is partly responsible for Blair "losing his grip", he has after all been a member of the cabinet since 1997. See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    MI5 faces internal rebellion over London bombings

    This report, from RINF makes for a very interesting read:

    To illustrate their concern, agents have leaked more topsecret documents to The Sunday Times because they want a public inquiry into the “missed intelligence” leading up to the July attacks in London. They believe ministers have withheld information from the public about what the security services knew about the suspects before the bombing of July 7 and the abortive attacks of July 21.

    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Respect says it would stop council housing transfer programme

    According to this article, from Inside Housing, the Respect Party has said that it woul put a halt to Tower Hamlets scheme to transfer council housing to a housing association, if it gains a majority on the council at the local elections:

    Tenants on estates in the Parkside area of Bow, east London, who voted the transfer through by a majority of just seven, had been told the transfer to Old Ford Housing Association was due to take place by the end of February. But the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister has not signed off the transfer of the homes, saying it needs more information from Tower Hamlets. Tenant Carole Swords said she had secured legal aid to apply for an injunction preventing the transfer.

    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Now Labour wants Lords Reform

    Blair & Co have been holding back on Lords Reform for some time now, but as ePolitix reports, "consensus" is now being sought on the issue. The timing of this seems interesting to me, in light of the fact that the Lords have blocked several pieces of Blairite legislation:

    The second chamber is currently composed of mostly appointed life peers, law lords, Church of England bishops and a group of 92 hereditary peers, following the removal of over 600 dukes, earls, marquesses and barons by the government in 1999. Further changes were expected to be made in Labour's second term but plans were shelved after MPs could not agree the best way forward. Since then there has been no further reform, but scores of life peers have been appointed.

    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    International Protests against war in March

    From March in March, the following protests have been confirmed as taking place in March around the world:

    Aalborg, Aarhus, Adana, Adelaide (20/3), Amsterdam, Ankara, Athens, Baghdad, Bangkok, Barcelona, Berlin, Boston, Bruxelles (19/3), Buffalo, Caracas, Chattanooga, TN, Comox, BC, Copenhagen, Denver (19/3), Dublin, Edmonton, Fayetteville, NC, Galveston, TX, Genève, Grand Rapids, MI, Göteborg, Helsinki, Highland Park, NJ, Istanbul, Jakarta, Kansas City (19/3), Karachi, Lisboa, Ljubljana, London, Madrid, [2] (19/3), Malmö, Managua, [2], Manila, Melbourne (17/3), Memphis, TN, Midland, Minneapolis, Montreal, Naples, Florida (19/3), New York, Odense, Oklahoma, Omdurman, Ottawa, San Juan, Santiago de Chile (17/3), Seattle, Seoul (19/3), Stevens Point, WI, Stockholm, Sydney, Tarragona, Tokyo, Toronto, Trabzon, Vancouver, Victoria, Walnut Creek, CA, Warsaw (19/3), Wien (Vienna)

    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Threats of "referendum on Islam" in local elections

    This is just an absolute disgrace, from The Muslim News:

    On the same theme, the British National Party, fresh from their acquittal of inciting racial hatred, have announced plans to turn the May local elections into a ‘referendum’ on Islam. Other far right groups have made threats of book-burning sessions of the Qur’an. For Muslims, past echoes of Nazi demonisation of the Jews don’t seem so far away.

    If any British Muslims are reading this, I feel ashamed that fellow Brits are responsible for these incitements. See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Uprising at prison outside Kabul

    Radio Free Europe has this report:

    Afghan Deputy Justice Minister Mohammad Qasim Hashimzai told RFE/RL that the riot is at the Pul-e Charki Prison, but that only the political block has been taken over. He said the trouble started when prisoners opposed the installation of windows between cells, and wearing uniforms.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Manchester Stop The War Rally - 15th March

    From the Stop The War coalition's website:

    Wednesday 15 March 2006, at 7 PM Central Hall, Oldham Street, Manchester City Centre with Tony Benn Lindsey German, convenor Stop the War Coalition Mohammed Ali, Islam Channel

    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Greens attack undemocratic suspension of London Mayor

    From the Green Party website:

    "The Green Party believe in accountability at every level of government. What happens to Ken should be up to the Assembly and the electorate - if we want him to apologise that's up to us, it's not up to ten unelected, unknown appointees to turn the whole show into a West End farce.

    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    U.S. Christians say sorry about war and government

    From IPS Via Common Dreams:

    Christian leaders from the United States lamented the war in Iraq and apologized for their government's current foreign policy during the 9th Assembly of the World Council of Churches in Porto Alegre, Brazil, which ended Thursday.

    "We lament with special anguish the war in Iraq, launched in deception and violating global norms of justice and human rights," the Very Rev. Leonid Kishkovsky, the moderator of the U.S. Conference for the WCC, told fellow delegates from around the world.

    ...

    "We are citizens of a nation that has done much in these years to endanger the human family and to abuse the creation," says the statement endorsed by the most prominent Protestant Christian churches on the Council.

    "Our leaders turned a deaf ear to the voices of church leaders throughout our nation and the world, entering into imperial projects that seek to dominate and control for the sake of our own national interests. Nations have been demonized and God has been enlisted in national agendas that are nothing short of idolatrous."

    The message, written like a prayer of repentance and backed by the 34 Christian churches that belong to the WCC, mourns those who have died or been injured in the Iraq war and says, "We confess that we have failed to raise a prophetic voice loud enough and persistent enough to deter our leaders from this path of preemptive war."

    ...

    The U.S. Conference of the WCC also criticized the government's position on global warming. "The rivers, oceans, lakes, rainforests, and wetlands that sustain us, even the air we breathe continue to be violated... Yet our own country refuses to acknowledge its complicity and rejects multilateral agreements aimed at reversing disastrous trends," reads the message.

    The U.S. Conference of the WCC message also said, "Starvation, the HIV/AIDS pandemic, the treatable diseases that go untreated indict us, revealing the grim features of global economic injustice we have too often failed to acknowledge or confront."

    "Hurricane Katrina," it continues, "revealed to the world those left behind in our own nation by the rupture of our social contract. As a nation we have refused to confront the racism that infects our policies around the world."

    1982: Thatcher's war helped her poll ratings

    I hope Blair hasn't been getting tips from Thatcher, in light of the last article I posted, this from the Guardian in 1982:

    The Prime Minister's standing on VF Day will not be her standing on Polling Day. Nevertheless, the Ten Weeks War has done wonders for her. Last year she was bottom of the pops: the "worst Prime Minister" said 48 per cent of Gallup respondents, 12 per cent worse than Neville Chamberlain. When she arrived at Blackpool for her party conference last autumn she opened the Times and read "The Most Unpopular Prime Minister Since Polls Began."

    Today a lot more people think she's wonderful. Her crisis-management rating, as measured by MORI, soared from 64 per cent approval at the beginning of the affair to 84 per cent at the end. Interestingly, 54 per cent remained "dissatisfied" with her Prime Ministership in general, compared with the 40 per cent who were pleased. MORI discovered that more people supported the Government after the Falklands had been mentioned than when other more general questions were asked first. Nevertheless, if the General Election were tomorrow she would be queen of all.

    The Falklands must not be once again used to help shore up an unpopular prime minister. See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    The Highway of death

    Exoplanet, over at Deficient Brain reminds us of the events of the 26th February 1991, when trigger happy, and, most likely, drug crazed US Air Force pilots launched their deadly killing spree:

    "Even in Vietnam I didn't see anything like this. It's pathetic," said Major Bob Nugent, an Army intelligence officer. This one-sided carnage, this racist mass murder of Arab people, occurred while White House spokesman Marlin Fitzwater promised that the U.S. and its coalition partners would not attack Iraqi forces leaving Kuwait. This is surely one of the most heinous war crimes in contemporary history.

    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Falklands - War again?

    Perhaps an ominous sign of things to come? From the Scotsman today:

    AN INCREASINGLY anxious UK government is closely monitoring a build-up of Argentinian military strength and a series of confrontations with the RAF close to the Falkland Islands, Scotland on Sunday can reveal.

    The activity has led Tony Blair's most senior advisers to demand he issues a "hands-off" warning to Buenos Aires.

    Instead of these threats, and, quite obvious build up of tensions, why don't Argentina and Britain talk? Surely that would make far more sense than having another war over the Falklands. Imperialstic ambitions are obviously more important to some than people's lives

    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    "911" - A criminal act, not an act of war

    Back in 2003, Common Dreams had this piece, which looked at the philosophical debate between those who believed that "911" was a criminal act, and those who believed that it was an act of war:

    Like Germany's response to the Red Army Faction, Italy's response to The Red Brigades, and Greece's response to the 17 November terrorist group (among others), Clinton brought the full force of the criminal justice system against McVeigh, and even had Interpol and overseas police agencies looking for possible McVeigh affiliates. The result was that the trauma of the Oklahoma City terrorist bombing was limited, closure was achieved for its victims, the civil rights of all Americans were largely left intact, and the United States government was able to get back to it's constitutionally-defined job of ensuring life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness for its citizens.

    Every President from Washington to Clinton understood the logic expressed by our founders when James Madison, on April 20, 1795, wrote: "Of all the enemies to public liberty war is, perhaps, the most to be dreaded because it comprises and develops the germ of every other. War is the parent of armies; from these proceed debts and taxes. And armies, and debts, and taxes are the known instruments for bringing the many under the domination of the few

    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Shiite militias roam free, occupying Sunni Mosques

    This report from the Washington Post:

    While Baghdad and three other Iraqi provinces are supposed to be under security lockdown, Shiite militias are roaming the streets among and alongside Iraq's police and army, attacking and occupying dozens of Sunni mosques -- and reflagging some as Shiite -- and detaining and killing worshipers. Residents of several Baghdad neighborhoods have reported seeing pickup trucks barreling through otherwise empty streets, bearing militia members armed with rifles and rocket-propelled grenades.

    To Bush and Blair's appeasers - Are you happy now?

    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Terrorists - Combatants, or criminals?

    Human Rights Watch, back in 2004 published this rather worthwhile read:

    Although there may have been a reasonable case for applying war rules to al-Harethi, the Bush administration has applied these rules with far less justification in other episodes outside the United States. For example, in October 2001, Washington sought the surrender of six Algerian men in Bosnia. At first, the U.S. government followed law-enforcement rules and secured the men's arrest. But then, after a three-month investigation, Bosnia's Supreme Court ordered the suspects released for lack of evidence. Instead of providing additional evidence, however, Washington simply switched to war rules. It pressured the Bosnian government to hand the men over anyway and whisked them out of the country -- not to trial, but to indefinite detention at the U.S. naval base at Guantánamo Bay.

    The administration followed a similar pattern in June 2003, when five al Qaeda suspects were detained in Malawi. Malawi's high court ordered local authorities to follow the law and either charge or release the five men, all of whom were foreigners. Ignoring local law, the Bush administration then insisted that the men be handed over to U.S. security forces instead. The five were spirited out of the country to an undisclosed location -- not for trial, but for interrogation. The move sparked riots in Malawi. The men were released a month later in Sudan, after questioning by Americans failed to turn up any incriminating evidence.

    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    "Torture, force feeding and darkness at noon - This is Guantanamo"

    The Los Angeles Times has a damning opinion piece on America's gulag at Guantanamo:

    The Pentagon's files on the six Kuwaiti prisoners we represent reveal that none was captured on a battlefield or accused of engaging in hostilities against the U.S. The prisoners claim that they were taken into custody by Pakistani and Afghan warlords and turned over to the U.S. for bounties ranging from $5,000 to $25,000 — a claim confirmed by American news reports. We have obtained copies of bounty leaflets distributed in Afghanistan and Pakistan by U.S. forces promising rewards — "enough to feed your family for life" — for any "Arab terrorist" handed over.

    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Baghdad bus station explosion kills at least 2 Iraqis

    Yahoo News reports on the continuing civil war in Iraq, and, sadly, the deaths of more innocents there:

    A bomb exploded Sunday at a crowded bus station south of Baghdad, killing at least two people an injuring four, police said.

    "Every day there are explosions," said Abdelallah Hassan, who runs a pastry shop at the bus station. "The main blame should be directed not at the terrorists, but at the government which stands helpless in front of them."

    It is important to remember that these innocent Iraqis have done nothing wrong, they have not joined an army to go and invade another country, they are trying to live their lives as best they can, while occupation forces, and militant groups are committing all sorts of horrendous acts, it is no wonder that Iraqis want the occupying forces to get out of their country.

    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Police keep shoot to kill policy

    According to this article, from the Scotsman today, Ian Blair (i'm not calling him sir Ian, that, to some would imply respect, and the man is not worthy of respect) has stated that the shoot to kill policy will continue in Britain:

    SCOTLAND Yard's "shoot to kill" policy on suspected suicide bombers will remain in place, it was confirmed yesterday. The so-called Operation Kratos rules, which give officers guidelines for stopping imminent terrorist attacks, were at the heart of the fatal shooting in London last year of Jean Charles de Menezes, an innocent Brazilian.

    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    US Torture flights landed on Canadian soil at least 74 times

    This report from Halifax Live:

    The Canadian Press has obtained documents under the Access To Information Act which confirm that so-called CIA rendition flights have landed on Canadian soil 74 times since 2001. According to Amnesty International, "under international law, it is illegal to transfer people from one country to another without any kind of judicial or administrative process". Nations that knowingly allow these flights to land on their soil even if it's only for re-fueling, can be found guilty of breaking that international law.

    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    The Afghan "Gitmo" is much worse

    Indystar reports on another American gulag in Afghanistan, no doubt the captives there are also beaten black and blue until they "confess" to a crime as well:

    Former detainees said the renovations had improved conditions somewhat, and human rights groups said reports of abuse had declined steadily there since 2003. Nonetheless, the Pentagon's chief adviser on detainee issues, Charles D. Stimson, declined to be interviewed about Bagram, as did senior detention officials at the U.S. Central Command, which oversees military operations in Afghanistan. Other military and administration officials said the growing population at Bagram, which rose from about 100 prisoners at the start of 2004 to as many as 600 at times last year, according to military figures, was in part the result of a Bush administration decision to shut off the flow of detainees into Guantanamo after the Supreme Court ruled that they had some basic due-process rights under U.S. law. Whether those same rights apply to Bagram detainees has not been tested in court.

    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Moazzam Begg wanted to help his fellow Muslims

    This is a very interesting article, courtesy of the Information Clearing House:

    In his 20s Begg became more interested in politics - Islamic politics and politics politics. He never fitted one dogma neatly - conservative when it came to family values, leftist when it came to issues of equality. At heart, he says, he always supported the underdog - whether that meant the poor against the rich or the Muslim world against the west. But his loyalties confounded the simplicities of the "Tebbit test": he supported Pakistan when they played cricket in England because they were the underdog, and vice versa when England played in Pakistan.

    (Supporting the underdog, trying to understand the underdog, or having sympathies with them is actually a very British trait. It's something which we have more in common with our european friends and neighbours)

    Begg's spiritual journey took on a physical dimension. He travelled to Afghanistan on holiday, and ended up spending a couple of weeks observing military camps training the then mujahideen to fight in Kashmir. Many of the fighters he met had earlier been trained by the CIA to resist the Soviet Union invasion. He was told stories about how the Soviets had dropped dolls packed with explosives for children to pick up.

    (Remember those cluster bombs dropped in Afghanistan which looked like the food packages that were being dropped?)

    By the time he returned home to Zaynab, he says, he had put his unrealised war career behind him. If he was to live abroad, he would do so with the family. In 2001 he found the perfect project - teaching children in Afghanistan. But, again, he was foiled. He had been there barely two months and hadn't started teaching when 9/11 occurred, closely followed by the American invasion. In the scramble to evacuate, Begg became separated from his family and ended up in Pakistan. A week later he discovered his family had also made it to Pakistan and, bizarrely, were living a road away in Islamabad.

    The family were reunited for three months before he was abducted on January 31 2002. During his internment, he spent virtually two years in solitary, was kicked and beaten, suffocated with a bag over his head, stripped naked, chained by his hands to the top of a door and left hanging, and led to believe he was about to be executed. One psychiatrist encouraged him to kill himself. "She said, and I quote, 'Have you ever thought about getting your trousers, putting them round your neck and threading them with your bed sheet and tying them to the top of your cell and then jumping with that noose around your neck?' I said, 'No, I've never thought that till you suggested it.' These are the type of mind games they play with people."

    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    "'This time last week, we were in the cages at Guantanamo"

    Today's Observer takes a look at "using terror to fight terror":

    Their voices were subdued, but what they said had an almost explosive force. Before their transfer to American custody, they had survived a massacre of prisoners by the Northern Alliance troops of the Afghan warlord General Rashid Dostum, who herded them and hundreds of others into sealed truck containers in which dozens suffocated and were (much later) found by US investigators in a mass grave. The first English-speaking prisoners to be freed from Guantanamo, they told of abusive interrogation sessions, of worthless false 'confessions' and frequent beatings by an 'immediate reaction force' of guards.

    In the days after the story's publication, government agencies on both sides of the Atlantic did what they could to neutralise its influence. In the US, Pentagon spokesmen told reporters that the Tipton Three's claims were simply untrue.

    According to Steve Rodriguez, Guantanamo's chief interrogator, he and his staff had gathered intelligence so valuable that, 'We have been able as a result of information gained here to take operational actions, even military campaigns.' As the New York Times dutifully recorded, he emphatically denied 'the specific allegations of mistreatment made by prisoners recently returned to Britain'. Less than three months later, internal US administration memos confirmed that the treatment described by the three men corresponded exactly to official Pentagon policy.

    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    You know the answer

    What happens when you try to hand out recruiting information at a college Republican meeting? Er... hum... haw. I think you know the answer.

    Red State Road Trip.

    Oh god. I don't know where to start with this one (or in QT if you prefer). For the woman in the diner with the exceptionally poor reasoning skills, I offer this: "To announce that there must be no criticism of the President, or that we are to stand by the President, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public." - Teddy Roosevelt

    Saturday, February 25, 2006

    US: Republicans unfit to adopt

    Yahoo News has this piece:

    Hagan said that "credible research" shows that adopted children raised in Republican households are more at risk for developing "emotional problems, social stigmas, inflated egos, and alarming lack of tolerance for others they deem different than themselves and an air of overconfidence to mask their insecurities." For his part, Rep. Hood's legislation, backed by eight other conservative Republican lawmakers, would prefer 22,000 Ohio children to languish in foster care than be adopted or fostered by gay parents.
    I really don't know what to say to this, i'm speechless.

    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    More than 50 people killed in Iraq

    More killings in Iraq today, unfortunately, from Yahoo News:

    A car bomb exploded in the Shiite holy city of Karbala, killing at least six people, hospital officials said. Gunmen broke into a Shiite home northeast of Baghdad and massacred 13 male members, police said. Bodies of 14 Iraqi police commandos were found near their three burned vehicles near a Sunni mosque in southwestern Baghdad, police Maj. Falah al-Mohammedawi said. Two rockets slammed into Baghdad's Shiite slum, Sadr City, killing three people, including a child, and wounding seven, police said. Two Iraqi security officers guarding the funeral of an Al-Arabiya television correspondent Atwar Bahjat were killed and four other people were wounded when a car bomb exploded as mourners left a cemetery in western Baghdad. Bahjat was slain Wednesday along with two colleagues after covering the Samarra shrine bombing. Earlier, shooting broke out as the funeral procession was carrying her coffin near the home of Harith al-Dhari, head of the Association of Muslim Scholars, a prominent Sunni clerical group. One policeman was killed and two people were wounded in the shooting, police said, adding they believed the procession was the target. At least 21 other people died in small-scale shootings and bombings in Baghdad and western areas of the city, according to police and hospital reports. Gunmen also shot at a Sunni mosque Saturday in eastern Baghdad, police said. And two rockets damaged a Shiite shrine late Friday in Tuz Khormato, 130 miles north of Baghdad, police and witnesses said. Faced with one of the gravest threats of the turbulent U.S. presence in Iraq, American officials mounted a furious effort to get the political process back on track while Iraqi authorities defended their handling of the crisis.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    The Central Committee for Conscientious Objectors

    The Central Committee for Conscientious Objectors supports and promotes individual and collective resistance to war and preparations for war.

    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    "It is highly doubtful that Zarqawi or Baathists would commit such a crime"

    That's the opinion of the author of this piece, from the Asia Times, looking at the bombing of the Golden Shrine:

    It is highly doubtful, however, that Zarqawi or the Ba'athists would commit such a crime against such a holy place. First, al-Qaeda attacks are usually deadly. Bombs go off and hundreds are killed. Had al-Qaeda wanted to inflict pain, it would have detonated the bombs in broad daylight, during prayer time on a Friday. It is clear that this attack was intended to ignite tension, not to kill - nobody was in the initial attack.
    ...... It is very likely that this crime was committed specifically to be blamed on Zarqawi and the Iraqi branch of al-Qaeda. Many would gain from incriminating the Sunni insurgency, including the United States and Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari.

    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    US prepares case against class action law firm

    This report from the New York Sun:

    A spokeswoman for Milberg Weiss declined to comment yesterday, but an attorney for the firm told the Wall Street Journal this week that the firm had not been advised that an indictment was forthcoming. The expected prosecution is also causing political sparks, with some charging the Bush administration with a political vendetta and others claiming that Democratic officials shirked their duties while collecting campaign contributions from the attorneys caught up in the probe. Mr. Hayes said he believes that one factor fueling the investigation may be the business community's deep-seated enmity toward Milberg Weiss, which is one of the best-known and most feared class-action firms in America.

    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Sunnis and Sadr's Shias make peace

    No movement alleged to have been involved in that Mosque bombing has admitted responsibility. This should tell people something, the Iraqis seemingly are more determined than ever to unite, that simply would not be the case if one side really believed the other was responsible, that bombing was clearly the work of outside forces. This article from the Advertiser.

    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Riots erupt in Dublin

    UTV reports on running battles in central Dublin:

    Hundreds of demonstrators opposed to the Love Ulster rally involving unionists and relatives of IRA murder victims fought running battles with gardai. Security lines were attacked with fireworks, rocks, bottles and metal barricades.

    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    US and Iran - United again

    First the Bush regime, and those in power in Iran were united against gays, now it seems they're united against legal moves to sue the Iranian defence ministry, this report from Middle East Newsline:

    The administration has supported Iran in rejecting a suit by the brother of a slain Iranian dissident who sought to collect a $2.8 million judgement from Cubic Defense Systems. Earlier, the Defense Ministry won a suit against Cubic for failing to honor a contract to the Iranian Air Force signed in 1977. Officials said the administration was concerned that Elahi's victory could spark suits by terrorist victims against U.S. companies that owe money to Iran. The State Department has sought to use the billions of dollars in frozen Iranian assets as a bargaining chip in future negotiations to restore relations with Teheran.

    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Bombay - protests against Mosque bombing

    Deficient Brain informs us of protests in Bombay. See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Guantanamo: Eminem would have good grounds for suing Bush regime

    This is interesting, from Contact Music:

    Rap star EMINEM could sue the US Government because they play his music to inmates at Camp X-Ray in Guantanamo Bay without permission. THE ROAD TO GUANTANAMO director MICHAEL WINTERBOTTOM discovered prisoners at the notorious detention centre are blasted with the rappers music as a form of punishment.

    Perhaps Eminem should get in touch with Clive Stafford Smith, if he's not already done so, i'm sure he would be unhappy that his music is used as a form of torture.

    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    "A new social contract between the people and the state"

    According to Talk Politics, the Liberty Central website, which I mentioned some days ago should be "going live" soon. I keep meaning to post some ideas on the subject, and will try and post on the issue later. See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Scottish Labour minister calls for ban on torture flights

    icScotland has this brief report:

    Calls to ensure no Scottish airports are used for so-called torture flights have won backing from Scotland's justice minister Cathy Jamieson who said she sympathised with the aims of a motion on the subject.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Man gets 3 years for Armenian holocaust denial

    Of course, I doubt you'll ever see the headline, but people should be aware of this atrocity, just as people should be aware of other atrocities throughout history.

    Background information on the Armenian Holocaust

    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    In whose interests would a 3 state solution in Iraq serve?

    Some on the rabid right in the US have openly called for a 3 state solution in Iraq, i've often heard Republicans saying that this would be a good idea, while reports, such as this one, from the New York Post, also call for a 3 state solution in Iraq.

    Given the fact that a 3 state solution would have serious implications in the region, in particular, in Turkey, and Iran, as well as others, you would not have thought that the Bush regime would OPENLY call for such a solution, so, how would they go about trying to persuade people of their arguments, given their power, and military prescence in Iraq?

    Meanwhile, the Respect blog asks who benefits from the Golden Shrine bombing.

    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    January 2003: US admits British troops used to guard Iraqi oilfields

    Remember this, from January 2003, courtesy of the Daily Mirror?

    The Mirror revealed this week that the task of seizing the fields will go to British troops to squash suggestions of a US "oil grab". But, it emerged yesterday, US energy giant ExxonMobil is already in "pole position" in the race for Iraq's liquid gold. Oil industry analysts at Deutsche Bank recommend buying ExxonMobil shares despite worldwide uncertainty on the stock markets. Their advice is contained in a 35-page internal document leaked to the Daily Mirror. Last night, Friends of the Earth said: "Oil, oil, oil...that's what this is all about. America wants to get its hands on as much of the stuff as possible - and Iraq has the second biggest reserves in the world."
    Oh, and of course, Iraq was considering switching to the Euro as well. See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    July 2003: MI6 chief told BBC Blair & Co sexed up WMD claims

    A reminder, courtesy of The Observer, from July 2003:

    The head of MI6, Sir Richard Dearlove, secretly briefed senior BBC executives on Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction before the Today programme claimed Number 10 had 'sexed up' part of the evidence.

    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Papers proving Cheney energy task force interests in Iraqi oil

    An interesting reminder of the Cheney Energy Task Force, from July 2003, courtesy of Judicial Watch.

    Also, this article from the Washington Post took a look at the fact that oil chiefs met with the "task force" in 2001:

    A White House document shows that executives from big oil companies met with Vice President Cheney's energy task force in 2001 -- something long suspected by environmentalists but denied as recently as last week by industry officials testifying before Congress. The document, obtained this week by The Washington Post, shows that officials from Exxon Mobil Corp., Conoco (before its merger with Phillips), Shell Oil Co. and BP America Inc. met in the White House complex with the Cheney aides who were developing a national energy policy, parts of which became law and parts of which are still being debated.

    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    August 2003: US weapons inspector says "surprises lie ahead"

    Remember this, from 2003, courtesy of the BBC?

    David Kay, a special adviser to the CIA, said solid progress was being made, but would not be drawn on whether any actual weapons of mass destruction (WMD) had been found. Mr Kay said that Iraqi scientists were revealing new secrets about work on WMD and progress was also being made to unravel the regime's concealment tactics.
    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    2003: Iraq offered everything to avoid war but Hussein removal

    A reminder, from November 2003, courtesy of Breaking News.ie:

    The USA rejected a last-ditch Iraqi deal to avoid war, it was claimed today. A Lebanese-American businessman said he had conveyed a substantial offer to the US just days before the invasion but he was turned down. Imad Hage told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that Iraq was offering “everything” but the replacement of Saddam Hussein. Mr Hage said the Iraqis had offered a package of concessions to the USA allowing US inspectors to visit Iraq to search for weapons of mass destruction, which he said Saddam did not have.

    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Mosque attacked by gunmen in west Baghdad

    "Mission Accomplished" Bush? From Yahoo News:

    Gunmen attacked a Sunni mosque in western Baghdad on Saturday despite an unusual daytime curfew aimed at curbing a wave of sectarian violence, police said. Mosque guards returned fire, said police Lt. Thaer Mahmoud. There was no immediate word on casualties.

    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Tree protesters take on Tesco

    From today's Independent:

    The tree-squatters are furious at the supermarket's determination to turn the copse into a car park, servicing a superstore, petrol station, restaurant, shop units and 70 houses. Older locals are upset at plans to move the town's war memorial to make room for heavy vehicle traffic. About 1,700 signed a protest petition. "I have been here two weeks and I am not going anywhere. They will have to drag us from these branches," said Mr Carter.

    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Blair "This is not a caring country"

    The full quote from Blair, from today's Independent - "This is not a caring country while we allow such hopelessness to go unchecked. It isn't right and we can't afford it."

    He's been in power for 9 years, and he's only just realised this? I will repeat, Blair has been in power for 9 years, and only now he is saying these kinds of things, Labour suporters, you know what to do, you cannot stand idly by while your party is wrecking our country. Send Blair & Co a message they cannot ignore on the 4th May, at the local elections.

    Oh, and Blair, this is a caring country - It is you and your accomplices, who are only in power because just over 20% of all elligible voters voted Labour, who are not caring, most of the population does care, that's why we want rid of you. See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    FBI refuses to release "terrorist supplier" case documents

    According to this article, from today's Guardian, an international businessman, who, it seems was the subject of an entrapment operation by the FBI has walked free:

    Syed Mohsin Bukhari has spent 18 months in prison since he was arrested after a meeting at a central London hotel in 2002 with an undercover FBI officer posing as an agent for Farc, a Colombian guerrilla organisation.

    ...... Jurors were told Mr Bukhari and his family were experienced illegal arms dealers and he had supplied surface to air missiles and helicopters worth £50m to Pakistan. But the defence maintained the deals were legitimate because until May 2004 it was not an offence to broker deals between third parties outside Britain.

    The FBI began investigating Mr Bukhari after a tipoff in 1999 from an informant named Habib who said Mr Bukhari was close to a man called Ilyas Ali, who in turn was linked to a group in Peshawar, Pakistan, suspected of trafficking heroin and arms to the Taliban. The FBI also suspected Mr Bukhari of having close ties to Iran and Iraq. That October, the FBI officer, David Sullivan, posing as a Farc agent, met Mr Ali, who told him Mr Bukhari was looking to source tyres for Mirage jets for Iran.

    Why do the FBI carry out these entrapment operations? Surely they are counterproductive, in that it would be difficult to prove that, had a suspect not been contacted by these people and told about non existent terrorist plots, or asked for weapons, the suspect concerned would have either taken part in some terrorist plot (which had been imagined by the FBI in the first place)or sold weapons to terrorists?

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    Morrissey attacks Britain and US as undemocratic

    We need more high profile Brits speaking out. It's a disgrace that the man was quizzed by Speical branch and the FBI purely for branding Bush a terrorist and opposing the Iraq war. Whether you agree or disagree with Morrissey, you cannot allow these highly undemocratic acts to take place, this is fascism, pure and simple. See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Chinese activists vanish

    Today's Guardian has this report:

    At least eight prominent Chinese human rights activists have vanished after they joined one of the first overt attempts to coordinate a nationwide protest against the authorities since the 1989 democracy demonstrations. Political security police are thought to have detained the campaigners, who disappeared soon after they joined a relay hunger strike that has reportedly attracted several dozen participants in 16 provinces.

    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Russia wants Iranian nuclear plant completed quickly

    This report from Reuters:

    "We don't see any political obstacles to completing Bushehr and we are interested in it (the station) being launched in the swiftest possible period," Kiriyenko said, the Itar-Tass news agency reported. Moscow is offering to enrich the uranium Iran needs for nuclear power stations on Russian soil, an arrangement that would help ease international concerns that Tehran could divert the material for bomb-making.

    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Muslims to march for peace in London

    According to this article, from today's Guardian, organisers are expecting up to 10,000 people at a demonstration to show their commitment to a peaceful future, following the Mosque bombing:

    The London march was called after an emergency meeting of Muslim leaders, at the offices of the al-Khoei Foundation, the largest Shia organisation in the UK. The past three weekends have seen members of Britain's Muslim community gather for protests against the publication of cartoons satirising the Prophet Mohammad. The Metropolitan Police said they were aware of the march, and an "appropriate" policing operation was in place.

    Let's hope their version of "appropriate" doesn't entail hauling people off and questioning them on their political opinions.

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    US: 28th February - National Call in Day

    From United for Peace and Justice:

    Call your Representative and Senators at 202-224-3121 on Tuesday, Feb. 28th, and tell them: Not one penny more for war! Members of Congress are afraid to vote against this money because they don't want to be accused of not supporting the troops. It is time to stop using the troops as a shield for failed policy. It is time for the people of this country to speak up and show Congress how to stand up to the President. Help us flood the Capitol Switchboard with calls for peace by forwarding this email to your friends and family. (If you received this email from a friend, please consider joining United for Peace and Justice's ongoing action network to keep receiving our alerts.)

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    Watchdogs urge full probe of Bush propaganda spending

    This article from Common Dreams:

    Media reform groups are calling for a deeper investigation of Bush administration advertising and propaganda efforts following the release of a report that concludes the White House has spun a web of public relations (PR) contracts larger than previously thought. At issue are agreements to produce everything from advertisements to video news releases--government-vetted spots designed to air alongside and to be indistinguishable from regular televised news reports. Critics of the state-sponsored content said it constitutes part of a broader government attack on press freedom and that it amounts to a subversion of democracy.

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    A Bush voter apologises

    From Bring it on:

    For fiscal conservatives, the Armageddon that we have been warning about is here. I will take no satisfaction in having predicted it. Bush is in for a rough four years. And the country is in several very rough decades. Now back to your regularly-scheduled, big media arguments over bullshit….
    Original article here. See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Excercise your right of appeal Mr Livingstone

    Today's guardian reports that Ken Livingstone is considering appealing the decision, by an unelected body, to suspend him from his position as the mayor of London (Which he was elected to), for comparing a Jewish reporter to a Nazi concentration camp guard:

    "This decision strikes at the heart of democracy. Elected politicians should only be able to be removed by the voters or for breaking the law," Mr Livingstone said on Friday night. "Three members of a body that no one has ever elected should not be allowed to overturn the votes of millions of Londoners." He said he had been advised that the tribunal's decision could be open to challenge. "I will meet with my legal representatives early next week and will then make a statement about whether I will be exercising my right of challenge," he said.

    Excercise your right to challenge Mr Livingstone. We cannot have have an unelected body suspending people from office in this country, purely because a journalist claims that they have taken offence by comments made. See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    From "civil war" to "sectarian violence threatens Iraq's future"

    Raw Story reports that the New York Times has been caught in the act, changing its headline, despite the available facts:

    The New York Times declared on its website early Friday in a headline that the U.S. ambassador to Iraq, Zalmay Khalilzad, had warned to U.S. was on the "precipice of full-scale civil war." Their headline? "U.S. Envoy in Baghdad Says Iraq Is on Brink of Civil War." Within an hour and without explanation, the Times yanked the headline in favor of "U.S. Envoy Says Sectarian Violence Threatens Iraq's Future."

    Seems the information police have been knocking at the New York Times' Door, meanwhile, Fox News reports that civil war could be a good thing in Iraq. See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    "Christian" extremists gone wild

    The Lawrence Journal World has this piece:

    War widow Brandy Sacco wept and Patriot Guard Riders grimaced in disgust as the Rev. Fred Phelps told lawmakers Wednesday that he had a constitutional right to picket funerals of soldiers, carrying signs that say “Thank God for Dead Soldiers” and “Thank God for IEDs.” “States can’t decide which religious message is right,” Phelps said. Phelps and his Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka have made headlines picketing funerals of soldiers nationwide. Phelps said the soldiers were being killed because God was angry at the United States’ tolerance of homosexuality.

    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Friday, February 24, 2006

    "Mission Accomplished" - Civil War

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    Americans, you need to read this

    According to this article, from Truthout, a Republican senator, Lindsay Graham, has suggested to the US torturer general, Alberto Torquemada Gonzales, that "Fifth Columnists, supposedly disloyal Americans who sympathize and collaborate with the enemy," should become targets of the Bush regime's fascistic nature. That report, together with the post earlier about setting up gulags on US soil should make Bush opponents very worried. To those Americans who haven't yet woken up, you need to do so, quickly. See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Outrageous - Ken Livingstone suspended

    While Blair & Co claim that they helping to spread "freedom and democracy" in Iraq, and Afghanistan (though quite clearly, all they've helped to spread is civil war) at home, the mayor of London, Ken Livingstone is suspended from office by an unelected body, because of comments made to an Evening Standard reporter. See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    More Gulags for America to run?

    Our friend, Colcam, asks if Bush is planning to run more gulags, only, this time on US soil:

    Recent developments suggest that the Bush administration may be thinking about what to do with Americans who are deemed insufficiently loyal or who disseminate information that may be considered helpful to the enemy.During Senate Judiciary Committee hearings on Feb. 6, Sen.

    Lindsey Graham suggested to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales a new target for the administration’s domestic operations -- Fifth Columnists, supposedly disloyal Americans who sympathize and collaborate with the enemy, and U.S. officials have cited the need to challenge news that undercuts Bush’s actions as a key front in defeating the terrorists, who are aided by “news informers” in the words of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.
    No doubt when the rounding up begins, Blair will describe it as an "anomaly". See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    If Straw and Blair get away with this foul abuse, then the rule of law is finished"

    Those the words of our former ambassador to Uzbekistan, Craig Murray, who informs us that he is to give evidence to the European Parliament's "extraordinary rendition" committee on the 23rd March:

    Earlier in my career, I was the number 2 in the FCO's Aviation and Maritime Department. I can tell you for certain that, even by Jack Straw's standards, the "too expensive" claim is an appalling lie.When these planes touch down in the UK, they no longer have flag immunity. Which means that UK law applies rather than the law of the country in which the plane is registered. So when someone is being held against their will without legal authority- usually shackled to the floor - and the plane is on the ground at Prestwick, RAF Northolt or elsewhere, a serious crime is being committed.

    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    "A recipe for martial law"

    Northwest Meridian takes an interesting look at the increasing militarisation of America: The 1878 Posse Comitatus Act explicitly prohibited the use of the military in a domestic policing role. In disaster situations on American soil, the National Guard and Coast Guard are to be used, under the direction of the state governors and with logistical support from federal troops.

    Southern lawmakers helped push the Posse Comitatus Act after enduring years of U.S. Army occupation following the Civil War. They were motivated specifically against the military supervision of elections.

    During the war on drugs, this 1878 act was severely undermined; it was expressly violated during the Waco tragedy; and it has been all but eviscerated in the war on terror.

    But there is good reason to prohibit the use of U.S. military forces against American citizens. In “Domestic Militarization: A Disaster in the Making," Cato Institute senior editor Gene Healy explains, “Soldiers are trained to be warriors, not peace officers ... (P)utting full-time warriors into a civilian policing situation can result in serious collateral damage to American life and liberty."

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    How consumerism can change the lives of others

    Our friend, Jez, over at In Media Res ponders on that question, in this piece:

    We react when natural disasters take place, generously (though not always enough), yet we fail to see how changing our everyday habits could help prevent such disasters in the first place.

    Indeed.

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    Post "911" - Blogger exposes Rumsfeld's orders

    This story has been around for a while now, but the mainstream media is really only just starting to report on this. From the Guardian:

    The report said: "On the afternoon of 9/11, according to contemporaneous notes, Secretary Rumsfeld instructed General Myers [the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff] to obtain quickly as much information as possible. The notes indicate that he also told Myers that he was not simply interested in striking empty training sites. He thought the US response should consider a wide range of options. "The secretary said his instinct was to hit Saddam Hussein at the same time, not only Bin Laden. Secretary Rumsfeld later explained that at the time he had been considering either one of them, or perhaps someone else, as the responsible party." The actual notes suggest a focus on Saddam. "Best info fast. Judge whether good enough [to] hit SH at same time - not only UBL [Pentagon shorthand for Usama/Osama bin Laden]," the notes say. "Tasks. Jim Haynes [Pentagon lawyer] to talk with PW [probably Paul Wolfowitz, then Mr Rumsfeld's deputy] for additional support ... connection with UBL."

    Rumsfeld, like others in the rogue regime were determined for their war.

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    2001: Doubts raised over commitment by UAE to cut off terrorist funding

    This report is interesting, from the Guardian in October 2001, when thinking about this UAE ports deal:

    The Saudi man who flew to Karachi on September 11 is believed to have been Mustafa Ahmad. Sheikh Abdullah did not say which UAE bank or banks were involved in the key money transfers. In 1999, a US delegation travelled to the Gulf state with evidence which Washington claimed proved Bin Laden was channelling funds through the Dubai Islamic Bank. After the visit, a state department official said: "The government of the United Arab Emirates has told us that the Dubai Emirate government has taken steps to clean up the bank." More recently, US intelligence sources have been quoted casting doubts on the UAE's commitment to choking off Bin Laden's cash flow.

    From July 2001 - Bin Laden in a UAE hospital?

    In a further twist, French secret service operatives are said to have met officials from the US embassy in Paris last August after the arrest of Algerian Djamel Beghal in the UAE.

    A French secret service report on 7 September warned of possible attacks, and that the order to act would come from Afghanistan. Le Figaro says very precise information on targets for attack was communicated to the CIA.

    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Blair under pressure on "shoulder to shoulder" stance

    Today's Independent has this report:

    Asked why he had so far failed publicly to condemn Guantanamo, like his MPs and one of his ministers, Peter Hain, Mr Blair said: "I have said why I think Guantanamo is an anomaly. I also think it is important we never forget the context in which this has happened: the war in Afghanistan and the reason for that; the slaughter of 3,000 innocent people on September 11." Amnesty International also criticised alleged UK involvement in " rendition flights" by the US of terrorist suspects for questioning under torture. Mr Blair denied there was any evidence Britain had co-operated.

    Blair - You are a liar.

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    MI6 forced to pay compensation on mind control tests

    Today's Guardian reports that compensation has to be paid by the MI6 to victims of the agency's mind control experiments in the 1950s:

    The LSD experiments were conducted in 1953 and 1954 by scientists working for MI6 who were trying to discover a "truth drug" to compel prisoners to confess. MI6, then led by Sir John Sinclair, was worried that the Russians had a secret drug to brainwash cold war enemies. The service had seen captured American servicemen confessing to "crimes" during the Korean war and calling for a US surrender. A Hungarian dissident had admitted to crimes he did not commit. MI6's counterparts at the CIA also did LSD experiments on men without their knowledge to try to control their minds. Both agencies finally concluded that LSD could not be used to manipulate people.

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