Tag Archive: war on terror

London StW 15Feb_2003

There is little of which I am truly proud in terms of my participation in this world, (my children being the principle exception to this) but the fact that I stood up 10 years ago and said “Enough, this has to end now” is something with which I may hold my head a little higher and feel that there was a reason for being here at this time.  For those who say the Stop The War marches in 2003 did not change anything I would say this, ten years on, I still remember them and I know many of the others do and if necessary I and they are prepared to go and speak up again.  I still believe I was right to do so the first time and as my children are older now I can tell them why I did it and why a part of the country’s parliamentary democracy died that day, where a smaller part of the grassroots democracy was truly born.  Did it lead to anything long-lasting – only history can tell that story but it did come at a time when people had been silent and suddenly many found their voice.

StW 2003 was the largest peacetime march in the country’s history, I’m not sure it wasn’t the largest in any time but people have always referred to it as the largest in peacetime.  Even the police figures said well over half a million (which itself was larger than the Countryside Alliance march some weeks before of whom 300-400,000 had marched in 2002 to protest about fox hunting and urban encroachment into rural values).  The BBC put the figure at over a million and generally on these occasions the real figure would be regarded as higher than that. (My figures of the Countryside Alliance march are going on the car bumper stickers the organisers had printed after the event in their claim to be the largest demo at that time.)

To remind people of the context, in the lead up to the march in 2003 the US and UK were already in Afghanistan on a somewhat questionable pretext and their aim was now to go into Iraq. The writing had been on the wall for Saddam Hussein for some time and an aide, I think it was Paul Bremmer, has since told of George W. Bush’s statement for them to get him something, anything that they could use to go and get Saddam on.  He wanted to finish the job started by his Pappy a decade earlier and remove the man the US had formerly propped up for years in the fight against Iran.  The US administration didn’t find anything concrete, and they ought to know since most of the hardware Iraq had would have gone through them, so they invented the WMD fiction and went in anyway.   Many innocents died on the pretext of liberation, the West claiming that they were doing this in the interests of the Iraqi people, presumably the interests the Iraqi people may not have known they had yet.  I saw one interview done by John Simpson, I believe, where he interviewed some Iraqis after Saddam’s forces had been defeated and asked them if they did not now feel that things were better after Saddam.  “George Bush, Saddam, we don’t care we just want peace” was the honest reply.  People will be divided on their opinions as to where Iraq post-Saddam is, in these polarised times many opinions will be made up mostly by the prevailing news channel that gives you all your “facts” but I think few would consider it truly a united or stable country even a decade later.  And as for Afghanistan…!

This may therefore seem like our effects were a futile and hollow gesture meriting record only of the current statistic of greatest size of action of its type.  However a Professor of Chemistry at Cairo University came and spoke at a meeting I attended sometime in late 2003, at the time we were indeed feeling a little deflated since we couldn’t help but start to feel the march had accomplished little of long-standing significance, given US intervention in Iraq anyway, people were dying and we had wanted to stop that happening but it was going on and we were being forced to witness it every night on the news.  Whilst we were able to tell ourselves that if nothing else we had stood up to be counted it was difficult to really convince the detractors that we had done something more than moral actions and plastic sabre-rattling.  The Professor though told us to look on things from a different angle as they had been marching on the same day in the Arab world and our efforts had not been in vain.

We were being given updates that there were 1.5 million on the streets in London, over 1 million in Barcelona, nearly 2 million in Madrid, 500,000 in Berlin, 200,000 in Paris millions in Rome etc.* and it told us that this war was not a Western war, it was not leaders acting with the support of their people but in spite of it.  It broke the glass facia that suggested a polarisation between the peoples of the West and the East.  The myth of a clash of civilisations.”  He went on to say that whilst we might not have stopped the US going into Iraq it was likely that they would not have the mandate or the inclination now to go into Syria which had certainly been mooted at various points both before and after the Iraq invasion.  (I intend to write more on Syria given its current relevance but since it has taken me sol ong to write even the one post this year I will publish this one before moving on).

I wish that all the people who had been on the march could have overheard the Professor and could have felt the strength and the vindication that they had done a good thing, a significant thing.  They would certainly not learn such things from the mainstream media who barely made reference to it at the time and certainly do not now.  It was important, it was genuine grass roots democracy, not just the usual dissenting suspects, not just an attempt to railroad people into a specific dogma, the participants came from too broad a spectrum for that.

What is difficult to refute by the detractors is the enormous global scale on which the march took place, the level of coordination was immense it was a different kind of globalisation and one which encompassed a pan-ideological base.  An unprecedented number of people across the planet mobilised in spite of their governments and gave an unequivocal message that what was happening was wrong.  In terms of the total figures worldwide it will always be impossible to get anywhere near the actual number with any degree of certainty or proof, indeed the ranges I have seen go from 6 million people to 30 million people in around 60 countries.  In Canada over 100,000 took the the streets of Montréal in temperatures of -30 (with wind chill), a group of Scientists from the McMurdo Station stood on the shore of the Ross Sea in Antarctica and a town in New South Wales had a march 2,500 strong which was the size of the town’s own population.

Some cite Canada’s reluctance to send troops to Iraq then as having been a consequence of the strength of feeling across the country, it may well have stopped others, Michael Moore has already pointed out the somewhat ridiculous claim that the coalition was anything more than the United States, a couple of its Western allies and a large amount of dependencies and military bases around the world.  The consequences of the march may in fact be felt for years to come, perhaps into the next decades.  I heard somebody speculate that in the UK almost every work place with more than 100 people in it was likely to have had someone who had attended the march on that weekend and that this meant news would be transferred in the old fashioned way by word of mouth and not a politically motivated sanitisation.   One might wonder whether 10 years later the reluctance of the British Parliament to write a blank cheque of British lives to the illegal action in Syria may stem from the actions of 2003 and aftermath, either by the involvement of some, or the memory of others.  What is clear is that there are cracks in that supposedly impenetrable ‘special relationship.’

Did we stop the action in Iraq happening in 2003 no we did not but I along with millions of others across the globe made it quite clear that this was not in our name, we did not support the action and that betrayal by our governments will sit long in the memory for some of us.  And it is reawakened now.

*The 2004 Guinness Book Of Records listed the march in Rome on the 15th February 2003 as having been attended by around 3 million and was the largest anti-war rally in history.  Wikipedia breakdown of figures by country

Song Of The Day ~ Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy – Cursed Sleep

I got an email from my twin the other day. She asked me whether I thought the timing of the current alert level in the UK regarding the perceived terrorist threat was too coincidental to be plausible, I thought by the tone of her message that she might be afraid that she was presenting some wildly speculative conspiracy theory. I answered that I felt she had read the situation quite correctly and I felt that if you were to take the film The Matrix as an allegorical story about the flow of general news and information across the Western world then I think it would portray things pretty acurately.

In addition to that recently I saw a news article that the police were issuing “unprecedented amounts of information regarding the recently arrested terror suspects.” I heard the information, much of it seeemed to relate to “possession of articles useful for preparing acts of terrorism” including instructions (no further qualifying information given) and maps, including maps of Afghanistan (no further qualifying information was given.) Now bearing in mind I have a copy of the Anarchist cookbook and a large 200 page atlas, I also possess the same information they have carted others off for. So if they want a reason to bang you up now, all they need is potential, this is no longer just some lunatic paranoid conspiracy theory it is exactly what they are doing, this to me spells one clear thing if they want to get you you’re fucked, after all who doesn’t have a map, some sugar, some bleach, or a can of petrol in the car? They still can’t determine what you’re thinking but they can lock you up just in case you might be thinking something they don’t want you to think.

Instrumental in this is the way it is all handled in the media, it is the frog and a pan of water analogy. Drop a frog into a pan of boiling water and the frog wriggles and writhes and dies in pain. However put a frog in a pan of cold water and heat the pan and the frog doesn’t notice the change in temperature and dies without a struggle. Were all the information presented to us in one go many would put 2 and 2 together, this cannot be alllowed to happen so it is trickled like the sand from the escape tunnels in the pocket of the POWs is sprinkled down the trouser leg into the yard. The proof of this is that if you present people with factual information about just how bad things have got they simply will not believe you, because they cannot conceive that such things would happen without them noticing.

The control of the flow of information and the desire to exercise social control by propaganda and tacit brainwashing is nothing new. The Nazis use of it is well-documented but increasingly less-taught, perhaps because through its teaching one would see the inevitable parallels. You might think that just rhetoric and sensationalistically extreme but I would suggest you look at the rise of a man called Alfred Hugenberg and his control of the German media in the 1920s-30s. If you cannot see the parallels between him and someone like Rupert Murdoch or Sylvio Berlusconi (the worst but by no means the only people to use their influence to attempt to brainwash the public to their own subjective view of reality.) then I would be very surprised indeed.

An example of how this media whitewash has been used is the way our parents and grandparents were subjected to was the treatment of the Cuban Missile Crisis in October 1962. It is very widely reported the key to the crisis was Kennedy’s standing firm in the face of Soviet threat to the Free World and how he made the Soviet premier Nikita Khrushchev back down. This just simply isn’t true, it neglects to mention that the Soviet claim for the citing of the missiles was in fact the protection of Cuba from the United States, after all under Kennedy’s presidency the US had already attempted to perpetrate a coup d’etat in the Bay Of Pigs incident in 1961. One must remember that if this claim to be providing missiles as defence rather than as an aggressive act does not stand up to scrutiny then the US was just as guilty having placed its missiles to “protect” the United Kingdom, Italy and Turkey. In fact the US was far more the aggressor of the time since it possessed over 300 land-based Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles to the USSR’s 6 and overall according to the National Resources Defense Council’s Archive of Nuclear Data the US had 27,297 warheads to the USSR’s 3,332.

It was in fact the Soviets, principally Khrushchev who ensured that no retaliatory action was taken by Cuban forces against the aggressive US tactic of low-flying aircraft over Cuban territory seemingly in an attempt to provoke the first armed response. Khrushchev’s mistake was that in return for his decision to have the Cuban missile bases decommissioned the US withdrawal from Turkey was not widely publicised saving Kennedy the embarrassment of the climb-down. This failure ultimately led to Khrushchev’s removal from power 2 years later because the rest of the politburo felt that the propaganda war had been won by the US.

More recently the media propaganda situation has had to become more clinical, more systemic so much so that many people take it all for granted without questioning the legitimacy of the sources of information. We have news 24 hours a day but that does not mean we have all the news, we are reliant on certain key stations controlled by a very small number of organisations, the control must be absolute because it is no use trying to create fervour if the evidence from certain quarters contradicts it. These days you will find very little conflicting news.

After all if one charts major world events over the last five years they have gone something like this:

11/9/2001 World Trade Centre attacks. The US administration decides very quickly that since Al Qaeda have used training camps in Afghanistan, the Taliban are responsible for 9/11 and that gave the US carte blanche to exercise its “right” to a regime change. (Neither the fact that these camps had been setup with CIA funds, nor anything to do with the Caspian Oil Gas pipeline were mentioned.) After the Taliban had been removed from Kabul and a regime had been installed with a ‘safe pair of hands’ the US sought to turn its attention elsewhere knowing that the objectives for going into Afghanistan had been accomplished. Hamid Karzai’s election passed off with little fuss, no mention was made of the fact that in 1996/97 he was a consultant to American oil company Unocal on the US$2 billion project of a certain oil and gas pipeline between Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan, the Caspian pipeline. Interestingly much of the traffic of this pipeline is designed to provide support for the Dabhol power plant near Mumbai, designed to provide up to 20% of India’s energy needs and majority owned by Enron. You can see one might be forgiven for thinking that it is the same names cropping up again and again.

I do not think the 11th of Sept attacks were a conspiracy or the organisation behind them a fabrication this would be historical revisionism but I do believe the US government made what it wanted to out of them, after all they strung the war on terror out to include a nation that had previously nothing to do with Al Queda or the 11th Sept attacks simply because they wanted to remove a guy they put in charge in the first place. (No mention was made at the time of UN resolution 1441 that US President George W. Bush had already long since decided that it was a question of when rather than if the US would invade Iraq, and according to his Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill despite there not being any evidence of WMDs, Bush’s resolve was firm that it would be done whatever. No mention was made of Saddam Hussein’s past links with the CIA).

During the height of the Northern Ireland conflict only an idiot would have thought that because there were bombs going off in England that all Irishmen were terrorists and yet this is the logic applied currently, that Islam is a violent religion and by extension all Muslims have a guilt by association tag. And yet another example of the subjective presentation of events does come out of the Irish case because whilst globally the vast majority will know something of the IRA and the republican actions, only those far more involved would be able to name loyalist paramilitaries or the political parties that represent them. Ian Paisley, a supposed man of the cloth, is allowed to peddle his ideology of hate and intolerance whilst any foot out of line on the other side results in politician and media frenzy.

I do believe that Iraq had WMDs at least it had possessed them within the 10 years leading up to the US invasion, whether or not they had already been used is another question but to my mind the smoking gun the US was allegedly looking for was something they held all along, namely the invoices to the weapons they themselves and their allies had sold. The US had shown little interest in the welfare of the Iraqi people when Saddam was massacring Kurds, nor did they leap to help the Iraqi resistance in 1991 when uprisings around Basra and the Southern provinces were brutally crushed.

Now after the toppling of the secular Saddam and the leaving of an Iraq in no fit state to resist the US takeover of infrastructure and oil distribution, the US looks around for someone else and suddenly the Syrians are “sponsoring terrorism”, but it’s too soon after Iraq and they can’t quite get the troops together and there’s this public outcry so that dies down for a bit but wait, the Iranians are developing nuclear technology and this could mean they’ll have a bomb, but that just doesn’t seem to capture the imagination of the other major nations, they aren’t buying it Russia and China are standing firm, and lo, miraculously Hizbollah come out of the woodwork after Lebannon has been stable for years and there’s talk of Syria getting involved and now finally they’ve got a proper scrap in the Middle East.

There is little analysis as to what is causing the problem in the this conflict, little criticism of the role of Israel, often the aggressor, whilst Hizbollah are subjected to widespread vitriolic condemnation. it can only be a matter of time before an individual in Hizbollah is singled out as the most evil person since… (notice also that the list of comparitive evil epitomes does not include certain people like Suharto, Pinochet, Kissinger, Nixon etc.) Nothing creates crazed frenzy and panic like a good old fashioned apocalyptic threat at home, that really galvanises people to hate the bad guy, proper pogromic lynch mob hysteria that is.

So I guess that’s a yes I do think the current terror alert in the UK rather conveniently timed. After all how can it be that the really big terrorist acts get through with no intelligence and yet capriciously timed others are found out, and strangely made public very quickly. Surely you would want people to remain calm, business to continue as usual, you’d keep it under wraps until it had been fully investigated and picked apart. In addition to this whilst it is claimed that security is on high alert across the country’s airports it is not especially evident in anything other than irritating bureaucracy and ridiculous rules and hand luggage. Perimeter fences remain easy areas to get to with full views of runways and the discovery of a 12 year old boy who got through all the security checks without even having any travel documents does not seem to backup the government and police assertions.

The trouble is we are rarely made privy to the intelligence they claim to base a lot of these alerts on, it is very wooley and non-specific and a raft of knee-jerk legislation usually follows, accompanied by much outcry and yet passed through the legislature just the same. This is the government of the state of constant heightened alert. If one takes the perception of the world at large and in particular that of the safety of people and property there is a perception that crime against the person is sufficiently on the increase to make people feel insecure in their own homes. Where has this perception come from? By and large most people find out about crime through their neighbours and the media. Since communities are being increasingly eroded the reliance on the media seems likely to become almost the only source of information.

If you listen to the government around election time they will tell you that crime is going down and has been for their tenure, they will in turn quote statistics to prove it whilst the opposition will look at the statistics for individual crimes and single out the ones that are going up. However when it comes around to the time of passing repressive home office legislation the government are quick to single out the upturn in certain types of crimes so as to make you afraid enough not to question their decision to further erode your civil rights. Since the opposition are just as right-wing as the government their critique is that the legislation doesn’t go far enough.

In the UK at the moment anyone would be forgiven for thinking that up until the last 5 years there was no such thing as anti-social behaviour and that we have seen this sudden surge in crime committed by an evil youth element. (No mention is made as to the lack of social spending focused on people between the ages of 10-16.)

Contrary to what the mass media might have you believe, Raymond Kelly, Commissioner of the NYPD says that crime overall is down 12% in the US and down 65% in New York. This is not to say that there are not genuine problems, gun crime amongst the young is emotive and shocking but hardly widespread which is why events like Columbine create national and international headlines. Interestingly the lobby who will campaign that there is too much sex and violence on our TVs never protest at the morbid fascination that the media has with real-life tragedy such as Columbine, after all they choose to see it as the vindication of their idea and not as could be suggested the propagation of the problem.

Yes you can switch off the TV, or not read the newspapers, but equally then you will not know what the masses are being fed and it is therefore more difficult to counteract it. The advent of digital cameras and blogging will undoubtedly lead to greater independence in the recording of information, albeit from many different subjective sources, but to determine what is the news is often easier than one thinks. Firstly disregard the pap, the celebrity shite, gossip and such bollocks, this is not news, it is noise. Secondly ask yourself who is doing the telling and what they may want to achieve by putting a particular point of view forward. Thirdly find a source of information that is diametrically opposed to the first source you found and compare the information they gave. Think of it in the sense of a football game. The news is who played and who won, if you ask 2 fans on opposing sides they will tell you many different things about events of the game but they will both tell you the same result because that part of the report is fact. The rest is conjecture.

If people fail to finally realise the processed homogenised information that is being fed to them then Orwell’s vision of 1984 becomes ever more real only with far more technological instruments than Orwell could ever have envisaged. After all, news published on websites, how many people have the power to check if what is there 1 week after an event is what was reported originally on the actual day?

“He who controls the present, controls the past. He who controls the past, controls the future.”
-George Orwell

Song Of The Day ~ Zero 7 feat. Sia Furler – You’re My Flame

Original Comments:

kevin g made this comment,
Took me a while to read your entry, but I understand your point. Control of the media is a tool as you supply the facts/statistics you “feel” the public needs to know. But the public are just as much sheep as they let on to be. I know far too many “patriotic”/flag waving fellow citizens who really have no clue of what’s going on outside the US! It’s funny that I posted a bunch of The The lyrics in an entry, as I was hoping to drive the point home, the relevance, as the songs were from the 1980’s and related much more to 2006, though I guess I didn’t make an impact, as you are surely to do. Thanks.
-Redbaron responds – Hi Kevin, I appreciate your patience and committment wading through what turned into something of a marathon. The public are sheep, but it is important for every one of us to keep speaking up against the force majeure. Besides anyone else who quotes The The lyrics deserves to have their message heard. Which song did you use? Heartland/Angel Of Deception?

comment added :: 27th August 2006, 17:01 GMT+01

To the casual observer General Pervez Musharraf has played a deft diplomatic game since seizing power via a military coup in 1999. Whilst condemned at the time by the USA, albeit not with the same fervour that they have condemned many others, the Bush presidency has been more than happy to allow Musharraf to remain in power whilst he plays their tune and Musharraf has duly obliged, as a result no criticism has been levied as to Musharraf’s failure to step down as the country’s President in January 2005 as he had promised months earlier. For the US it really has been a better the devil you know, Musharraf is not from the usual Punjabi stock and whilst a muslim he is considerably more inclined to secular rule than any potential sucessor.

Musharraf has played a risky but personally effective strategy in preventing the US army from much operations within his territory whilst at the same time retaining the semblance of being a ‘vital ally’ in the US’s ‘war on terrorism.’ This is a neat trick and there are many who have sought to play this double agent strategy against the US and failed, just ask the Taliban, once great friends of the US. Indeed yes, the US is not so bothered about imposed Sharia law in countries through which the lucrative Caspian gas pipeline is being built, not bothered that is until the Taliban started having a problem with US T’s & C’s and then miraculously the Americans feign amazement at their being Al Queda training grounds in Afghanistan – you’d think they’d remember them since they helped build and fund them of course! When you are the US though you don’t let a messy little thing like the truth stop you. Quite the contrary, you go blazing into the country and replace the government with a ‘safe pair of hands’ in the case of Afghanistan it was former Unocal advisor* Hamid Karzai (*Le Monde 9/12/01) who was entrusted with the ball.

To ensure diversity in the fossil fuels department the US decided to pick on another former ally in the form of Saddam Hussein, the reasons for the Iraq attack were numerous: first, foremost and most obvious was the safeguarding of some cheap oil in the wake of potential difficulties in the attempted removal of Hugo Chavez from Venezuela, second was the continuation of a job, the ‘sins of the father’ if you like. Sources have shown that Bush Jnr was looking for whatever excuse to change the regime in Baghdad and having failed to pin any Al Queda link on the Iraqi leader and obviously being unable to accuse him of Islamic fundamentalism they decided a bit of Jackanory ought to sort the issue. So armed no doubt with the receipts of the chemical weapons agents from transactions at the time when Saddam was welcome to bomb and gas the shite out of the Iranians, the US decided that the evidence was unclear that he had used up his chemical arsenal on the Kurds and therefore took a gamble. The British, always happy to oblige in an obedient dog sort of way, made the mistake many dogs do of being a little too exuberant and completely fabricated a claim that the weapons, which didn’t exist, could be fired on British troops who weren’t there in 45 minutes. Even the US government decided not to use this one, which shows just how ludicrous a claim it was because the US themselves in their time have invented some fair old shit to suit their ends. Another reason it was important to go into Iraq was that the failure to find Osama Bin Laden was all well and good, after all one didn’t want to capture him because then the world would be bereft of a bad guy for the Keystone cops to track down, but it made the US look bad, so they wanted to have their cake and eat it. Perfect plan, they thought, let’s hunt down a geezer who isn’t even on the run, we can’t lose, and into the bargain there’s a country to destroy and then rebuild again, so the US defence industry is quids in, the military is occupied for a while, the country rallies round for a good war shortly before an election and then the contracting companies come in and rebuild everything and they’re quids in too. Oh, and there’s the oil reserves, that’ll enable us to keep the Gas station prices down as well as keep our supply going if that left-wing spic Chavez can’t be bumped off.

And it all pans out perfectly, exit strategy, what exit strategy? Ever feel you’ve been had?

Now the US has a problem, it hasn’t bombed anyone for a while and erstwhile target Iran may possibly have the capability to bite back a little harder than hitherto anticipated. North Korea is out of the question because they’d think nothing of nuking the shit out of the Eastern seaboard. So Bush decides if in doubt and the Generals are getting restless bomb a ~stan, after all it worked last time and if a country is a ~stan it must be full of darkies and ay-rabs not forgetting some of the black stuff. Ally, hell what does that matter, after all the US invaded British sovereign protectorate Grenada back in 1982 and they got away with that.

So Pakistan gets bombed because apparently there might have been a baddie there. Staggeringly there is no outcry in the West, The Independent has only just reported it today (Sunday) here, the Mirror devoted a mere 2 paragraphs to it, dwarfed by a large advertisement for gambling in the same column here whilst The Guardian remains entirely silent as unsurprisingly does The Sun. The BBC does run an article about it here but curiously it is listed in the South Asia section rather than the Middle East section.

Ayman al-Zawahiri, the man on the hit-list is profiled, but the actual dead all 18 of them are just more anonymous collateral damage. What is known of them or the families they leave behind, who is accountable for this? In spite of this the newspapers prefer to continue to talk about whether the Education Secretary has lost the plot or stirring up fervour in Bethnal Green amongst George Galloway’s constituents desperately attempting to interview someone who’ll say he isn’t doing his job on account of Celebrity Big Brother. One cannot blame George Galloway for his having relegated the Pakistan story to the inside pages though many will seek to try, were it not George it would unquestionably have been something and someone else. After all what constitutes news in this day and age is nothing more than the informational equivalent of a rusk designed to taste sweet and give your teeth something to do so as not to bite into anything dangerous!

What interests me is if US Intelligence is anything more than an oxymoron what good do they feel they have actually done. The CIA have failed to kill the person they were allegedly after, however they have undoubtedly added further fuel to the detractors of Musharraf’s decision to support US action of which there are many. Is it therefore US policy to galvanise popular opinion against any support for US military action? I thought that was our job on the left, I feel strangely redundant now as if the rug has been pulled from under me!

Song Of The Day ~ Garbage – The Trick Is To Keep Breathing

Original Comments:

Pimme made this comment,
Well, our government’s own stupidity brought on that cause-and-effect. The Liberals don’t have to try too hard anymore to convince the population that Bush screwed up bigtime!
comment added :: 15th January 2006, 03:12 GMT+01 :: http://pimme.blog-city.com
jamal made this comment,
A good interpretation of events. I think Musharraf could have avoided this if he had not bowed to USA initially.
comment added :: 15th January 2006, 21:36 GMT+01 :: http://opinionated.blogsome.com/
John made this comment,
I was amazed at the lack of press coverage on this story. Apparently a CIA ‘drone’ dropped the bomb. An unmanned aircraft ? One bomb ? Seems a bit restrained for the Americans. Unfortunately they got their usual result…dead civilians.
comment added :: 16th January 2006, 13:27 GMT+01 :: http://bigjohn.blog-city.com/

It would be a surprise to most, if not all, the people who know me to hear me agree with George W. Bush but in one instance it is indeed true, however let me qualify that statement before you all pack up in disgust. Bush’s famous “You’re either with us or against us” was something of a defining moment of a president who attempts to make up in sound-bites what he lacks in intellect. Bush attempts with his use of the word ‘us’ to galvanise the Western World into an alliance against those ‘he’ defines as the enemy. The actuality of the ‘us’ he is using is the US corporate political establishment and when one realises this it becomes a lot easier to see how the polarisation that Bush almost prophesied has in fact come true. The Iraq war has had a practically unprecedented unifying effect on people across the world as normally disparate groups are united in their condemnation of US involvement in Iraq.

It has also unified the violent insurrection against the US aggressor in a way that was not the case when they invaded Iraq in the first place. More and more the US has put itself up as a target to be shot at, Blair as Bush’s faithful poodle has been happy to lead Britain down the same path and there are increasing signs in Basra that the attempts to project a harmonious relationship in the British sector are far from the truth.

According to former US diplomat Peter Galbraith – in Jan 2003 Bush invited 3 members of Iraqi resistance to watch Superbowl with him. During this meeting these 3 realised that Bush was not aware at this point that there was a difference between Shia and Sunni Muslims. Whilst this is unsurprising that Bush himself is so ill-informed it seems staggering that none of his advisors had sought to rectify the fact. Galbraith goes on that since most people do not consider themselves Iraqi before they consider themselves Sunni or Shia or Kurd the idea of forming a united Iraq is Mission Impossible. We must not forget that Iraq is a modern construct of territories in Mesopotamia and Kurdistan, their is no sense of long handed-down national identity like we know in Europe. Suffice to say it was a mess the British made last time they buggered about with it. Much the same can of course be said for Palestine and Ireland!

In March 2003 US war planners met to discuss the practicalities of the ousting of Saddam – Phase 4c for reconstruction of Iraq had not nearly as much depth as Phase 3 which was combat, which is curious when you think that the vastly superior US military should have had little problem overcoming the Iraqi resistance in the initial phases of a rebellion, and certainly if the propaganda was true and the Iraqis would be welcoming the US with open arms then there would be little insurgency thereafter.

However it would be wrong to assume that it was only in the US that such idiocy was going on. On the eve of the invasion Toby Dodge of London University gave a likely case scenario to the Labour government which in fact detailed almost exactly what did indeed happen based on the historical precedent as well as the prospected operations. George Joffe of Cambridge University had similar meeting, whilst Joffe tried to explain the potential problems of such an attempt to follow the Americans in their crusade against Saddam, Blair responded “…but he’s evil isn’t he?” And this appeared to be enough justification for him.

Whether simply ridiculous naivety or a calculated facade, US expectation was that they would be met by rejoicing in the streets of Baghdad and Basra according to Cheney. I have already documented a quote that was reported by journalists at the time the US forces moved into Iraq where one Iraqi man in response to the journalist’s question “Are you pleased to see the Americans come to liberate Iraq” stated “Americans, Saddam, we don’t care who as long as you bring peace.” This tempers the euphoria somewhat. It also goes some way to explain the situation now.

The reality in Iraq is not exactly what the US and UK administration flanked by their ’embedded’ media acolytes would have us believe. It is, even now still difficult for non-embedded Western reporters to get around in order to report what is genuinely going on in Iraq, embedded journalists whilst having a greater degree of security by virtue of their military escorts get a state department view of events from Washington and London and not Iraq. Journalists like Robert Fisk who are not embedded illustrate that this state department view is either hopelessly out of touch or criminally negligent to the point of being no better than right-wing state-sponsored agit-prop.

Elections and constitutions are “theatrical events staged for US media consumption disregarding everyday state of Iraq for Iraqis” in response to mass civilian casualties one US source stated “Such tragedies only happen because Zarkawi and his thugs are driving around using car bombs.” This staggeringly insensitive and ill-conceived notion serves only to elucidate the real feeling of US officials as to the state of Iraq.

The news mentions less the situation currently in Sadr City, as if it has all gone rather quiet. The reality is that the US have left Shia militia in charge, Iraqi police and the US army have “reached agreements” with the Mahdi army the group of Moqtada Al Sadr but they claim these are agreements with local representatives as civilians and not as a massed group. The British have done the same in Basra. The result of this has been to allow fundamentalist Shia leaders to create a political theocracy the like of which has not existed in the region in such a way before. The same situation exists with the Peshmurga in Kurdistan. The US is even trying to negotiate with the Ba’athist militia in areas that are still showing signs of resistance in Baghdad and Fallujah, the same insurgents who, according to US military sources in the media are, working with Al Queda. So much for helping bring democracy to Iraq the US is intent on a quick sell-out. The second part really of what has been a simple ram-raid operation for the oil in the shop window. .

For many Iraqi women the current era marks for the first time them being forced to wear veils etc. and be subjected to a fundamentalist interpretation of Sharia law the like of which in Iran has been the subject of much condemnation by the US and UK establishments. Women are being executed for “prostitution” when this could mean nothing more than suspected adultery. These executions are not of course the result of any recognised judicial proceedings but the rough justice that fundamentalists of any variant are likely to favour.

Peter Oborne, political editor of The Spectator, concluded in a problem for the Channel 4 series Dispatches that the invasion of Iraq has failed. I believe this is far from the case because one has to evaluate what the actual goal of the invasion was.

If one believed, like I suspect Oborne does, that the goal was to remove a dangerous dictator and bring about a Western style democracy in Iraq then yes, it is clear this will not be the end result for Iraq. This seems a rather simplistic and establishment viewpoint on the matter though. Contrastingly if one believed, as I do, that US has no desire to have full functioning democracy in Iraq as this would bring about a stable secular country which would unquestionably constitute far more of a threat to the access to oil for the US and its companies involved in Iraq and beyond. Interestingly the US army operatives in Iraq are not permitted to arrest Al-Sadr despite him being wanted for murder. Al-Sadr, is the perfect young pretender to Saddam, left in place just in case the US army should need a bad guy if the whole Al-Zarkawi story ever falls apart.

This sort of conflict is likely to become ever more likely and ever more desperate as it is clear that the US domestic and foreign policy would far rather cling to the old order based on their dominance and control of oil. This means any country that has oil production or is integral to the stability of an oil producing region is going to have to watch itself for a while lest they find Uncle Sam on the borders. However US power is not what it is and it has already over-reached itself by attempting to fight battles on too many simultaneous fronts hence the debacle in Iraq. It would certainly be foolish to attempt any operations against countries such as Venezuela.

Finally one must not forget that the US never signed up to the International War Times Tribunal nor the International Criminal Court. This gives US operatives whether open or covert carte blanche to commit any acts of atrocity necessary to achieve the military objective whilst undermining the legitimacy and efficacy of the 2 supra-national judicial institutions. That is not to say that the US will not use them to moot out its brand of victor’s justice of course as we have seen in the case of Slobodan Milosevic. The US is quite happy to manipulate all sorts of laws to its own ends, for example Rumsfeld was quick to condemn the footage of US captives in Iraq as being contrary to the Geneva Convention. Al Jazeera were quick to point out of course that Guantanamo Bay and the detention of prisoners of war without due process or rights of any kind, the abuses in Abu Gharaib and Baghram, the invasion of a country against the UN security council, if not all directly in contravention of the Geneva Convention they are certainly fundamentally against the very principle.

US operations since the declaration of war on terror have become increasingly more worrying and outside the law. One only needs think of the aforementioned incarceration in Guantanamo Bay, the systematic abuse of prisoners of war in American custody both in Iraq, Afghanistan and beyond and I will be covering the strategy of ‘extraordinary rendition’ later. The CIA operations across the world and the failure of the US to hold any of its active personnel responsible for any conduct is an international scandal. I’m afraid as the US’s grip on power rescinds proportional to the oil reserves left in the world we can expect to see more of the US’s failure to conform to any standards of decency and humanity. The question only remains, which country will be next on their list?

Song Of The Day ~ Editors – Bullets

Original Comments:

Cancergiggles made this comment,
Yes Dom. I’ve been watching extraordinary rendition for many months. George and Tony are war criminals!
comment added :: 1st December 2005, 22:38 GMT+01

It was no surprise that there have been no WMDs found in Iraq despite all the protestations to the contrary by Bliar and Bush on the intelligence they allegedly had. One could be a little surprised at the time of the invasion that there appeared no plans on what to actually do once the Iraqi army was defeated. As time went on the protestations grew weaker and the evidence that this was a war founded on economics became almost irrefutable.

What has been most perturbing is the, at best astonishing ineptitude and at worst systematic repression of civilians that has taken place during the US occupation of Iraq. The treatment of prisoners at Iraqi jails was brought to light after the discoveries of Abu Gharaib and one might have thought that this problem had been stamped out since there has been no reporting of a continuation of the problem. You would not think this were the case though if you were in Iraq where it is well-known that the Shia-dominated and US-trained security forces. “I saw signs of physical abuse by brutal beating, one or two detainees were paralysed and some had their skin peeled off various parts of their bodies” Hussein Kamal (Deputy interior minister). The case in question involves 170 detainees but is believed to be only the tip of the iceberg. Most or very likely all, of the 170 heldwere Sunnis and were found to be in a state of both malnutrition as well as showing clear signs of having been subjected to torture.

Anne Clywd, Tony Blair’s envoy in Iraq claims to have known about such problems since May when she received reports from the Sunni community that such actions were going on. What Ms Clywd, who was strongly in favour of military action to depose Saddam Hussain, did regarding these reports she did not make clear, in a BBC Newsnight interview, they were certainly not heavily publicised at the time and the cynical amongst you might summise that this would have been too close to the whole Abu Gharaib incidents thus causing further embarrassment at a time when it would have been even more politically disastrous. Outside the blinkered government circles, a report by Human Rights Watch earlier in the year had said that methods used by Iraqi police included beating detainees with cables, hanging them from their wrists for long periods and giving electric shocks to sensitive parts of the body.

As if the torture of prisoners angle wasn’t enough the Pentagon has confirmed after many previous denials that they used white phosphorus in the attacks on Fallujah, this type of weapon is a dangerous incendiary and causes horrific burns on contact with skin, there are serious questions over whether or not this constitues a chemical weapon. Unsurprisingly the military does not consider this a chemical weapon although of course the military’s assessment of chemical weapons at the moment is something of a moot point. I’m sure no-one who reads this blog by now will be shocked to know that he US is not a signatory to the International treaty restricting the use of white phosphorus as a weapon (Protocol III of Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons).

In the case of Fallujah the US army claim that 1,600 people killed all of whom were allegedly insurgents. This would be the most staggeringly accurate war in all history were it to have any chance in hell of being even remotely true. Initially we were told that resistance in Fallujah was a small group of extremists and not a widespread popular revolt against US occupying forces. Now we are expected to believe that the US indescriminately bombed the city and wiped out all of the resistance without any innocent lives being lost. Usually if something smells like bullshit, that’s probably because it is bullshit, this is no exception.

Song Of The Day ~ Alabama 3 – Mansion On The Hill

I got my reply from my MP, written on House Of Commons paper. It reads as follows.

Dear Dom,

Thank you for your recent letter regarding my views on Iraq and ID cards.

I am sorry that you seem to be ill-informed over my position on Iraq. I actually did not support the vote to go to war, and resigned my positionin the Government as a Parliamentary Private Secretary because I did not agree with it. Indeed I was the first Government member to resign on this issue and did not vote with the Government on this matter.

Most people in the constituency are aware of my views over Iraq and support the decision I took. As an active constituency MP, I always try an put my constituents first. If you would like to know more regarding my views on the Iraq situation I suggest you visit my website (address removed for privacy)

On ID cards, I am not opposed to them on principle. The majority of people I speak to seem to be in favour on the cards, if they help the fight on terror, increase security and the price is not restrictive. It is worth remembering that the police and the security services are in favour of the cards and have requested the Government introduce these measures – not the other way round. But again I will listen to my constituents views on this as I always do. This is why around 6 months ago I launched a debate in the local press to discuss the issue and allow local people to send me their views ahead of the Parliamentary debates.

Yours sincerely,


So, a definite opening goal for the MP very much against the run of play. Actually I was led very strongly to believe by theyworkforyou.com that my MP was indeed very much in favour of the war. He has chosen his words carefully because I could not find much evidence of him actually voting against the Government and on many of the votes he was in fact absent unlike most of the other main votes on other topics where he has been a loyal backbencher. However as my research has in this case failed me miserably I must concede initial defeat. It would be wrong not to post this repost and take the hit since there is no doubt if I had made him look a ponce I would have happily posted it.

Unabated though, his letter gives me much for further scrutiny. The initial point to be looked at is the local press debates. Whilst I have not been an asiduous reader of the local rags it has certainly not been something that I have seen screaming from the pages, nor on my infrequent forays inside the pages have I come across any reference. I will be studying and talking to fellow residents to see just how much feedback he is likely to have received in order to base his opinion.

Moreover my MPs arguments for ID cards appear to be under the apprehension that people have supported them broadly within certain parameters, should these parameters prove to be unfounded it would follow that much of this support might be withdrawn. The letter does not outline what any of the tangible benefits of ID cards would be, it is all very well to accept an assertion of increased security and fighting terror but I find very little actual information as to substance to back up these assumptions. It is undisputed that those who carried out the September 11th attacks as well as those in Madrid all had valid identity documentation and since those who carried out the attacks in London were all perfectly legal had there been ID cards here they would have been perfectly entitled to them too. Recently a survey was carried out where many of the details of the potential of ID cards were outlined to respondants regarded possible increased cost and the amount of information that could be stored on the cards and this seemed to make even many who were previously somewhat ambivalent or in broad support of the measure more inclined to scepticism.

Forgive also if I am neither unsurprised nor reassured by the assertion that it is the police and security services requesting this information rather than the government. This is like 1938 German regional government saying we need to provide further information at the behest of the Gestapo! MI5, the police and their partners the CIA have more than enough access to information thank you very much. The fact that they conceal so much of their ability to access it makes me very suspicious indeed when they declare their desire for some by another means.

The debate we have had on ID cards in this country has been one where we are told “it’s for your own good” and “if you have nothing to hide then what are you afraid of” but there has been no meat on the bone of the argument to counter the fears and objections of those opposed to the scheme. I have not heard a decent argument to outline what ID cards do that is not already done by credit cards, drivers licenses and other paraphernalia that we already carry around with us, and no this will not be a handy way to consolidate this information it will merely necessitate the carrying of a further item about one’s person. As for the nothing to hide principle, it depends on what constitutes something being hidden and that of course depends on wwhat it is that someone is looking for and why. MI5 as I have already stated have hundreds of thousands of files on individuals because of membership of “watched” organisations. Does not declaring this at a job interview constitute having something to hide?

Once again the case breaks down to that situation whereby you are not required to simply safeguard the present but also the future, whether or not you have faith in this government’s intentions to use any ID card scheme responsibly it would be a very foolish person who would state with impunity that all governments would behave the same. After all if you look up the Homes for votes scandal in Westminster you already have precedent of supposedly secret information on people being used for the gain of some and to the detriment of others.

Still if they do come in, I’m sure there’ll be some generic ones on Ebay within months which should please anyone who fancies a bit of fraud since they won’t even have to sully their own card. That should all give me enough to have something to respond to my MP with!

Song Of The Day ~ The Paddingtons – Sorry

Original Comments:

john made this comment,
Off Subject but…Speak to me Baron! I miss your voice already. 🙂
comment added :: 29th October 2005, 13:13 GMT+01 :: http://bigjohn.blog-city.com/
neil made this comment,
Aha! ID cards – a subject on which we can finally agree! Actually, I suspect we have many of the same goals, just different ideas about how to achieve them. Anyway, back to ID cards. I don’t like them – they alter the balance / pact between citizen and state and I’ve seen them in action in Germany, and in particular, Bayern. I’ve lived here almost a decade and have had to show my passport (the only acceptable form of ID for a Briton) to a policeman three times – and always when I’d done something “wrong”. With one exception – I dated a Londoner with Indian parents for a year. We were stopped for “random” ID checks approximately every two weeks. Was it because she had brown skin? Would the police in the UK be any different? I wrote about it in general in three posts – http://www.inactualfact.com/?p=83 http://www.inactualfact.com/?p=117 and http://www.inactualfact.com/?p=124
On this issue at least, left and right unite (paraphrasing a bit)…..

comment added :: 29th October 2005, 17:09 GMT+01

Amazing really when you think of the convenience of yet another report that backs up US interventionist foreign policy. I’m not even going to discuss here whether or not there is truth contained within it because frankly at the moment it doesn’t matter. No-one will be scrutinising the evidence, asking questions of the source material. It will be taken as gospel because the powers that be want it to be that way, it is expedient for them. Just as it was to study Iran, just as it was to report lies about Iraq and cover up the truth of the necessity of invasion in Afghanistan. Now the US has 2 exit strategies for its troops in Iraq. It is almost as if they are going to march on Damascus with the words, “well since we were passing we thought we’d look in…!”

Do I doubt there are “bad” people in Syria? Not at all. Give me a country where none of the governing elite are seriously suspect. Whilst I am quite sure Syria wants to influence neighbouring countries, it would be foolish not to recognise that all countries do so in an effort to create a protection zone around themselves, this is normal even if the means are sometimes questionable. The only way to get away from this would be the anarchist principle, to abolish borders, which I agree with to a great extent, but that’s another story. The US has many many “bad” people that create protection zones for its interests across the globe but I don’t see many reports heralded in the mainstream media about that. In fact the US works its influence through trade barriers and restrictions as well as through military might. “You’ll practice free trade because it suits us and we won’t because it doesn’t.”

The German investigator in the Syrian affair, Detlev Mehlis, is careful to say that the investigation needs much more work, and that the people named in his report must be presumed innocent until proved guilty. It is of course highly unlikely that this will now happen. One can’t sully a good conclusion with triflings like evidence! Perhaps Syria should turn around and say that President Asad is immune from any prosecution and can then go around the world giving lectures on his own importance like war criminal Henry Kissinger. There will be many detractors who will say that any of us who dissent in this matter are simply doing so to be on the anti-US side no matter what. This of course is just a fudge to avoid a genuine debate of the issue.

In the case of Syria’s influence in Lebannon it has long been the case, just as Israel has long since made infractions and exercised influence in South Lebannon particularly with the South Lebanese Army. Syria’s problems with Israel relating to the seizing of the Golan Heights in 1967 are well documented and Lebannon has traditionally been a useful ally agaisnt the Israelis. Syria is part of George Bush’s convenient ‘axis of evil’ which includes lots of countries that have anti-Anerican sentiment whilst notable by their absence are many repressive regimes that keep the US sweet. So Syria is on the ‘hit-list’ and in the direct aftermath of the invasion of Iraq there were many of us that believed Syria was next and immediately in the firing line. Recent history has shown that when the US has got it in for you, it is only a matter of time before there is some charge to answer.

The fact is you cannot have an international judiciary at all if one country refuses to subject its citizens to its scrutiny the way the US currently does. It therefore undermines every single other case that judiciary may be called upon to examine. To boil it down to a legal argument it is the case of the guilty man and his defence, if he is guilty shouldn’t he be damned whatever? No, quite the contrary, for to set such a precedent is genuinely the legal road to totalitarianism because you are denying someone the right to representation and the presumption of guilt becomes enough to convict. The guilty man must be ably represented so that the case of his prosecution is subject to such scrutiny that if he is convicted it is clearly on the grounds of sound evidence. If he escapes on a technicality then justice has not been done but it is up to the prosecution to ensure that cases are watertight thus is the mantra of innocence until proven otherwise.

Look already at the actual phrases being used by the US and UK, after Syria’s denials at the involvement in the assasination of the Lebanese president, Condoleeza Rice told BBC One’s Politics Show there was at the least evidence of Syria failing to cooperate, as well as the “very strong implication” it was involved in assassinating Mr Hariri. This is very very different from irrefutable proof of Syrian involvement and yet you would think already that it is very much a done deal as far as Syria’s guilt in concerned. British foreign secretary Jack Straw has been quoted “…And they have to get the message that you cannot have a government, if I may say so, at any level going into assassinations.” Straw goes on to say that it was “very serious” that people at a high level in the Syrian regime had been implicated and that there was evidence of false testimony by senior figures. This does not sound much like the speech of someone whose mind is yet to be made up. Whilst giving evidence to the Commons Foreign Affairs Committee Straw talked about Syria’s alleged involvement being “intolerable” and said that the United Nations would have to decide what action to take against Syria. He does not say that it is imperitive that the UN look into the case independently to establish the facts behind the case.

Straw’s position is unsurprising when you consider what his boss thinks -“Any implication of the involvement of Syria or any other country is something the international community has got to treat with the most fundamental seriousness and gravity because it calls into question the whole of our relationship not just with that country – but our ability to make sure the rule of law is enforced internationally.” Intersting that Tony Blair is now all of a sudden interested in the international rule of law when flouting it has not bothered him in the past.

So if our governments are so willing to disregard the presumption of innocence when it comes to international law, is it any wonder that there are many of us deeply concerned that with the erosion of our rights in the judicial processes and to privacy it can only be a matter of time before that presumption of innocence is lost for us as individuals.

Song Of The Day ~ Arctic Monkeys – I Bet You Look Good On The Dance Floor*Red letter day for the SOTD, the first time I believe that I have ever picked the current No.1 of the day.

Original Comments:

neil made this comment,
Loss / changes of individual freedom – read the last two sentences hidden at the bottom of this BBC article…. comment added :: 26th October 2005, 21:42 GMT+01

Kind of makes a cogent point that doesn’t it? Not to mention a very valid one as well. I know of anther example I have already cited where the “proper identification” was used in a eugenic fashion namely that in Rwanda where the Belgians had marked ethnicity on ID cards. Is the same going to be the case in the UK? Who knows, nowadays with smart cards, magnetic strips, biometrics etc. etc. who is going to have any idea precisely what information will be transferred to such a card and by whom it may later be used? After all there was originally talk of such information being on the photocard part of your driver’s license and the public outcry made that suggestion go very quickly to ground. Governments certainly since I have been interested in politics have been intent on eroding covil liberties in an effort to ‘protect us.’ What is it that these ID cards are supposed to bring to us? We are told that they will make us safer, prevent fraud etc. and terrorism and yet all the actual studies that have gone into this show that such boasts are fanciful at best and outright subterfuge at worst.

Did you know for example that if you are a member of a ‘listed organisation’ you will have an MI5 file? Such listed organisations can include anything political, specifically anything deemed left-leaning. This is not to over-egg the pudding, it does not mean you will have spooks pursuing you at every turn just because you were signed up to the Anglo-Cuban alliance whilst you were at college in the 80s or such like. But you will very probably have such a file as a result. There are well over 500,000 MI5 files on British citizens and those of us that live here. There are 3 categories of status for such files. A ‘red light’ means that there is neither investigtion nor plans to reopen anything. An ‘amber light’ means that there is currently no grounds to carry out any investigative activity but the file remains open should any further evidence come to light and require re-examination of the status. Finally a ‘green light’ is obviously a file on an individual where investigations are taking place.

The question is how may that impact on our daily lives? For the most part one might think not a lot, and should your job remain low profile and the same be thought of those you associate with then this is largely likely to be the case. However there are a number of approved organisations that are entitled to enquire as to whether you have an MI5 file if you should apply for a job there. The BBC is one such organisation as is the Civil Service, I do not have any details as to which private companies are allowed to do it. The vast majority of them are not permitted to know what is in the file or the status of it simply whether it exists, they can then make a judgement accordingly. This is however still a form of covert repression regardless of how seldom it may actually occur because the infrastructure is already in place should it ever be required on a grander scale.

I could go on about the lack of a genuinely secret ballot at every election here but you know the drill and frankly you really ought to be aware by now that you can trust this government about as much as you could trust the last one.

So what can you do about it. Well lobby the windbag that is your MP for starters, you never know you might be lucky enough to have one of the handful who listens, I wouldn’t hold your breath though. A useful point to start at is here. I have done just that, I enclose a copy of the letter I have sent and should I receive a reply I will also post that. If you wish to use any of the parts of the letter I have written you are free to do so.

Dear Insert tosser’s name here

I am a comparitively new member of your constituency having moved into X some 6 months ago. I see from your voting record that you were broadly in favour of the government’s stance on the Iraq war and furthermore that you support the current wave of anti-terror legislation.

Can you explain to me how the fact that the war was waged on false principles given to Parliament affects your viewpoint now? How should I feel as one of those who marched against the war in London on February 15th 2003 and subsequent marches? How do you see your ability to represent me when in essence it could be said that you sided with a government line without subjecting it to the sort of scrutiny that I would expect from the man elected as my representative in the legislature?

Furthermore since evidence has shown that the current ID cards measures would not have stopped any of the bombings in London or Madrid or Bali can you explain why you are in support of another measure that is singularly unpopular outside the cadres of the Labour Party and whether this is something you have sought advice on within the community? What is your view on the tragic murder of Jean Charles de Menenzes which has been a direct result of the current furore over the terrorist threat?

On issues such as these I have just raised what is your procedure to canvass the opinion of your constituents? Do you believe as an MP that your job is to vote according to your views, that of your party, or do you feel it is important to put those to one side if the majority of your constituents are not in agreement with your personal or party’s position?

I appreciate you are a busy man and will have many pressing constituency matters to attend to but I would be very interested in your answers to these questions at your earliest convenience.

This will of course not change anything but it will annoy them. You should steer clear of direct insults, calling them an 4rse-licking right-wing new labour cun7, however aposite it may be, will only give them cause to ignore your correspondance and it is far more irritating to them if they actually have to answer it, government guidelines suggesting that it should be done within 10 days. Of course any reply will be vaccuous and banal but that opens up the lines of communication to see just how far their heads are up the backsides of the party whips.

Now go sign the No2ID petition here and look around to see what else you can find.

Song Of The Day ~ Bob Dylan – Tangled Up In Blue

Original Comments:

Mark Ellott made this comment,
I have written regularly to my MP on this matter. The last time just prior to the third reading. He simply repeats the tired dogma that Charles Clarke trots out. That they are blatant lies, that they have been proved to be lies, that the government’s own information watchdog called them on it, matters not one whit. Rational discourse with these buffoons is wasted.
-Redbaron responds- To be honest mate I don’t doubt you one iota, but for me to launch into a vitriolic attack on my MP it is only fair that I ensure that it is merited, as indeed is my suspicion. Hence he has his chance, should he fail to take it I will have full justification for my ire and will ensure that at any local meetings I am something of a fly in the ointment.-

comment added :: 20th October 2005, 18:53 GMT+01 :: http://longrider.blog-city.com

jamal made this comment,
The picture says it all. Time will tell what the impact will be, but one things for sure it that it wont be positive.
MP’s should be lobbied in this way as this is what they are there for. Our taxes pay them to represent our ideals. Therefore if we sit back and ignore these issues so will they. The difference is that they will get paid for it.

comment added :: 21st October 2005, 02:19 GMT+01 :: http://opinionated.blogsome.com/

Jay made this comment,
If ur a clean citizen then what r u afraid of. And, why are you a communist? In a socialist society there are NO freedoms and you’d be repressed. If you’re “broke,” try working for a commie paper.
-Redbaron responds – Jay, I’m happy thaat you stop by and debate but the arguments you espouse now seem to be very hackneyed and somewhat anchored in the Reagan era. You first point hinges on your definition of “clean.” Look at the picture, that in Nazi Germany was considered ‘unclean’, now whether or not we agree with that definition it is undisputable that this was the state policy. You are placing yourself in the hands of the whim of the government and that has been proven to be a dangerous and volatile thing.

Your second point seems to be part of the whole arcane definition of Communism in the format that it allegedly appeared in the Stalin era of the USSR. If you read your theory you will find this is very far from any definition of Communism. Study the Paris Commune in 1871 and Russia in the immeadiate aftermath of 1917 and you will find a very different story. Furthermore you presume that I have freedoms and am not repressed now in this capitalist society, a belief that stems very much from a latent materialistic viewpoint of what constitutes free.

comment added :: 21st October 2005, 10:14 GMT+01 :: http://spongeblog.blog-city.com

Mark Ellott made this comment,
Jay – do your homework, please. The nothing to hide, nothing to fear argument is strictly for the intellectually lazy. You might also want to read the bill…
comment added :: 21st October 2005, 19:18 GMT+01 :: http://longrider.blog-city.com
jamal made this comment,
..in fact, the “nothing to hide nothing to fear” arguement is what I hear the politicians that want to introduce the bill arguing.
This arguement has no substantial weight, just as the terrorism does not justify ID cards either, as 7/7 could have occured with or without them.

comment added :: 22nd October 2005, 03:52 GMT+01 :: http://opinionated.blogsome.com/

guerrilla radio made this comment,
a carton from “liberazione”: http://guerrillaradio.iobloggo.com/archive.php?eid =1341 Israel says: it is new antisemitism!
but what is the reality today in Palestine? a big lager.

vik italian blogger from milan.

comment added :: 15th May 2006, 21:47 GMT+01 :: http://guerrillaradio.iobloggo.com/archive.php?eid