Have your say! "Free Speech" or Muslim bashing? Do you support Iraq troop withdrawal? Iran invasion?
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  • Thursday, March 30, 2006

    Iraq Veterans Against the War

    From the Guardian via Common Dreams:

    ...A tall, white soldier steps forward in desert fatigues. "I was in Iraq when Katrina happened and I watched US citizens being washed ashore in New Orleans," he says. "War is oppression: we could be setting up hospitals right here. America is war-addicted. America is neglecting its poor." ... ...US soldiers such as him were told little about Iraq, Iraqis or Islam before serving there; other than a book of Arabic phrases, "the message was always: 'Islam is evil' and 'They hate us.' Most of the guys I was with believed it." ... "When IEDs [Improvised Explosive Devices] would go off by the side of the road, the instructions were - or the practice was - to basically shoot up the landscape, anything that moved. And that kind of thing would happen a lot." So innocent people were killed? "It happened, yes." ... "The American media doesn't cover it and they don't care. The American people aren't seeing the real war - what's really happening there." ... ..."There's this old guy, George, an ex-colonel. He shows up and talks shit on everybody for being anti-war because 'it's ruining the morale of the soldier and encouraging the enemy'. "I scraped dead bodies off the pavements with a shovel and threw them in trash bags and left them there on the side of the road. And I really don't think the anti-war movement is what is infuriating people." ... What upset him the most about Iraq? "The total disregard for human life," he says, matter of factly. "I mean, you do what you do at the time because you feel like you need to. But then to watch it get kind of covered up, shoved under a rug ... 'Oh, that did not happen'." What kind of abuses did he witness? "Well, I mean, I have seen innocent people being killed. IEDs go off and [you] just zap any farmer that is close to you. You know, those people were out there trying to make a living, but on the other hand, you get hit by four or five of those IEDs and you get pretty tired of that, too." Casey told us how, from the top down, there was little regard for the Iraqis, who were routinely called "hajjis", the Iraq equivalent of "gook". "They basically jam into your head: 'This is hajji! This is hajji!' You totally take the human being out of it and make them into a video game." It was a way of dehumanising the Iraqis? "I mean, yeah - if you start looking at them as humans, and stuff like that, then how are you going to kill them?" He says that soldiers who served in his area before his unit's arrival recommended them to keep spades on their vehicles so that if they killed innocent Iraqis, they could throw a spade off them to give the appearance that the dead Iraqi was digging a hole for a roadside bomb. Casey says he didn't participate in any such killings himself, but claims the pervasive atmosphere was that "you could basically kill whoever you wanted - it was that easy. You did not even have to get off and dig a hole or anything. All you had to do was have some kind of picture. You're driving down the road at three in the morning. There's a guy on the side of the road, you shoot him ... you throw a shovel off."

    Tuesday, March 28, 2006

    The confusing results of heartless rhetoric

    From the Daytona Beach News Journal via Common Dreams:

    In 1995, Jose Gutierrez was a 14-year-old orphan in Guatemala when he decided to do what 700,000 other Guatemalans had done -- enter the United States illegally. Two thousand miles and 14 freight trains later, Gutierrez crossed the border. He was promptly arrested by the Border Patrol. Being a minor and without a family, he was spared deportation and turned over to California's welfare system. He spent the next four years in foster homes, learning English, attending and graduating high school, getting his medical needs taken care of by the public-health system. As the lexicon of neo-flag-wavers would put it, Gutierrez was freeloading on the American taxpayer.

    When he turned 18, Gutierrez got himself a green card. He planned to be an architect. Not quite having the means yet, in 2002 he joined the Marines. A year later he found himself shipping off to Kuwait. And in the first hours on the first day of the Iraq invasion, he was killed on the outskirts of Umm Qasr, just inside the Iraqi border. He was the first of 2,322 Americans (so far) to be killed in the war. He is, as the lexicon of neo-flag-wavers likes to say, a hero, a patriot, among America's finest.

    So. Which is it? Freeloader? Illegal immigrant? Criminal? Or hero?

    UPDATED: Artists snub Rice, Liverpool protests on Friday, Blackburn on Saturday

    This post will remain close to the top of the page until Friday, originally posted yesterday:

    UPDATE: The Philharmonic's getting desperate, more on the Blackburn demo and throwing pavement slabs courtesy of Blair Watch.

    UPDATE: Radio City will be having a phone in tomorrow (Wednesday 29th March) on the subject of Rice's visit, you can call the phone in from 10 PM tomorrow on 0151 472 0967. Radio Merseyside also has a phone in every weekday from 11:30 AM to 2 PM, you can call them at 0151 709 9333. Call in, and let them know you support the protests.

    UPDATE: Cathy Tyson has also snubbed Rice, she will instead of performing for Rice, be protesting the warmonger's presence. Well done Cathy.

    The Liverpool Philharmonic is apparently struggling to find someone willing to host the event in honour of the lying warmonger, Condoleeza Rice on Friday evening.

    We reported last week that several in the arts world were considering boycotting the event. Roger McGough, a poet decided to snub Rice, and, i've heard reports that another potential host has decided to snub her.

    Rice is supposedly visiting as part of the lead up to Liverpool's capital of culture status in 2008, however, Rice will use this visit as a propaganda excercise, there are even suggestions she may run for US president in 2008.

    We must not allow the warmonger to hijack this great city's worthy celebrations of its cultural heritage. Rice represents a regime which does nothing to promote culture, in fact, some across the pond would even say that Rice is part of the regime which is systematically destroying aspects of American culture, as well as Iraqi culture. Rice cannot claim to be interested in culture, and we should not be helping to legitimise anyone from the pariah regime which invades nations, and massacres innocents, along the way, of course does nothing to protect Iraq's cultural heritage, in breach of the Geneva Conventions.

    Rice is not worthy to visit a great city like Liverpool, and I know there are many others who feel exactly the same. We must not allow her to hijack this event, and must protest.

    On Friday, there is a protest beginning at Liverpool's Catholic Cathedral, assembling at 5:30 PM, before marching to the Philharmonic Hall.

    On Saturday, there is a protest in Blackburn, beginning at 12 noon.

    Please visit Condiwatch.co.uk for more information, and please spread the word. We cannot allow the lying warmonger to think that she is welcome in our region, we cannot allow her to hijack the celebrations of the capital of culture like this. We must protest.

    UPDATE: Please click here for details of coaches from Bradford, Leeds, London, Manchester and Sheffield

    Blair Watch and Bloggerheads also have mentions of the Liverpool and Blackburn protests.

    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    MPs to get free vote on Lords reform

    Today's Guardian reports on talks between Labour, the Tories and Lib Dems on Lords reform. Interesting, Blair & Co now appear to be interested in Lords reform, only after the Lords dissented for a while on "glorification" of terrorism, are continuing to dissent on id cards, and, more recently, of cours, the loans for peerages sleaze affair:

    Mr Hughes said yesterday he believed the government had accelerated its interest in Lords reform after the "loans for lordships" controversy. Two days after newspapers exposed the alleged link, Mr Hughes received a call offering bilateral talks with Lord Falconer on March 16. These talks led to last Thursday's three-way talks. Lord Falconer denied the offer of talks was a smokescreen to hide the government's embarrassment over the scandal. He is likely to offer MPs only a limited number of options on the proportion of the upper chamber that is elected. MPs were given seven options when they last voted on the issue, in 2003, and rejected all of them.

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    Blair & Co will fail to reach carbon dioxide emission target

    According to this article, from the Guardian today, Blair & Co will fail to live up to their promise to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 20% by 2010:

    Labour had set a target of reducing CO2 levels by 20% by 2010, but Margaret Beckett, the environment secretary, will say it is no longer possible. The totemic policy has been an important weapon in Tony Blair's claim to be a world leader willing to go further than others on climate change, and the admission is likely to provoke fury from environmentalists.

    Publishing the government's much delayed climate change review today, Mrs Beckett will say the government believes the UK can achieve only a cut of between 15% and 18% of the 1990 UK emissions.

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    Sick police officers laughed as man lay dying

    Today's Guardian has this report:

    Yesterday, the Independent Police Complaints Commission published a devastating 400-page report, accusing the officers who dealt with Mr Alder of "the most serious neglect of duty", in which "unwitting racism" played a major part.

    The commission also showed horrifying CCTV footage of Mr Alder's last 11 minutes as he lay face down, choking and rasping on the floor, his trousers around his knees, while officers looked on, but made no effort to help him. Nick Hardwick, the IPCC chairman, said Mr Alder's death in the early hours of April 1 1998 was "unnecessary, undignified and unnoticed" and accused the officers involved of "disgraceful conduct".

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    Major strike today

    Bloomberg reports on the largest strike in Britain since 1926:

    The union that represents 1.4 million workers said teaching assistants, trash collectors and clerks working for local authorities will refuse to work today after the government said it will boost their retirement age to 65 from 60. Last year, Blair pulled back from similar plans for central government employees.

    ``Fairness has gone out of the window,'' said Dave Prentis, Unison's general secretary. ``The government has quite rightly agreed to give protection of their promised retirement age to every other public sector worker. But they are leaving members of the Local Government Pension Scheme out in the cold.''

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    Monday, March 27, 2006

    Your identity as government property

    Henry Porter writes this interesting piece, over at Comment is Free:

    As things stand, Labour made a manifesto commitment to introduce the cards on a voluntary basis. Charles Clark went back on that promise by insisting that all those who apply for a new passport must submit 49 pieces of personal information to the national identity register. In practice, therefore, the scheme becomes compulsory for anyone wanting to apply for, or renew, a passport.

    Lord Armstrong's case is that this deception allows the Lords to ignore the Salisbury convention, which normally dictates that the Lords do not oppose the government on the second reading of a measure that was in its manifesto. In other words, the measures as presented last year at the election have changed radically because of this compulsion.

    Indeed, they have, this bunch of liars in charge promised a voluntary scheme, not a compulsory scam.

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    Hastert link to Bin Laden - Has this been investigated?

    A flashback, from our September 2005 archives:

    Surely a member of the ruling elite in the US wouldn't have anything to do with terrorism, would they? Well, apparently so, according to this article, from the Online Journal:

    The article reveals for the first time that one of the elected officials that bin Laden-connected Turkish nationals claimed to have on their payroll was none other than Republican House Speaker Dennis Hastert, to whom bribes and illicit campaign contributions may have been funneled in order to get him to pull a House Resolution on Armenian Genocide from the House Floor in 2000. It also reveals that these same Turkish nationals claimed to have bribed several State Department and Defense Department officials to facilitate illicit conventional and nuclear arms trades, and had infiltrated U.S. nuclear weapons laboratories in order to sell U.S. technology to the "highest bidder" (al Qaeda, North Korea, Iran?) The one flaw in the Vanity Fair article is that it seems to boil Sibel Edmonds' testimony down to an Armenian Genocide resolution, when actually most of what Edmonds has testified about relates directly to 9–11 (It is not clear why a bunch of Turkish mafia types would have been so interested in a non-binding resolution on the slaughter of the Armenians by the Ottoman Turks at the beginning of the 20th Century: were they acting on behalf of the Turkish government, or were they afraid a freeze in U.S.-Turkish relations would cut off Turkey as a transshipment point for heroin and nuclear materials?)

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    A call out to the armchair warmongers

    From our 2005 archives:

    Uncle Sam wants you!

    Are you a blood thirsty warmonger, living in the US, who has no qualms whatsoever in other people dying to suit your twisted beliefs? Then you really need to enlist and join the US army. If none of the Bush family are willing to "sacrifice" their lives in the Bush regime's Iraq disaster, then why should anyone else? Buzzflash has this:

    "I demand that George W. Bush's daughters, and his eligible nieces and nephews, serve in Iraq to prove their support of Bush's 'noble war for a noble cause.' If the Bush family does not believe in 'sacrificing' for the war and is not willing to put their lives on the line, then Bush must bring the troops of middle class and poor Americans home now."

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    Reposted: When did Bin Laden become an American citizen?

    From last April: When did Bin Laden become an American citizen? According to this article, from Judicial Watch, the FBI won't release documents relating to the events following the 11th September 2001 because the release of those documents would "constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy.”

    The FBI invoked Exemption 6 under FOIA law on behalf of bin Laden, which permits the government to withhold all information about U.S. persons in “personnel and medical files and similar files” (because of the "unwarranted invasion of personal privacy)

    So, let me get this straight, a US agency has refused to release documents, claiming that releasing them would be a breach of a US citizen's right to privacy. But surely that doesn't make sense, Bin Laden after all is not an American citizen is he.

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    There is absolutely no evidence that Jesus existed

    This is a very interesting piece, and makes some important points for the fundamentalist extremists, in positions of power who believe that their "cause is just":

    No one has the slightest physical evidence to support a historical Jesus; no artifacts, dwelling, works of carpentry, or self-written manuscripts. All claims about Jesus derive from writings of other people. There occurs no contemporary Roman record that shows Pontius Pilate executing a man named Jesus. Devastating to historians, there occurs not a single contemporary writing that mentions Jesus. All documents about Jesus got written well after the life of the alleged Jesus from either: unknown authors, people who had never met an earthly Jesus, or from fraudulent, mythical or allegorical writings. Although one can argue that many of these writings come from fraud or interpolations, I will use the information and dates to show that even if these sources did not come from interpolations, they could still not serve as reliable evidence for a historical Jesus, simply because all sources derive from hearsay accounts.

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    America's reign of terror in Iraq

    Antiwar.com has this worthwhile read on the American terrorist campaign in Iraq:

    The American advocates of terror and torture as a means of "liberating" the people of the Middle East at gunpoint are right, in a sense: there is no other way to achieve the goal they have set for themselves. We have to become a nation of torturers and murderers before we can build ourselves an empire.

    As republican Rome morphed into an Imperial monstrosity, cruelty became a characteristic of the Roman character: gladiatorial contests were staged for the amusement of the decadent masses, and the Emperor himself attended the bloody festivities, turning thumbs up or down on the unfortunate losers.

    Today, Americans look on the Iraq war as little more than a form of entertainment, a series of flickering images darting across their television screens, disturbing but no more real than the latest horror movie. Although we are not quite as bad as the Romans – yet – in that no one seems to be enjoying the show all that much (save, perhaps, for Max Boot and Michael "Creative Destruction" Ledeen), we are inured, like our Roman antecedents, to the moral meaning of what we are seeing, numbed by our own powerlessness and a paralyzing indifference.

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    Bullying and sexual abuse at Deepcut barracks

    The Telegraph has this report:

    Although they will not all be named, 14 soldiers associated with the Surrey camp - some of whom are still serving - are expected to be singled out for criticism in the report by Nicholas Blake QC, due to be published on Wednesday.

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    Condoleeza Rice is not welcome here

    Blair Watch asks if this rendition will be hosted by Lennon and McCartney:

    To suggest Lennon or McCartney endorse either Condi's visit, or Extraordinary Rendition on the back of this would be ridiculous. But their names are being associated with it, and if Paul or those who look after John's estate aren't happy for it to be so, they should say so.

    Indeed.

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    Americans accused of mosque massacre

    From News.com.au:

    Police sources said 20 Mehdi Army fighters were killed in the fighting, close to Sadr's stronghold in the Sadr City slum, and five vehicles belonging to the militia were burned.

    A senior aide to Sadr, in comments capable of inflaming passions among the radical cleric's supporters, accused US troops of shooting dead more than 20 unarmed worshippers at the Mustapha mosque after tying them up. The mosque's faithful follow Sadr but the aide denied they were Mehdi Army gunmen.

    "The American forces went into Mustapha mosque at prayers and killed more than 20 worshippers," Hazin al-Araji said.

    "They tied them up and shot them."

    Earlier, in an unusual admission, Interior Ministry officials said a police major accused of taking part in death squad killings had been arrested in Baquba, north-east of Baghdad.

    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Blair won't go without a fight

    According to this article, from the Guardian today, Blair has said that it may have been a mistake for him to say that he'd not seek a 4th term in power, and that he wants to stay until the NHS crisis is resolved. (Which may well be a long time)

    The prime minister has made it clear to his inner circle that he wants to tackle the financial crisis in the health service and push through NHS reforms before he stands aside - a process that could take him into next summer and beyond.

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    No justice for Iraqi victims of American aggression

    The Times has this piece:

    The two incidents are being investigated by US authorities, but persistent eyewitness accounts of rampaging attacks by American troops are fuelling human rights activists’ concerns that Pentagon commanders are failing to curb military excesses in Iraq.

    The Pentagon claims to have investigated at least 600 cases of alleged abuse by American soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan, and to have disciplined or punished 230 soldiers for improper behaviour. But a study by three New York-based human rights groups, due to be published next month, will claim that most soldiers found guilty of abuse received only “administrative” discipline such as loss of rank or pay, confinement to base or periods of extra duty.

    That's so called "justice" in the eyes of the Bush regime.

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    Shame on you New Labour - How the NHS fails the elderly

    Today's Independent disturbingly reports that Britain's elderly aren't being properly treated by our NHS:

    The report's authors stated that "deep-rooted cultural attitudes to ageing" had led to thousands of elderly patients receiving inferior treatment to the young. The survey comes at an acutely embarrassing moment for Tony Blair, as the state of the NHS comes under increasing scrutiny amid widespread job cuts. Commitment to better care for the elderly has been a feature of Labour's winning election manifestos.

    "24 hours to save the NHS". That's what New Labour promised, and they did not deliver.

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    Huge protest in Los Angeles against anti immigration plans

    This report from the Independent today on a protest which far exceeded anyone's expectations:

    Helicopter footage of the march showed demonstrators packed into as many as two dozen city blocks around Los Angeles's City Hall. Crowd estimates ranged from half a million to more than a million. The protesters chanted workers' rights slogans in English and Spanish, waved flags from America, Mexico, Guatemala and elsewhere, and showed the face of a joyously multicultural America very different from the predominantly white, often anger-tinged anti-immigration movement.

    LA's mayor, Antonio Villaraigosa, the son of Mexican immigrants and a former labour activist, told the crowd: "We cannot criminalise people who are working, people who are contributing to our economy and contributing to the nation."

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    Afghan convert set to be freed

    The Independent today has this report:

    Afghan officials confirmed late in the day that Adbul Rahman, a 41-year-old who converted 16 years ago, would be released after the case against him was dismissed on what were described as "technical grounds".

    The judge, Ansarullah Mawlavizada, told reporters that the case contained "legal flaws and shortcomings" and would be referred back to Afghanistan's attorney general. In the meantime, judicial officials said, he would be released.

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    Brian Haw arrested outside parliament

    Today's Independent reports that the long time peace protester, Brian Haw was arrested outside parliament yesterday:

    Mr Haw, 56, and a supporter, Barbara Tucker, 44, were taken to Charing Cross police station before their release last night, pending a decision by the Crown Prosecution Service. Scotland Yard said Ms Tucker was arrested " on suspicion of unlawfully demonstrating in Parliament Square".

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    Sunday, March 26, 2006

    Hoon tells Lords to surrender on ID Cards

    EPolitix reports that Hoon has told the house of Lords to surrender to the Blairite agenda on ID Cards:

    The Bill would compel anyone getting a passport from 2008 to also have an ID card and have their details added to the national identity register.

    But Labour's general election manifesto pledged to introduce voluntary ID cards and opposition parties claim the proposals create a compulsory ID card "by stealth".

    No surrender.

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    SNP comments on New Labour's "peerage problems"

    From the SNP website:

    "I would call on those journalists who have taken these investigations seriously to not let up and for insiders to come forward so that the police may know just what goes on behind the doors at Downing Street. "To remove the cancer of corruption from Westminster politics will take the courage of good men to come forward as happened in the 1930's. Are people of such character still with us in the UK of today?"

    Good question, and well done to the SNP for referring this matter to the police.

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    Prescott: "I did nothing wrong, honest"

    According to the BBC, Prescott has responded to the allegations made over the past few days, saying that he didn't know anything about Minerva's secret loans to New Labour, he claims that he didn't even meet any of the businessmen involved.

    Of course, because no one in New Labour would ever do anything wrong would they? Anyone who says otherwise is trying to "undermine democracy" as we know it, "vicious terrorists" spreading rumours like that ey Prescott? It's all Al Qaeda's fault, New Labour had absolutely nothing to do with any wrongdoing, they're all divinely inspired, and guided by the greater good battling those "evildoers"

    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Blair knew of loans before picking peers

    The Sunday Times reports:

    The disclosure shows for the first time Blair’s hands-on role in the loans for honours scandal. He is thought to be the only person involved in choosing nominees who was aware of the identities of the financial supporters.

    He had previously accepted responsibility only for a loans scheme without admitting he was fully informed of who the lenders were. However, the insider said: “When Blair selected his shortlist of peers he was aware of which ones had given loans. He was given a long list of names to choose from and personally selected which ones to put forward. The prime minister knew exactly what was going on with the loans from the very beginning.”

    Oh dear.

    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    New Labour's little red bank book

    The Sunday Herald takes a look at the New Labour sleaze scandal, and the financial bankruptcy of the Labour Party by the Blairites:

    With a parliamentary investigation by the administrations committee looking at the loans, Labour’s NEC carrying out their own inquiry and Scotland Yard investigating potential illegality under the 1925 Honours (Prevention of Abuses) Act, which followed Lloyd George selling peerages, it is now likely that some of the 12 major lenders so far named will demand their money back. A demand to repay what some believe are loans totalling £20m (adding in the interest costs) is a financial nightmare for Labour. Although some point to the sale of its £6m headquarters in Old Queen Street in Westminster, property experts say profit from the sale will only generate at most £500,000 for the party. And that is a drop in Labour’s stormy financial ocean.

    Falling membership, falling membership income, unions legally unable to swell Labour’s coffers, the loans loophole for gong-seeking millionaires closed and the serious prospect of having to pay back the loans that got the party out of trouble less than a year ago, all point to Blair’s successor struggling to financially deliver the general election campaign that will be needed to defeat David Cameron’s Conservatives.

    One former treasury adviser, now working in a leading city firm, says: “The disclosure of these loans, and the embarrassment it will have caused to the individuals’ names, taints the entire process of political patronage. Those in the position to donate, may simply retreat fearing that any financial link to government will be damaging. Other ways will be found to benefit from a close link to government. Either way, the Labour Party have closed this avenue of funding. They needed generous loans to bail them out last time. Next time? There will be no next time. ”

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    Greens confident of increased representation after local elections

    From the Green Party's website, this page, for anyone considering voting Green:

    We believe that we can increase the number of Green Councillors on such authorities from the present 70 to around 100, gaining the Party's first representation of a number of Councils in the process, particularly in London. We are campaigning for strong results elsewhere that will lead to further gains in the next few years.

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    Union won't be campaigning for Labour

    According to this article, from This is London, the country's largest union, Unison, will not be helping Blair & Co's New Labour lot to campaign in the lead up to the local elections on the 4th May:

    Unison confirmed it had suspended its election campaigning for Labour while the dispute remained unresolved.

    The move is a blow to Labour, which faces tough battles in many councils across England in the May elections.

    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Sleaze - Prescott involved, Harman furious at being pulled from Question Time

    Within this report on our deputy PM's involvement in the New Labour sleaze scandal is a mention about Harriet Harman being withdrawn from the BBC's Question Time programme:

    Andrew Rosenfeld and Sir David Garrard, who together loaned Labour £3.3m, are major stakeholders in the Minerva property firm behind a £600m US-style mall in Croydon, south London. The Deputy Prime Minister, who says he knew nothing about the secret loans, refused an appeal against the rejection of a rival scheme in October. It is the second favourable decision made by Mr Prescott: in 2003 he waved aside objections to the giant Minerva tower.

    The news came as two more secret lenders last night turned up the pressure on Mr Blair by giving more details of how Lord Levy solicited the loans and helped conceal them from an independent honours watchdog.

    ......

    The competing versions of events leading up to Mr Dromey's bombshell keep at fever pitch Labour's internal crisis over the funding scandal. Charles Clarke questioned the treasurer's competence while Mr Dromey's wife, Harriet Harman, was removed at the last moment from BBC1's Question Time panel. Although the Home Secretary later apologised to Mr Dromey, tensions remain high amid fears that the lenders could bankrupt Labour if all sought repayment.

    Harriet Harman is said to be furious at being pulled from Question Time.

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    Scottish smoking ban begins

    Politics.co.uk reports on the first day of the Scottish smoking ban:

    The ban covers smoking in enclosed workplaces and was designed to protect bartenders and other workers from second-hand smoke.

    Ignoring the ban will cost punters £50 for lighting up in nearly every enclosed public place.

    First minister Jack McConnell said it was is time for "drastic" action to change the health crisis situation for future generations, as Scotland had a higher rate of heart disease, cancer and of strokes than most other European countries.

    The British Heart Foundation proclaimed today as an "historic day for Scotland".

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    Sleaze - 12 Angry men, and a shame faced Blair

    Actually, I don't believe Blair has any notion of shame, he certainly isn't willing to admit to that anyway, preferring instead to be happy that "other" divine powers will judge him. From the Independent today:

    Sir Gulam, who has openly supported Labour for about 12 years, is most upset about what his business partners here and in India think of him after weeks of negative publicity. A similar sense of bitter dismay is likely to be felt by all 12 of the lenders revealed under intense pressure by Labour last week.

    One, Rod Aldridge, has lost his job over the affair, stepping down as chairman of the IT support firm Capita to counter "spurious" claims his financial support helped to win contracts. Another two, Andrew Rosenfeld and Sir David Garrard, have endured publicity surrounding their firm, Minerva, after its application to build the City's tallest tower was waved through by John Prescott in the face of objections from English Heritage and others. Other rich and powerful men such as Professor Sir Christopher Evans, known as the "Biotech King", know that their links with the Government will be subject to scrutiny by hostile parties.

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    Cruel and insane: Budget cuts for mental health services

    While the numbers of people affected by mental health problems in our country appear to be increasing, health authorities seem to be cutting funding for essential services, this is an absolute disgrace, and is in no way "civilised". From today's Independent:

    Marjorie Wallace, head of the mental health charity Sane, last night described the plight of the estimated 10 million people suffering from mental illness as a "scandal bordering on cruel". "The real madness is that, while we are bringing in reforms, UK health trusts in debt are turning first to cutting mental health services. It's cruel and insane."

    It certainly is, and meanwhile, while they're cutting the mental health budgets, Blair & Co are determined for these very same people to "get a job", and, ironically, introducing a "social exclusion minister". It's all absolutely bloody appalling, and a disgrace that mental health patients in this country are being treated as some sort of "Untermenschen".

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    England's roads crumbling

    This report, from Politics.co.uk on the dreadful state of english roads:

    The RAC Foundation added that poor road surfacing was one of the top five causes of accidents for motorcyclists, and decades of disrepair had exacerbated the problem.

    Campaign manager Sheila Rainger commented: "Road maintenance is the Cinderella of local authority services. Good roads may not be seen as a vote-winner but investment in properly planned maintenance saves lives."

    However, the Local Government Association (LGA) insisted the majority of councils did prioritise road maintenance in their budgets, even though no specific government funding was allocated for this purpose.

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    Did Americans massacre 24 Iraqis?

    The short answer, to those of us who have followed the ongoing Iraq disaster, appears to be yes. From today's Independent:

    After Time magazine took up the story, an infantry colonel was sent to Haditha for an inquiry which concluded that the civilians died as a result of the Marines' actions rather than the bombing. But the colonel did not accuse the Marines of wrongdoing, saying the deaths were "collateral damage". Nor was there a challenge to the claim that the others were insurgents; it is not known whether the criminal inquiry now in progress will reopen the issue.

    ......

    Almost the only other instance was an air attack in May 2004 on what the US military described as a gathering of "foreign fighters" and local people said was a wedding party. Their version was backed up by a video showing dead children and smashed musical instruments. When asked to account for the footage, the response of the authorities was to demand the name of the cameraman who shot it. An aggressive response to accusations of misconduct is common. Last week Iraqi journalists filmed the bodies of five children, four women and two men whom local police said had been killed in their home in Ishaqi, north of Baghdad. A spokesman, Lt-Col Barry Johnson, said coalition forces knew of four people killed in crossfire but denied claims that officers had failed to attend a meeting with local people.

    The US military is either consistently lying to cover up for their crimes, or they attempt to minimise their crimes

    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    "Mission Accomplished"

    The Independent reports that Iraqi politicians have said that sectarian cleansing has already begun in Baghdad:

    Many Iraqi leaders now believe that civil war is inevitable but it will be confined, at least at first, to the capital and surrounding provinces where the population is mixed. "The real battle will be the battle for Baghdad where the Shia have increasing control," said one senior official who did not want his name published. "The army will disintegrate in the first moments of the war because the soldiers are loyal to the Shia, Sunni or Kurdish communities and not to the government." He expected the Americans to stay largely on the sidelines.

    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Maniac American massacres partygoers

    Today's Observer reports on yet more gun crime in one of our "civilised societies":

    Partygoers - some with faces painted and hair dyed for the occasion - ran for their lives from a rented house in a Seattle suburb. One staggered out of the house with a bullet wound, pursued by a man dressed in black who was carrying a sawn-off shotgun.

    When a police officer standing in the street told the gunman to put the weapon down, the attacker put the barrel in his mouth and fired. He had also been carrying a handgun and ammunition.

    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    "No child left behind"

    The Huffington Post offers a worthwhile look at the so called "no child left behind programme":

    Thousands of schools across the nation are responding to the reading and math testing requirements laid out in No Child Left Behind, President Bush's signature education law, by reducing class time spent on other subjects and, for some low-proficiency students, eliminating it.

    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Sleaze - Now it's the Tories turn

    Today's Observer has this report:

    An Australian hedge fund millionaire has emerged as one of the secret foreign-born bankrollers of the Conservative party, building fresh pressure on David Cameron to reveal the full list.

    Michael Hintze lent the money through an offshore trust, fuelling concerns about whether loans - which unlike donations to political parties do not have to be publicly declared - could have been used to channel money from foreigners into British politics.

    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    US supreme court to hear Guantanamo challenge

    According to this article, from ABC, the legality of Guantanamo is to bebrought before the US supreme court:

    The future of Australian terror suspect David Hicks is about to become much clearer, with the US Supreme Court preparing to hear a landmark challenge to the legality of the Guantanamo Bay military commissions.

    Early next week, lawyers for fellow Guantanamo Bay detainee Salim Hamdan will argue that the specially convened military tribunals are a fundamental breach of the United States constitution.

    Well the former White House lawyer Brad Berenson will be watching the proceedings with considerable interest, as he helped formulate the Bush administration's widely criticised detainee policies.

    It shall certainly be interesting to follow this challenge

    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    America's Iraq - A balance sheet

    The Asia Times takes a look at "liberated Iraq":

    Apart from the downfall of Saddam, not a single achievement in Iraq is noteworthy. The country today is a "democracy" in civil war - a democracy where human life is being wasted, along with the dreams and security of the Iraqi people. Inasmuch as free elections are a great asset of which all oppressed people dream, they mean nothing if security is lacking.

    Liberating a country is one thing, and keeping it in order is another. History will not remember the free elections that took place in January and December 2005 as much as it will remember the notorious pictures of the torture at Abu Ghraib prison. The killings and the death squads that haunt the streets of Iraq will live much longer in the minds of Iraqi people than the image of Saddam's statue falling in Baghdad.

    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Why is US policy in the middle east skewed in favour of Israel?

    That's the question posed by Justin Raimando, over at Antiwar.com:

    In the "mainstream" media, however, and certainly in Washington, D.C., the power of Israel's lobby is unchallenged. This hegemony has now been thoroughly detailed and analyzed in an important study by John J. Mearsheimer and Stephen M. Walt, published by Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government. Mearsheimer, the R. Wendell Harrison distinguished service professor of political science and a co-director of the Program on International Security Policy at the University of Chicago, is the leading advocate of the "realist" school of foreign policy. Walt is academic dean of the Kennedy School. Their study, "The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy," [.pdf] starts out with a bang

    Certainly makes for an interesting read.

    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    "Christian" B&B owners want rights to ban gays, unmarried couples and other faiths

    Today's Observer reports on several bed and breakfast owners, who want to retain the right to ban gays, unmarried couples, and people of other religions from their premises:

    Hundreds of B&B owners across the country have been writing to ministers complaining that the new rules will force them to 'betray God' and their consciences by allowing 'undesirables' to enjoy their hospitality.

    'We've had a lot of correspondence from Christian B&B operators who don't want to be forced to accept Satanists, Muslims, gays and even unmarried couples as guests,' said a Home Office official. 'Protestants have been writing in saying they shouldn't have to admit Catholics because they have an issue with their religion, Catholics saying they didn't want Jews under their roof and objections from followers of other types of faith.'

    How very "tolerant" of them.

    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    SNP MP calls for Blair prosecution

    Guido Fawkes informs us that an SNP MP has called for Blair to be prosecuted today:

    "if anybody has been corrupt or committing any crimes we have to recognise them as such, we’re equal in the eyes of the law and that includes the Prime Minister and especially the Prime Minister."

    The police are, of course investigating the latest New Labour sleaze affair.

    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Violence in Belarus

    Today's Observer has this report:

    Witnesses reported that police with riot shields blocked the path of the demonstrators who shouted 'fascists' and then dispersed; the remainder were beaten heavily with batons by police who fired teargas and stun grenades into the crowd.

    Two protesters were seen motionless on the floor, covered in blood, and there were unconfirmed reports that one had died in the violence. Scores of demonstrators were seen being herded into police trucks, including one of the opposition leaders, Alexander Kozulin, according to the Interfax news agency. 'He was beaten and arrested', his spokesman, Nina Shidlovskaya, told The Observer. 'I don't know where he is, and I am running from the special forces myself.'

    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Children continue to be the main victims of US occupation

    This sad piece, from Uruknet:

    According to Jean Ziegler, the U.N. Human Rights Commission’s special expert on the right to food, the rate of malnutrition among Iraqi children has almost doubled since Saddam Hussein’s ouster in April 2003. Today, at 7.7 percent, Iraq’s child acute malnutrition rate is roughly equal to that of Burundi, an African nation ravaged by more than a decade of war. It is far higher than the rates in Ugand and Haiti, countries also devastated by unrelenting violence.

    The population health problems are dramatically different than those facing young Iraqis a generation ago, when obesity was one of the main nutrition-related public health concerns. High rates of malnutrition started in the 1990s as a result of the U.N.-imposed sanctions to punish the Saddam Hussein regime for invading Kuwait in 1990.

    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    The New Labour Way - Attack and avoidance

    Notes From a Small Bedroom kindly linked to our post on the scandal of Ruth Kelly (The infamous Opus Deist within the Blairite coven) and her £72,000 expenses claim for her mortgage payment, when her mortgage payment was only £20,000.

    A Labourite soldier bravely lept to the prophet Kelly's defence over at the blog, saying:

    I love libertarians who succeed in finding people guilty despite not knowing all the facts, and reserve the right to criticise others as ‘authoritarian’. Pray tell us the details of this ‘corruption, Truth Seeker?

    I naturally had to reply, as, firstly, the Labourite councillor failed to address the point at all, and then decided to go off on their own tangent speaking rather patronisingly (typical of this lot speaking down to people), so I replied:

    Regarding the actual post over at A Logical Voice, where did I declare the Blairite sycophant guilty? Please point it out for me:

    http://logicvoice.blogspot.com/2006/03/more-new-labour-sleaze-ruth-kellys.html

    How do you account for the £50,000 gap?

    I’m sure it’s all really just a misunderstanding Piper, nothing to see here, just those nasty “lefties” attempting to smear the good name of the whiter than white Labour Party who could do absolutely nothing wrong, would never stab their own supporters in the back repeatedly, while the stupid fools stand there taking it, and would never condone torture, oh, except if someone else carries it out, and then they can claim anything said as “evidence” in a court ey?

    You should be ashamed of yourself Piper, I have nothing but contempt for you, and your rotten party.

    As you can tell, I don't really like patronising Labourite sycophants who don't like the truth, Piper decided to reply to me, and continue on the falsehoods theme, I pointed out to the fool that he was making rather a lot of assumptions, but they did not cease, from Piper:

    I have to make assumptions when people hide behind ridiculous aliases. Much as you may despise Labour, and much as e may mock your futility, I have to stand up and be counted for my views. As far as I’m concerned, they can take, or leave them. When you stand on your views, be they libertarian Tory, authoritarian Stalinist or loyal to your boots trot, then I might take you seriously. Until then, it’s back to doing whatever it is you do. Errm, nothing!

    And what exactly does "and much as e may mock your futility mean"? I didn't realise "e" was a word. It seems Piper is of the opinion that we should all have nothing to fear from being open, and not "hiding behind ridiculous aliases", of course the councillor probably doesn't knowthe meaning of online privacy, and hasn't heard about wacko nutjobs who troll the internet, there have been plenty of reports about them. It also seems that unless you actually declare yourself as a member of a political party, and remain loyal to them, the fool thinks that you're not standing up for your views, I just had to address this next falsehood, plus, I was in the mood for telling Piper exactly what I thought of his double standards, and of his willingness to put party before anything else:

    How ironic, a Labourite who is repeatedly stabbed in the back like a stupid fool, yet continues to stick with the party regardless (yes, I have read your blog in the past) is giving me a lecture on standing up for your views! Have I not stood up for my views by refusing to pledge my allegiance to party before anything else, and speaking out on issues I believe are important? Look in the mirror Piper, it is yourself who cannot be taken seriously, and your party which is undermining democracy in this country. But how typically New Labourite of you to twist things to suit yourself, something many politicians are good at. Standing for your views? That’s exactly the opposite of what you’re doing Piper, you’re obviously only interested in the power, just like many politicians, and you don’t like the truth do you?

    Piper didn't like the truth, and so, decided to attack once again:

    It’s a strange thing power, isn’t it. All those right wingers, seeking power, oppressing the poor truth seeker. But it is those who put forward their views to the people, the ones who stands on their views, and fall by them if necessary, who are undermining democracy. But the ‘truth seeker’ doesn’t stand. The ridiculous and self-appointed ‘truth seeker’ hides in his bedroom with his keyboared and monitor, and HE is preserving democracy.

    “refusing to pledge my allegiance to party” you say… in your cop out to avoid doing one measely thing for anyone. You are a joke… a self appointed, self important little joke. Get a proper life, why don’t you?

    This was quite obviously a fool of the highest order, not only had he launched an attack on me from the very beginning, preferring to avoid the actual point of the post, he had spent rather a lot of time doing so, and, as I pointed out earlier, Piper does actually have their own blog and seems to spend rather a lot of time trolling the internet. Rather hypocritical of him to say such things really, as well as potentially libellous. But, I got bored, and decied to make a final point by saying:

    Once again a falsehood Piper, I have stood on my principles, and in elections, and you still haven’t addressed the subject of this post, which is that £50,000 gap.

    Typical politician, attack and libel anyone who dares raise questions, and don’t address the subject, but that’s the New Labour way now isn’t it? And you lot are surprised at the so called “apathy” towards you? Your answer to measly turnouts and your party’s lack of a mandate at the general election lies partly with yourself Piper.

    Piper doesn't think i'm willing to "stand up for my views", Piper, quite obviously doesn't know me at all.

    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Police worried about political corruption of the force

    This report from today's Observer:

    Although Home Secretary Charles Clarke's drive to reduce the 43 forces in England and Wales to a number closer to 20 has encouraged a vigorous debate, Cramphorn fears more damaging elements of the government's restructuring plans remain largely unrecognised. He said legislation before Parliament would see the new police authorities 'wholly subservient' to Clarke.

    In comments that signal a change in escalating tensions between the police and the Home Office, Cramphorn said: 'The order-making powers for the secretary of state would mean he can write the rules to suit himself.. These arrangements will provide ministers with the order-making powers which will allow them to dictate completely to the police authority how, what, when and where its business is conducted.'

    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Saturday, March 25, 2006

    Bush claims he can bypass laws due to separation of powers

    This is just ridiculous, from the Boston Globe:

    When President Bush signed the reauthorization of the USA Patriot Act this month, he included an addendum saying that he did not feel obliged to obey requirements that he inform Congress about how the FBI was using the act's expanded police powers.

    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    British flexibility on dress code

    I came across this very interesting piece from Jez, over at the Free Republic of Republicdom in Exile today. I feel it raises some very interesting points, as well as questions:

    However, I hope the UK doesn't abandon it's traditional flexibility in legal matters to go down the french road of stubborn intolerance. Proof of UK flexibility can be seen in the fact, that despite uniforms still being the rule (whereas they no longer exist in France), this case is the first high profile case of a problem arising with a religious item of clothing in the UK.

    Jez is wondering whether it is common or rare for Muslim girls to wear a headscarf to school, if you know the answer to that question, then please go and let Jez know.

    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Charles Taylor to be handed over to Liberia

    The BBC reports that Charles Taylor, the former leader of Liberia is to be handed over by Nigeria to face war crimes charges:

    Mr Taylor is accused of selling diamonds and buying weapons for Sierra Leone's Revolutionary United Front rebels, who were notorious for hacking off the hands and legs of civilians during a 10-year war. He also started the Liberian civil war in 1989, before being elected president in 1997.

    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    6 more people killed in "liberated Iraq"

    From the Bahrain News Agency:

    Eyewitnesses said that the attack on the bus in the al- Waziriya district killed four of the bus' passengers and injured two others. Two policemen near the site of the explosion were also injured. In a separate attack, two people were killed and one injured by gunshots fired by the US military in al-Ratba, 500 kilometres west of Baghdad. Ahmed al-Kobaisy, a doctor at al-Ratba hospital said the three victims were shot at when their car approached the site of a US army base on the road. They were admitted to the hospital after which two of them died of their wounds.

    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Australia's snub to Blair

    This report from The Age:

    In a sharp break with tradition, the British Prime Minister will formally address only the House of Representatives, with senators to be invited only to sit in public galleries.

    ......

    According to Clerk of the Senate Harry Evans, the reason for the change is to make it easier for the Speaker to put down any dissent during Mr Blair's address.

    In October 2003, Greens senators Bob Brown and Kerry Nettle disrupted the joint meeting for President Bush, interrupting his speech with noisy protests against the war in Iraq.

    "Senators will be there virtually as observers in the galleries, as if they were members of the public," Mr Evans said.

    "So, if any of them interject this time, the Speaker will be able to instruct the security staff to throw them out without any difficulty.

    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Jesus, the imaginary friend

    Any fundamentalist extremists reading? Thanks to one of our readers who sent us this link in response to the "Rapture racket" post: Jesus Never Existed

    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    The Israeli lobby, where's the debate?

    David Hirsh, writing at the Guardian's Comment is Free blog last Thursday, stated, in regard to that controversial Harvard paper on Israeli influence:

    "You have to counter this article", Alan Dershowitz told The Jerusalem Post, "These are two serious scholars and you need to expose what they have done as ignorant propaganda". This is absolutely right. Although their position originates in a coherent theoretical perspective within international relations, it degenerates into a crude conspiracy theory. It needs to be critiqued and exposed. Harvard University is backing its professor, while making it clear that Stephan Walt represented only his own views in the article.

    As yet, no one has actually "critiqued, and exposed" this study by eminent academics.

    Daily Kos writes about the "debate" over this study, pointing out:

    During the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) annual conference this month, which attracted top US officials and congressional leaders, the new Republican majority leader in the US House of Representatives, John Boehner, vowed never to allow anti-Israel legislation to come to the floor. "As the new House majority leader, I can assure you that under my leadership, legislation that is in any way perceived as anti-Israel will not be considered in the House of Representatives," said Boehner.

    Meanwhile, Haaretz informs us that Harvard is removing its official seal, from the study, which, obviously does nothing to repudiate the allegations made in the original study, and, the Harvard Crimson reports that:

    Yesterday’s issue of The New York Sun reported that an “observer” familiar with Harvard said that the University had received calls from “pro-Israel donors” concerned about the KSG paper. One of the calls, the source told The Sun, was from Robert Belfer, a former Enron director who endowed Walt’s professorship when he donated $7.5 million to the Kennedy School’s Center for Science and International Affairs in 1997.

    “Since the furor, Bob Belfer has called expressing his deep concerns and asked that Stephen not use his professorship title in publicity related to the article,” the source told The Sun.

    But, of course, there's absolutely no truth to the allegations made in the original paper, and anyone who says otherwise is a "vicious anti semite".

    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    The US homeland insecurity department

    This article, from Truthout makes for a rather worthwhile read:

    Sometimes it's hard to understand just how Michael Chertoff understands his title, secretary of homeland security. Take this week, when Mr. Chertoff appeared before executives of the chemical industry, whose plants remain one of the nation's greatest vulnerabilities more than four years after 9/11. Mr. Chertoff did not chastise the industry for failing to protect their plants adequately. He proposed weak federal safety standards. He did not even fully embrace a recently introduced bipartisan Senate bill that would create meaningful standards.

    Instead, Mr. Chertoff seemed perfectly content to defer on key security matters to an industry that contributes heavily to Republican campaigns but has proved to be dangerously unwilling to take public safety seriously.

    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Blair must not be allowed to leave power voluntarily

    Blair Watch posts that Bloggerheads aren't happy, none of us should be happy at the current lot in power in Britain today:

    The men in grey suits must do their duty: Blair has to be persuaded to stand down. The announcement should take place this spring, with a leadership contest in the summer. (via)

    I disagree. For the good of the Labour Party, for the good of the country, and for the good of the whole bloody world, Tony Blair must not leave Downing St voluntarily... and if he does, he must be forced to resign in shame. (And before anybody makes any smart-arse remarks about intervention, I would remind them that this measure is far from pre-emptive.)

    Everybody needs to go and read this piece, over at Bloggerheads.

    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Poll - 83% of respondents believe Bush regime covered up "911" events

    If you go to this page, at CNN, you'll find the poll on the left hand side of the page. At present, 83% of people (29222 votes) believe that the Bush regime covered up events relating to the 11th September 2001 attacks, while only 17% (5872 votes) believe otherwise.

    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    US to captive: "We're holding you because we can"

    This report, from the St. Petersburg Times highlights the lawless, arrogant approach of the rogue regime in Washington very well:

    The suit claims that Hammoudeh's continued incarceration in an Immigration and Customs Enforcement wing of the Manatee County Jail is unconstitutional because he has been acquitted in the Sami Al-Arian case and received no jail time in a separate tax fraud case, in which he agreed to be deported.

    But government attorneys argued in their written response Tuesday that the overriding reason Hammoudeh remains in jail is because ICE can legally keep him for six months, according to a U.S. Supreme Court decision.

    In the Zadvydas case, the Supreme Court said it was illegal to keep a deportee in jail for more than six months without justification.

    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Labour MPs call for compensation for 85,000 pension scheme members

    Today's Independent reports that 27 Labour Party MPs have called for Blair & Co to compensate 85,000 members of pension schemes, who lost money when their employers went bankrupt. An 18 month investigation found that Blair & Co were guilty of "maladministration", and that these people should be compensated, but Blair & Co refused to act:

    Ms Osborne received the backing of more than 100 MPs two years ago when she led a similar assault against the Government on pensions, eventually helping persuade it to establish the Financial Assistance Scheme (FAS), which provides compensation for a small minority of those who lost their pensions.

    She now hopes to generate as much support again. "The focus is to put as much pressure on the Government as possible, especially in light of the Ombudsman's report," she said.

    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Hostages freed due to kidnappers' rift

    According to this article, from today's Guardian, Norman Kember, and 2 Canadians kidnapped alongside him were freed thanks to a rift between members of his kidnappers, leading to a tip off:

    The source said their guards got cold feet when more senior and ruthless members of the group turned up at the house in Baghdad and took away a fourth hostage, Mr Kember's American colleague, Tom Fox, and shot him dead.

    Mr Kember, 74, a Christian peace activist, is due to arrive home in Britain today. He was transported from the British embassy in Baghdad's heavily fortified Green Zone yesterday to catch a plane from the international airport.

    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Lukashenko banned from the EU and US

    This report from today's Independent:

    EU diplomats are drawing up a list of Belarussian officials who will be targeted by "smart sanctions" and final decisions will be taken on 10 April. Asset bans are also being considered though there is no reliable information on whether Mr Lukashenko has financial holdings in western Europe. Poland's Foreign Minister, Stefan Meller, said the list of those affected was still being drawn up and it was likely to be extensive.

    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    In some way you can understand what Chirac is saying

    In some way, I can understand why someone would be unhappy about the influence of another language in worldwide terms, however, this isn't only a problem outside the english speaking world, within the "english speaking" world itself there are serious cultural questions to be answered.

    For example, if we look at the term "9/11" (a snappy, headline friendly phrase), used around the world to denote the terrible events of the 11th September 2001. In Britain, we use a date/month/year approach to express dates. Now, this may seem like a trivial matter, but some would say it isn't, it's a matter of the distortion of a language, and it also shows laziness on the part of editors, rather similar to them dropping "on", "the" and so on from reports, presumably to bring down their word counts?

    The internationalisation of the media means that, increasingly, British media uses reports from the US. Now, in itself, that is not a bad thing, but, if British media outlets are going to do this, then they need to ensure they adjust the language accordingly for our own readership.

    I'll give you an example, reports from the US describe the Labour party as "Labor". Now, because "Labour" is the name of an organisation, not a noun, or verb the original spelling of "Labour" should be used and respected as the organisation is based in Britain. However, very often that is not the case.

    Some may claim these things aren't important, but, here I would disagree, a language is part of an identity. (ID Cards aren't a part of an identity, however much people tell us to love them as if they were)

    Indeed, language is constantly changing and developing, but, and this is a serious point, the gradual distortion of our language, in my humble opinion equals the gradual erosion of our very identity into something entirely different, perhaps this is a representation of something bigger? For this reason, I can understand Chirac's point.

    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Police are taking New Labour sleaze investigation seriously

    That's the opinion of Scottish, and Welsh nationalist MPs who made complaints to the police over New Labour's loans for peerages scam, according to this article, from the Guardian:

    Two senior civil servants in the Cabinet Office and Downing Street have received letters from the police asking them to assist in their inquiries. Scotland Yard effectively confirmed the move to delay the parliamentary hearings. A spokeswoman said: "We do not want any other inquiry to have precedence to a police investigation." She would not say who was being interviewed. But MPs on the committee may refuse to agree to a postponement unless the police bring charges. One nominee, Sir David Garrard, may be excused on personal grounds.

    The scale of the police investigation will come as further bad news for Labour, which has been knocked by the affair. Jack Dromey, the party treasurer, demanded an inquiry into the £13.9m loans given by 12 businessmen - four of whom had been nominated by Mr Blair for peerages. The scandal could put the party into financial crisis as it may be forced to repay the money given on loan. The Tories could also have difficulties. They have refused to disclose the identity of the 10 donors who have loaned more than £20m despite a request by the Electoral Commission.

    New Labour, or Old Tories, there's no difference really.

    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Half a million Chernobyl deaths

    This piece from today's Guardian looks at the ongoing impact of the Chernobyl disaster, almost 20 years on:

    The new estimates have been collated by researchers commissioned by European parliamentary groups, Greenpeace International and medical foundations in Britain, Germany, Ukraine, Scandinavia and elsewhere. They take into account more than 50 published scientific studies.

    "At least 500,000 people - perhaps more - have already died out of the 2 million people who were officially classed as victims of Chernobyl in Ukraine," said Nikolai Omelyanets, deputy head of the National Commission for Radiation Protection in Ukraine. "[Studies show] that 34,499 people who took part in the clean-up of Chernobyl have died in the years since the catastrophe. The deaths of these people from cancers was nearly three times as high as in the rest of the population.

    "We have found that infant mortality increased 20% to 30% because of chronic exposure to radiation after the accident. All this information has been ignored by the IAEA and WHO. We sent it to them in March last year and again in June. They've not said why they haven't accepted it."

    How about an explanation from those who won't accept these studies?

    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Development approval "nothing to do with" £200,000 Labour donation

    Today's Independent looks at Minerva's donation to New Labour, and a tower block development in London:

    John Prescott, the Deputy Prime Minister, is facing suggestions that there could have been a link between a £200,000 donation to Labour by Sir David Garrard, former head of the Minerva group, and the company's planning application for an office block called Minerva Tower. English Heritage claimed it would ruin views of the Tower of London, but Mr Prescott refused to call in the application for review after it was approved by the Corporation of London. The charge was dismissed by his officials, who said his refusal to intervene was "based on the merits of the case".

    No, of course, the decision had absolutely nothing to do with that £200,000 donation. This lot think the public is stupid if they think we believe that.

    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Russia gained intelligence from inside US central command

    This is an interesting report, from today's Guardian. It seems that somehow, Russia managed to infiltrate US central command, and channel intelligence to Baghdad:

    US forces moved into Iraq across the border with Kuwait but the report said the Iraqis were receiving intelligence which "fed suspicions that the attack out of Kuwait was merely a diversion". Another document, dated April 2, claimed Russia told Iraq that the US would cut Baghdad off from the south, east and north, concentrating its efforts around Karbala, where it would amass 12,000 troops and 1,000 vehicles - a claim that bears more resemblance to what actually happened.

    It's interesting that Russia managed to gain intelligence from inside the US central command, were there "dissenters" in the highest parts of the US military who did not agree with the illegal invasion of Iraq, and decided to pass that information to Russia?

    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    Friday, March 24, 2006

    NYPD Caught Lying About RNC Arrests

    I distinctly remember being told on NYCIMC that those arrested were obviously guilty because... they were arrested. Oops, wrong yet again, boys. From Democracy Now!:

    In New York, the police response to the Republican National Convention protests is continuing to come under criticism. For the first time a high-ranking police supervisor has admitted that police arrested about 400 people around Union Square even though the police never gave an order to disperse. The disclosure was made in a deposition made by Deputy Inspector James Essig. On Wednesday the New York Civil Liberties Union accused the police of lying about the circumstances surrounding the arrests of hundreds of protesters during the Republican National Convention.

    Flashback: Voting "irregularities" in Britain

    With the upcoming local elections, it is worthy to remind ourselves of the "wide open to fraud" electoral system, which would "disgrace a banana republic, from May 2005:

    When I had not received my polling card I called up Tower Hamlets Council and was told I was not on the electoral roll. When I asked how can that happen since I voted last year in the European and local elections, they said that when canvassing address's the people must have decided that my address doesn't exist! He found me on the electoral roll for last year and had no decent reason for me being taken off other than an administrative mistake. If I had missed paying my council tax I'm sure they would have noticed my address exists straight away.

    Indeed.

    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts

    How do you speak New Labour?

    Blair Watch offers some insight, and wonders about registering as a trade union:

    A small prize (a strings-free OBE, or a seat on a quango perhaps - maybe even a handy change in legislation to help your company) is offered for anyone who can work out what four commas, two changings and a change in the same sentence are meant to mean.

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    Reposted: This is no democracy

    From May last year:

    The Sunday Herald reflects on the fact that while Blair's New Labour lot received only 35% of the votes (most likely they received less than that when you factor in vote rigging) in this election, they managed to win about 60% of the seats in the commons

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    Bush and the dirty war

    Ariel Dorfman has this interesting piece, over at Comment is Free, as you can see from the comments section there, the usual torture apologists and deniers show up:

    With his popularity at an all time low and the disastrous war in Iraq devouring his presidency, I am sure that George Bush has not given a second thought to the thirtieth anniversary of the military coup in Argentina. True, Bush's brain does not seem to exert itself with many thoughts of any kind, first, second or third, and yet, there is much he could learn from the terror unleashed in Argentina, an onslaught by its Armed Forces which would lead to the "disappearance" of thirty-thousand men and women.

    Please do read the whole thing.

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    "How many ballot papers would you like sir?"

    Remember this, from last year? With the local elections taking place on the 4th May, if you suspect any dodgy goings on, contact the police, and your local electoral registration department as soon as possible:

    Yesterday one voter in Charles Clarke’s constituency in Norwich claimed that he had been sent 14 ballot papers — three each for him and his wife at their current address, two each at their previous address, and four for the previous residents of their home. Kevin Kyle, a mortgage adviser, said: “The system is a farce.”

    We will, of course, be keeping our eyes peeled for reports of "voting irregularities" over the next few months.

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    American ex marine jailed for rapes in Japan

    BBC reports that an ex US marine has been slung into jail for 9 years for not 1, but 2 separate rapes in Japan:

    The US military presence is sensitive, due to local concerns about noise, the impact on the environment, and crime.

    The country is still scarred by the 1995 rape of a Japanese schoolgirl in Okinawa by three American servicemen.

    That's why it's not surprising that so many Japanese want them out of their country.

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    Reposted: Some notes on the Afghan Constitution

    I thought it was worthy to repost this, from January 2005:

    The Afghan Constitution can be viewed by clicking here

    1 - The constitution doesn't make a distinction between church and state: Article Two Ch. 1, Art. 2

    The religion of the state of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan is the sacred religion of Islam. Followers of other religions are free to exercise their faith and perform their religious rites within the limits of the provisions of law.

    Article Three Ch. 1, Art. 3

    In Afghanistan, no law can be contrary to the beliefs and provisions of the sacred religion of Islam.

    Many Bush regime supporters use the fact that Islamic law was imposed upon the Afghans under the Taliban as a reason for invading the country. Seems that one theocracy has merely been replaced by another.

    2 - The historic struggles

    While acknowledging the sacrifices and the historic struggles, rightful Jihad and just resistance of all people of Afghanistan, and respecting the high position of the martyrs for the freedom of Afghanistan

    I wonder if the Bush regime realised these "historic struggles" included assisting Bin Laden in his "rightful Jihad" when fighting against the Soviets, when they decided to support this constitution?

    3 - The national flag

    The national insignia of the state of Afghanistan is composed of Mehrab and pulpit in white color.

    Two flags are located on its two sides. In the upper-middle part of the insignia the sacred phrase of "There is no God but Allah and Mohammad is his prophet, and Allah is Great" is placed, along with a rising sun. The word "Afghanistan" and year 1298 (solar calendar) is located in the lower part of the insignia. The insignia is encircled with two branches of wheat.

    I seem to recall many of the right wing extremists objecting to similar language on another country's flag.

    Article Twenty-Nine Ch. 2, Art. 8

    Torture of human beings is prohibited. No person, even with the intention of discovering the truth, can resort to torture or order the torture of another person who may be under prosecution, arrest, or imprisoned, or convicted to punishment.

    An investigation by the Guardian found that torture and humiliation were routinely used by US troops in Afghanistan.

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    MEPs look at 2 more cases of US kidnap and torture

    Noticias has this report:

    “I am a victim of extraordinary rendition”, said Maher Arar, declaring himself ready to shed light on a practice he considers an illegal means of "outsourcing torture". “I am not a terrorist. I am not a member of al Qaeda” he told MEPs, as the committee investigating alleged use of European countries by the CIA for the transportation and illegal detention of prisoners discussed two specific cases of extraordinary rendition on Thursday.

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    Philippines judge quits Americans rape trial

    ABC News has this report, regarding the ongoing case of the 4 American sailors accused of rape:

    The four sailors, being held in the custody of the U.S. embassy in Manila, deny the charges filed in December, saying only one of them had sex with the 22-year-old woman and that it was consensual.

    A person convicted of rape in the Philippines can be sentenced to death.

    Judge Renato Dilag of the regional trial court in Olongapo City, northwest of Manila, said he decided to withdraw from the trial after the lawyer for the alleged victim filed a petition asking him to step aside.

    "This was triggered by my denial of the motion to defer arraignment," he told reporters.

    "Right now it's getting hot," he said, hinting at political and diplomatic pressure over the case. "I used to joke … that the only pressure I was getting was from the media. Apart from that, I did not feel any pressure coming from anybody."

    Now, I wonder who'd want to protect the accused rapists?

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    Mr Kember celebrates freedom

    From the Manchester Evening News:

    "I have had the opportunity to have a shave, relax in a bath and have a good English breakfast," he said.

    "I'm very much looking forward to getting home to British soil and to being reunited with my family."

    British Embassy officials in Baghdad said Mr Kember was expected back in Britain in the next two days.

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    Blair to sit in on Australian cabinet meeting

    The Sydney Morning Herald has this report:

    THE British Prime Minister, Tony Blair, will become the first world leader to attend a full meeting of federal cabinet on Tuesday.

    Mr Howard made the decision to include Mr Blair because of the broad nature of his discussions with the Government. It will follow one-on-one meetings with Mr Howard as well as with the Opposition Leader, Kim Beazley.

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    Protests will greet Blair in Australia

    The Australian reports that Blair will be getting a cold welcome from many in Australia:

    While hundreds of anti-war protesters are promising to give the British Prime Minister "the welcome he deserves", the Greens have invited Terry Hicks, the father of captured Australian David Hicks, to be their guest for the 30-minute speech.

    Greens senator Kerry Nettle said she had invited Mr Hicks to meet Mr Blair, whose Government is challenging a British High Court ruling to grant David Hicks British citizenship, which had given him hope of release from Guantanamo Bay. "I am proud to have Terry as my guest and in doing so give him the opportunity to see Mr Blair and perhaps have a few moments to ask for his help to save his son from the cruel US political prison," Senator Nettle said.

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    Well done Mr McGough - Poet snubs Rice

    Just a couple of days ago, I posted that various artists, including the Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, had been urged to boycott a visit to Liverpool by the lying warmonger, Condoleeza Rice.

    The Liverpool Echo has reported that a prestigious poet, Roger McGough, has decided to snub her, and will no longer take part in any introduction for her pleasure. Well done Mr McGough, now, let's see more artists pull out, or turn their back on her. It would be wonderful for any viewers to see the real feeling of displeasure against the rogue regime across the thankfully huge pond.

    This visit will not be a visit about Liverpool being the capital of culture, it will merely be yet another propaganda event for yet another lying member of the rogue regime. Condoleeza Rice will not be welcome in Liverpool.

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    Brown on a collision course with other ministers over war powers

    Today's Independent reports that there are some in the cabinet who oppose Brown's plans for parliament to have the final say on issues of war:

    Lord Falconer insisted it would be "positively detrimental" to the ability of the armed forces to protect British interests.

    "The Government's position is that the current arrangement on the power to deploy UK troops abroad should remain as it is," he told the House of Lords Constitution Committee.

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    The "rapture" racket

    There are all sorts of wacky websites, run, quite obviously by fundamentalist extremists who positively drool over the "rapture". There are also those who attempt to "preempt" their own version of the "rapture". "The rapture racket", from Third World Traveller takes a look at this myth, and states:

    "They [the Left Behind books] are instilling this terrible fear in children that people are going to be left behind. It is not biblical. There is no Rapture in the Bible," Rossing told Rutherford Institute's John Whitehead. "9/11 was a wake up call to America," LaHaye told Morley Safer in his "60 Minutes II" interview. "Suddenly, our false sense of security was shaken. Now we realize we're vulnerable. And that fear can lead many people to Christ." "I see many signs of the Lord's return. This could be the generation that's going to hear Jesus shout from the heaven and we'll respond to be with him. And you don't want your loved ones to be left behind," he pointed out.

    The Rutherford Institute gently prods the extremists, with this piece, titled "God So Loved the World that He Gave Us World War III":

    I think Darby genuinely believed what he was saying about the rapture. But he did invent the notion of the two-stage return of Christ; that is, a rapture of believers and then a return as a sort of warrior king. The Apostle Paul never taught this. No other biblical figure did, either. Prior to Darby, there was no one teaching a line between the so-called rapture and the so-called 7-year period of tribulation, with a second coming of Christ. This was all new, and it began in the 1830s.

    However, despite the fact that "the rapture" isn't mentioned in the Bible once, according to scholars who study these things, you'll still get people claiming that it is described. Strange, these same people usually claim to take the Bible literally, yet, in this one instance they refuse to take the Bible literally, and attempt to get a meaning out of the words contained.

    I'm just so grateful that I haven't had to undergo such fierce and determined indoctrination by people who will attempt to twist things to suit their own agenda. Thankfully, I don't belong to any organised religion, if you're wondering, it helps to keep you sane I feel.

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    The unanswered questions over ministers and Capita

    This article, from today's Independent ponders some rather worthwhile questions which have yet to be answered by Blair & Co:

    How much business has the Department of Transport placed with Capita Group and its subsidiaries in each of the past five years?

    ......

    For which current tenders have Capita Group and its subsidiaries been invited to bid?

    ......

    What meetings have Alistair Darling, the Transport Secretary, and other ministers held with directors and senior executives of Capita Group and its subsidiaries?

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    Death squad democracy

    The Information Clearing House has this rather interesting read on "Death Squad Democracy" in Iraq:

    "In Iraq, the war comes in two phases. The first phase is complete: the destruction of the existing state, which did not comply with the interests of British and American capital. The second phase consists of building a new state tied to those interests and smashing every dissenting sector of society. Openly, this involves the same sort of shock therapy that has done so such damage in swathes of the Third World and Eastern Europe. Covertly, it means intimidating, kidnapping, and murdering opposition voices."

    Fuller backs up his observations with ample evidence; citing open-source material he has compiled in his research:

    "What we do know, however, is that hundreds of Iraqis are being murdered and that paramilitary hit-squads of the proxy government organized by US trainers with a fulsome pedigree in state terrorism are increasingly being associated with them."

    The objective of the death squads is not simply to target one particular group or ethnicity, but to direct the violence outwards creating as much fear as possible in order to pacify the population.

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    4000 NHS jobs cut in the last 2 weeks

    In Blair's own constituency, 700 NHS jobs have been lost, according to this article, from today's Guardian. That's how this lot repay you for voting New Labour:

    Job losses announced over the past two weeks included 1,000 at North Staffordshire, 300 at the Royal Cornwall, 300 at New Cross hospital, Wolverhampton, 300 at Telford and Shrewsbury, 200 in Plymouth, 400 at NHS Direct, 180 at Peterborough. On Wednesday the Royal Free hospital in north-west London said 480 posts would go and St Mary's hospital, Sidcup, earmarked 190.

    Strategic health authorities submitted plans to the Department of Health on Wednesday for eliminating deficits in 2006-07. They are believed to include closing hospitals and shedding more staff.

    So, does that "24 hours to save the NHS" sound a bit hollow now Labour supporters?

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    No real justice

    Colcam has posted about the case of the Abu Ghraib dog handler, who abused captives, and has got off very lightly, with a sentence of only 179 days in prison for his crimes:

    He could have been sentenced to more than 8 years in prison, forfeiture of all pay and allowances and a dishonorable discharge.

    If he had been found guilty on all counts he would have faced up to 24 years in prison.

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    US house passes bill to OK Bible classes in high schools

    This report from Macon.com:

    The proposal, originally introduced by a band of Senate Democrats, surprised many by urging that the Bible should be taught as an elective in Georgia's public schools. Republicans quickly substituted their own version, which specifies that the Bible itself would be the course textbook. The measure easily passed the GOP-controlled Senate last month by a 50-1 vote.

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    A break in to end all break ins

    The Los Angeles Times has this rather interesting article, detailing a US domestic spying programme uncovered 31 years ago:

    Found among the Media documents was a new word, "COINTELPRO," short for the FBI's "secret counterintelligence program," created to investigate and disrupt dissident political groups in the U.S. Under these programs, beginning in 1956, the bureau worked to "enhance the paranoia endemic in these circles," as one COINTELPRO memo put it, "to get the point across there is an FBI agent behind every mailbox."

    The Media documents — along with further revelations about COINTELPRO in the months and years that followed — made it clear that the bureau had gone beyond mere intelligence-gathering to discredit, destabilize and demoralize groups — many of them peaceful, legal civil rights organizations and antiwar groups — that the FBI and Director J. Edgar Hoover found offensive or threatening.

    For instance, agents sought to persuade Martin Luther King Jr. to kill himself just before he received the Nobel Prize. They sent him a composite tape made from bugs planted illegally in his hotel rooms when he was entertaining women other than his wife — and threatened to make it public. "King, there is one thing left for you to do. You know what it is," FBI operatives wrote in their anonymous letter.

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