Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Gaza Freedom March News

Hunger strikers press Egypt on Gaza march
December 30, 2009

CAIRO: An 85-year-old Holocaust survivor is among a group of grandmothers on a hunger strike to protest against Egypt's refusal to allow a Gaza solidarity march to proceed.

Hedy Epstein, an American activist, and other grandmothers participating in the Gaza Freedom March began their hunger strike on Monday.

''I've never done this before. I don't know how my body will react, but I'll do whatever it takes,'' Ms Epstein said, surrounded by hundreds of protesters outside the United Nations building in Cairo.

Egyptian authorities had said they would not allow any of the 1300 protesters from 42 countries to take part in the march to enter the Gaza Strip through the Rafah border crossing.

High-ranking officers and riot police were placed on the Nile bank, where the UN building is and where hundreds of Freedom March participants asked the UN to mediate with Cairo to let their convoy into Gaza.

They met the UN resident co-ordinator in Cairo, James Rawley, ''and we are waiting for a response'', a Philippines senator, Walden Bello, told protesters. ''We will wait as long as it takes.''

Egypt has increased security along the 380-kilometre road to the Rafah border crossing, a security official said. ''Measures have been tightened along the road from Cairo to Rafah to prevent activists from the Gaza Freedom March from staging the march,'' the official said.

Separately, organisers of another aid convoy trying to reach the blockaded enclave - known as Viva Palestina and led by the British MP George Galloway - said it would head to Syria on its way to Egypt after being stranded in Jordan's Red Sea port of Aqaba for five days.

Turkey dispatched an official on Saturday to try to convince the Egyptians to allow Viva Palestina to go through the Red Sea port of Nuweiba - the most direct route - but Egypt insisted the convoy may enter only through El-Arish, on its Mediterranean coast.

The Gaza Freedom March and Viva Palestina were planning to arrive one year after Israel's devastating war on Gaza that killed about 1300 Palestinians. Thirteen Israelis were also killed.

Agence France-Presse

Local woman joining march

By SAMANTHA BALLARD/ sballard@c-dh.net
Elizabeth Barger

Instead of ringing in the new year with family, Elizabeth Barger of Summertown will spend her holiday helping to implore world leaders to improve conditions in the Middle East.

Barger will be joining thousands of humanitarians and notable figures for the Gaza Freedom March Dec. 31.

The movement is intended to raise awareness of human suffering around the site of a blockade imposed on Gaza by Egypt and Israel after Hamas took control of the coastal territory in 2007, according to the Gaza Freedom March Web site.

The event also serves to recognize the one-year anniversary of Israel.s attack and invasion of the Gaza Strip.

.There might be more tension (there), but I think with 13-14,000 (protesters) on the border, it.s going to make an impact,. Barger said Tuesday.

On Monday, the Egyptian Foreign Ministry notified organizers of the Gaza Freedom March the group should not attempt to enter Gaza through Egypt, claiming the Rafah border would be closed well into January because of heightened border tension.

Despite the notice, Barger planned to leave Saturday to meet up with other activists in Cairo.

.They always say, .No, you can.t come in,. and we say, .But we must,.. she said. .And if we don.t, we will definitely cause a stir, which is needed..

Fighting erupted between Israel and Hamas-controlled Gaza communities Dec. 27, 2008. About 1,400 Palestinians, mostly civilians, died and thousands of families were forced to flee.

Since then, Hamas has maintained political control over the area. Barger said the site of the conflict is still in shambles, with many living among toxins and high radiation levels in rubble and dilapidated structures.

The protest group plans to pass the Egyptian border and travel in Gaza to a village near Israel to talk to those affected by the invasion and subsequent bombing.

Barger and the Gaza Freedom March Web site emphasize the event will be a non-violent protest, but warn there is always the possibility for violence to break out.

It.s also possible the group may not be allowed to assemble in Egypt, let alone be allowed to travel to Gaza.

Organizers appealed to Egypt to reverse a decision denying them access to the blockaded area.

Ann Wright, a former U.S. colonel and diplomat and march organizer, said Saturday Egypt refused to grant the group access to the strip on .security. grounds.

She appealed to President Hosni Mubarak to repeal the decision, saying it is not .in the best interest of Egypt..

The country has become a target for Arab and Muslim groups because of its cooperation with Israel in the blockade.

Shots have been recently fired from the Gaza Strip at Egyptians installing an underground barrier meant to choke off the smuggling of goods and weapons through tunnels into blockaded Gaza.

No one was reported injured in the attack, Palestinian and Egyptian officials said. But Egypt increased security in the border area after an increase in cross-border shooting since workers began building the metal barrier several weeks ago.

The construction would tighten the Gaza blockade protesters like Barger seek to have removed. Those who oppose the construction claim the tunnels allow medical aid and food to get to desperate families. Those who support it say it is necessary to ensure weapons are not smuggled into a Hamas-sustained area that will ultimately be used to attack Israel.

Barger plans to bring vitamins and clothing with her to give to families displaced by the blockade.

The Summertown resident will join advocates like Roger Waters of the rock band Pink Floyd and author Alice Walker in the protest. Notable endorsers of the cause include director Oliver Stone, author Gore Vidal and Dr. Patch Adams, who was profiled in a film starring Robin Williams.

The Associated Press contributed to this article.

Story created Dec 27, 2009 - 16:28:48 EST.

March puts spotlight on Gaza siege

By Andrea Bordé (email the author)
Your Email
Send Cancel
Posted Monday, December 28 2009 at 00:00

More than 50,000 people are expected to take to the streets of Gaza on Thursday for a mass march designed to send a message to the United States, a key supporter of Israel.s army, that the situation in Gaza violates international human rights laws.

The idea behind the .Gaza Freedom March. comes from CODEPINK, a women.s peace group committed to drawing attention to the humanitarian crisis in the occupied Palestinian territories, among other campaigns.

Organisers say the main catalyst for the mobilisation was the Goldstone Report, commissioned by the United Nations and written by renowned South African jurist Richard Goldstone.

The 575-page report, released in September, detailed gross human rights violations and war crimes committed by both Israel and Hamas in Gaza during the December 27, 2008 to January 18, 2009 conflict.

However, it was particularly critical of Israel, calling the military campaign .a deliberately disproportionate attack designed to punish, humiliate, and terrorise a civilian population, radically diminish its local economic capacity both to work and to provide for itself, and to force upon it an ever increasing sense of dependency and vulnerability..

It also described Israel.s longstanding economic blockade of Gaza a form of .collective punishment. against the population and cited a number of attacks on civilian targets during the operation for which there was .no justifiable military objective.. .I think we have to recognise that the importance of the Gaza Freedom March as a way of drawing attention to the blockade is crucial,. said Michael Ratner, president of the New York-based Center for Constitutional Rights, at a news conference to announce the march last week. .But what really changed here is the world.s understanding of what.s really happening in the occupied territories in the West Bank, and Gaza, and in East Jerusalem,. he said.

The three-mile march from Gaza to the Erez Crossing in Israel intends to bring together 51,350 people from 43 nations, of whom 50,000 are Palestinians.

Each participant has signed a code of conduct committing to non-violence during the march. Ratner said he plans to attend with his family, who he said want to show solidarity as Jewish Americans with the people of Gaza.

.I want to break the blockade, I want to see the damage done by the weapons from my tax dollars, and I want it understood: Israel does not kill in my name. I want to follow words with action, and that.s why me and my family are going to Gaza,. he said.

Currently, the US gives about three billion dollars per year in military aid to Israel, he added.

Medea Benjamin, co-founder of CODEPINK and also a Jewish American, has visited Washington numerous times to lobby for a reduction in aid.

She hopes the march will influence the way the international community had responded to the attacks on Palestinian civilians.

.I think it.s a recognition that Israel can no longer hide under the idea that it somehow is exceptional, that it can create and engage in gross violations of internationally recognised human rights, and do so with impunity. It can.t continue to impose collective punishment on the people of Gaza. It can.t deliberately attack civilians,. said Benjamin.

.The fact that so many people around the world are coming really gives heart and inspiration to the people in Gaza that shows that they have not been forgotten,. she said.

Benjamin said that the participants come from diverse backgrounds, including civil society activists, students, university professors, members of trade unions, business people, people from refugee communities, women.s organisations and journalists, among many others.

.We [even] have people in their seventies and eighties. Quite a large portion of the people are of Jewish decent. One is an 85-year-old Holocaust survivor,. said Benjamin.

Benjamin equated the situation in Gaza to historical struggles for human rights throughout the past century.

.We are doing this in the spirit of Martin Luther King, of Mohandas Gandhi, of Nelson Mandela, of non-violent resistance worldwide,. she said.

Abdeen Jabara, a member of the Steering Committee for the Gaza Freedom March, also compared the struggles of African Americans for civil rights during the 1950s to Palestinians today, emphasising the importance of non-violent, peaceful resistance.

.For centuries, black people in America suffered from segregation, but it was not violence that won full and equal rights. It was peaceful and determined insistence upon the ideals at the center of America.s founding,. said Jabar.

.We fervently hope that this effort in some small way could break the siege, [and] will register in DC, and the other capitals of the world..

The Goldstone report has been affirmed by both the U.N. Human Rights Council and the General Assembly.

However, Israel dismissed it as biased, and U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Alejandro Wolff also rejected the report as .deeply flawed. and .unbalanced..

The U.S. House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly last month to condemn the report, as well.

According to statistics compiled in 2008 by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), there are 1,059,584 refugees in living in impoverished conditions in Gaza.

The blockade has created a situation where often even basic supplies of medicine and food cannot pass through Israeli checkpoints.

The hope of CODEPINK is that the Gaza Freedom March will create vibrations throughout the world, and especially in the U.S., to stop these gross human rights violations from occurring and to end its aid to Israel once and for all.

.Israel has no place to hide,. said Jabara.

Bookmark and Share
posted by u2r2h at 6:45 PM 0 comments

Sunday, December 27, 2009


Mehmet Ali Agca, linked with "various Western intelligence services",wants to meet Pope Benedict XVI

Mehmet Ali Agca, who shot Pope John Paul II four times in St. Peter's Square on May 13, 1981, is eligible for release next month, January 2010.

Agca was originally sentenced to life in prison for the shooting, but was pardoned in June 2000 by Italian president Carlo Azeglio Ciampi, with the Pope's blessings. Pope John Paul II had met with Agca in prison on Dec. 27, 1983 and forgave him. Agca spent 19 years and one month in the Italian prison. At the time of his release, Vatican spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls told RAI television "regarding the truth of what happened May 13 1981, history can still uncover many things".

He is currently seeking Polish citizenship, and a Rome Reports video from May 2009 states Agca "will be released next January."

Pope Benedict, who was attacked by a crazed woman at Midnight Mass December 24th, , is said to be doing fine. 87 year old Roger Marie Élie Cardinal Etchegaray , however, fell down and broke his femur in the attack, which can be an injury with very serious consequences for elderly people.

In March 2006, An Italian parliamentary commission officially concluded that the U.S.S.R. was behind Agca's 1981 assassination attempt of Pope John Paul II. BBC quoted from the commission's findings, which read in part "This commission believes, beyond all reasonable doubt, that the leaders of the USSR took the initiative to eliminate Pope Karol Wojtyla".

Before shooting the Pope in 1981, Agca had spent time in an Istanbul prison for the February 1, 1979 murder of journalist Abdi Ipekci , but had escaped from the Turkish prison after six months. Thus, he was extradicted and flown directly from Rome in 2000 to complete his prison sentence in Turkey.

Controversy also surrounded the murder of Ipekci, largely because of Agca's involvement with intelligence operations tied to the U.S. CIA. Agca was "known to have been a member of the Turkish ultra-nationalist Grey Wolves organization" .

Multiple sources, including "Former military public attorney and member of the Turkish Supreme Court, Emin Deger, has established that the Grey Wolves collaborated with the counter-insurgency governmental forces, as well as the close ties between these state security forces and the CIA" , Wikipedia reports. The Grey Wolves is said to be "the Turkish branch of Operation Gladio".

Daniele Ganser writes in Secret Warfare: Gladio "Italian prime minister Giulio Andreotti confirmed to the Italian Senate in August 1990 that Italy had had a secret stay-behind army, codenamed Gladio . the sword. A document dated 1 June 1959 from the Italian military secret service, SIFAR, revealed that SIFAR had been running the secret army with the support of NATO and in close collaboration with the US secret service, the CIA."

According to intelligence sources, Ipekci had reportedly asked CIA Turkish station chief Paul Henze "to stop the CIA's illegal activities"; this prompted numerous sources to "name Henze as the instigator" of journalist Ipekci's murder. Henze has been described as a "sinister individual" and "shameless old man" as recently as 2007.

Former U.S. Naval Officer and National Security Agency operative Wayne Madson wrote about Agca's connection with the CIA, and noted that "Turkish Interior Minister Hussan Gunes, who investigated Agca, said he thought Agca was involved in an attempt to provoke an uprising in Poland and cut it off from the Warsaw Pact" .

Agca was previously released on parole from Turkish jail on January 12, 2006 (watch video of his release here); but a Turkish courts found that he was improperly released and he was re-arrested less than two weeks later.

Three months later, in September of 2006, Agca sent a letter to Pope Benedict via Italy's La Repubblica newspaper, stating "Pope Ratzinger listen to someone who knows these things very well. Your life is in danger. You absolutely must not come to Turkey. Pope Benedict you must know that between 1980 and 2000 I was in contact with various Western intelligence services and with the Vatican. In those twenty tears I learnt many things and I came into possession of many classified secrets...For your own welfare you must make a grand gesture of honour and resign." Pope Benedict processed with his 2006 visit to Turkey without incident.

In a separate, lesser known attack on the Pope, Juan María Fernández y Krohn, a former priest in the Society of Saint Pius X, tried to stab Pope John Paul II with a bayonet in Fatima, Portugal on May 12, 1982. Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz, an aide to Pope John Paul II who was with him at the time, revealed in October 2008 that the Pope was indeed stabbed, but the injury was kept secret: "I can now reveal that the Holy Father was wounded. When we got back to the room (in the Fatima sanctuary complex) there was blood."


Bookmark and Share
posted by u2r2h at 3:25 PM 0 comments

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Afghanistan Resignation Letter

Apart from Afghanistan being a war crime and
a never ending bloodbath....

(not that the USA has any problem with that)

... the fact that so many other Nations are partaking
is nothing less than a catastrophe.

By U.S. Foreign Service Officer Matthew P. Hoh, Senior Civilian
Representative, Afghanistan

Washington Post
October 27, 2009 (letter dated Sept. 10)

Dear Ambassador Powell,

It is with great regret and disappointment I submit my resignation
from my appointment as a Political Officer in the Foreign Service and
my post as the Senior Civilian Representative for the US Government in
Zabul Province. I have served six of the previous ten years in
service to our country overseas, to include deployment as a U.S.
Marine office and Department of Defense civilian in the Euphrates and
Tigris River Valleys of Iraq in 2004-2005 and 2006-2007. I did not
enter into this position lightly or with any undue expectations nor
did I believe my assignment would be without sacrifice, hardship or
difficulty. However, in the course of my five months of service in
Afghanistan, in both Regional Commands East and South, I have lost
understanding of and confidence in the strategic purposes of the
United States. presence in Afghanistan. I have doubts and reservations
about our current strategy and planned future strategy, but my
resignation is based not upon how we are pursuing this war, but why
and to what end. To put simply: I fail to see the value or the worth
in continued U.S. casualties or expenditures of resources in support
of the Afghan government in what is, truly, a 35-year old civil war.

This fall will mark the eighth year of U.S. combat, governance, and
development operations within Afghanistan. Next fall, the United
States. occupation will equal in length the Soviet Union.s own
physical involvement in Afghanistan. Like the Soviets, we continue to
secure and bolster a failing state, while encouraging an ideology and
system of government unknown and unwanted by its people.

If the history of Afghanistan is one great stage play, the United
States is no more than a supporting actor, among several previously,
in a tragedy that not only pits tribes, valleys, clans, villages, and
families against one another, but, from at least the end of King Zahir
Shah.s reign, has violently and savagely pitted the urban, secular,
educated, and modern of Afghanistan against the rural, religious,
illiterate, and traditional. It is this latter group that composes
and supports the Pashtun insurgency. The Pashtun insurgency, which is
composed of multiple, seemingly infinite, local groups, is fed by what
is perceived by the Pashtun people as a continued and sustained
assault, going back centuries, on Pashtun land, culture, traditions
and religion by internal and external enemies. The U.S. and NATO
presence and operations in Pashtun valleys and villages, as well as
Afghan army and police units that are led and composed of non-Pashtun
soldiers and police, provide an occupation force against which the
insurgency is justified. In both RC East and South, I have observed
that the bulk of the insurgency fights not for the white banner of the
Taliban, but rather against the presence of foreign soldiers and taxes
imposed by an unrepresentative government in Kabul.

The United States military presence in Afghanistan greatly contributes
to the legitimacy and strategic message of the Pashtun insurgency. In
a like manner our backing of the Afghan government in its current form
continues to distance the government from the people. The Afghan
government.s failings, particularly when weighed against the sacrifice
of American lives and dollars, appear legion and metastatic:

* Glaring corruption and unabashed graft;

* A President whose confidants and chief advisors comprise drug
lords and war crimes villains, who mock our own rule of law and
counternarcotics efforts;

* A system of provincial and district leaders constituted of local
power brokers, opportunists and strongmen allied to the United States
solely for, and limited by, the value of our USAID and CERP contracts
and for whose own political and economic interests stand nothing to
gain from any positive or genuine attempts at reconciliation; and

* The recent election process dominated by fraud and discredited
by low voter turnout, which has created an enormous victory for our
enemy who now claims a popular boycott and will call into question
worldwide our government.s military, economic and diplomatic support
for an invalid and illegitimate Afghan government.

Our support for this kind of government, coupled with a
misunderstanding of the insurgency.s true nature, reminds me horribly
of our involvement with South Vietnam; an unpopular and corrupt
government we backed at the expense of our Nation.s own internal
peace, against an insurgency whose nationalism we arrogantly and
ignorantly mistook as a rival to our own Cold War ideology.

I find specious the reasons we ask for bloodshed and sacrifice from
our young men and women in Afghanistan. If honest, our stated
strategy of securing Afghanistan to prevent al-Qaeda resurgence or
regrouping would require us to additionally invade and occupy western
Pakistan, Somalia, Sudan, Yemen, etc. Our presence in Afghanistan has
only increased destabilization and insurgency in Pakistan where we
rightly fear a toppled or weakened Pakistani government may lose
control of its nuclear weapons. However, again, to follow the logic
of our stated goals we should garrison Pakistan, not Afghanistan.
More so, the September 11th attacks, as well as the Madrid and London
bombings, were primarily planned and organized in Western Europe; a
point that highlights the threat is not one tied to traditional
geographic or political boundaries. Finally, if our concern is for a
failed state crippled by corruption and poverty and under assault from
criminal and drug lords, then if we bear our military and financial
contributions to Afghanistan, we must reevaluate and increase our
commitment to and involvement in Mexico.

Eight years into war, no nation has ever known a more dedicated, well
trained, experienced and disciplined military as the U.S. Armed
Forces. I do not believe any military force has ever been tasked with
such a complex, opaque, and Sisyphean mission as the U.S. military has
received in Afghanistan. The tactical proficiency and performance of
our Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines is unmatched and
unquestioned. However, this is not the European or Pacific theaters
of World War II, but rather is a war for which our leaders, uniformed,
civilian and elected, have inadequately prepared and resourced our men
and women. Our forces, devoted and faithful, have been committed to
conflict in an indefinite and unplanned manner that has become a
cavalier, politically expedient, and Pollyannaish misadventure.
Similarly, the United States has a dedicated and talented cadre of
civilians, both U.S. government employees and contractors, who believe
in and sacrifice for their mission, but they have been ineffectually
trained and led with guidance and intent shaped more by the political
climate in Washington, D.C., than in Afghan cities, villages,
mountains, and valleys.

.We are spending ourselves into oblivion. a very talented and
intelligent commander, one of America.s best, briefs every visitor,
staff delegation, and senior officer. We are mortgaging our Nation.s
economy on a war, which, even with increased commitment, will remain a
draw for years to come. Success and victory, whatever they may be,
will be realized not in years, after billions more spent, but in
decades and generations. The United States does not enjoy a national
treasury for such success and victory.

I realize the emotion and tone of my letter and ask that you excuse
any ill temper. I trust you understand the nature of this war and the
sacrifices made by so many thousands of families who have been
separated from loved ones deployed in defense of our Nation and whose
homes bear the fractures, upheavals, and scars of multiple and
compounded deployments. Thousands of our men and women have returned
home with physical and mental wounds, some that will never heal or
will only worsen with time. The dead return only in bodily form to be
received by families who must be reassured their dead have sacrificed
for a purpose worthy of futures lost, loved vanished, and promised
dreams unkept. I have lost confidence such assurances can anymore be
made. As such, I submit my resignation.


Matthew P. Hoh
Senior Civilian Representative
Zabul Province, Afghanistan


Matthew Hoh is an American former Marine Corps captain and former foreign service official who served in Afghanistan, until resigning in October 2009 over the continued waging of war by the United States in Afghanistan.[1][2]

Hoh, a graduate of Tufts University undergraduate school and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, started his career as a U.S. Marine, serving in the Iraq War, and resigning his commission as a Captain. Leaving the Marines in 2004 to become a civilian contractor in Iraq, at one point he employed as many as five thousand Iraqi people, being responsible for distributing tens of millions of dollars to reconstruction projects. While much of the reconstruction effort was seen as a failure, his efforts were commended by the U.S. special inspector general for Iraq reconstruction.[3] Hoh returned to the Marines in 2006, serving in Iraq and receiving commendations before again returning home in 2007.

He then became a limited, non-career appointment as a contract employee of the Department of State, serving in Zabul Province of Afghanistan.[4] Hoh resigned in a four page letter questioning why the war was being fought and "to what end".[1] He asserted that the US presence is simply fueling the resistance movement there, providing a convenient villain for the 35 year old cottage industry of warfare.

Related topics

* Craig Murray, British diplomat dismissed from his post in Uzbekistan in 2004 after criticising the complicity of his government with the extraction of intelligence via torture

Craig John Murray[1] (born 17 October 1958[2][3]) is a British political activist, former ambassador to Uzbekistan and current Rector of the University of Dundee.

While at the embassy in Tashkent, he accused the Karimov administration of human rights abuses, a step which, he argued, was against the wishes of the British government and the reason for his removal. Murray complained to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in November 2002, January or early February 2003, and in June 2004 that intelligence linking the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan to al-Qaeda, suspected of being gained through torture, was unreliable, immoral, and illegal[4]. He described this as "selling our souls for dross"[5].

Murray was subsequently removed from his ambassadorial post on October 14, 2004.

Murray was born in West Runton, Norfolk and grew up in neighbouring Sheringham. He was educated at Sheringham Primary and then at the Paston School in North Walsham, Norfolk,[6] an all-boys grammar school where he had an undistinguished record and claims to have barely gained admission to study Modern History at the University of Dundee. Whilst at university he attended few lectures, instead reading voraciously to teach himself and graduated in 1982 with an MA (Hons) 1st Class.During this period, he was a member of the Liberal Party.

Having already been on the Students' Representative Council, Murray became President of Dundee University Students' Association, elected to this sabbatical office twice (1982-1983 and 1983-1984), an occurrence so unusual that the university court (the highest body) changed the rules to stop him running a third time. He was reserve member of the team that won University Challenge in 1983[7]. He spent seven years in total at the university, compared to a normal four for a Scottish first degree[8].

He joined HM Diplomatic Service through the 1984 Civil Service Open Competition. Until 2002, he had a number of overseas postings with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) to Africa and to Europe. In London, he was appointed to the FCO's Southern European Department, as Cyprus desk officer, and later became head of the Maritime Section. He also led the Foreign Office team in the Embargo Surveillance Centre between 1990-91, responsible for analysing intelligence on Iraqi attempts to evade sanctions[9].

Murray separated from his first wife, Fiona, with whom he has two children,[10] after starting a relationship with Nadira Alieva, an Uzbek woman who he met while she was working as a belly dancer in a Tashkent night club. She followed him when he left Uzbekistan[11] and they were married on May 6, 2009.[12] He has since had a son, Cameron, with his second wife, born in 2009.


In 2002, Murray was appointed British ambassador to Uzbekistan at the relatively young age of 43. He was dismissed from that post in October 2004.[2] In July 2004, he told The Guardian that "there is no point in having cocktail-party relationships with a fascist regime," and that "you don't have to be a pompous old fart to be an ambassador."[10]

In October 2002, Murray made a speech at a human rights conference hosted by Freedom House in Tashkent, in which he asserted that "Uzbekistan is not a functioning democracy" and that the boiling to death of two members of Hizb ut-Tahrir "is not an isolated incident."[14] Later, Secretary-General of the United Nations Kofi Annan confronted Uzbek President Islom Karimov with Murray's claims.[10]

Murray was summoned to the FCO in London and, on March 8, 2003, was reprimanded for writing, in a letter to his employers, in response to a speech by President of the United States George W. Bush, "when it comes to the Karimov regime, systematic torture and rape appear to be treated as peccadilloes, not to affect the relationship and to be downplayed in the international fora ... I hope that once the present crisis is over we will make plain to the U.S., at senior level, our serious concern over their policy in Uzbekistan."[15]
[edit] Discipline charges

In July 2003, some of the embassy staff were sacked while Murray was away on holiday. They were reinstated after he expressed his outrage to the FCO. Later, during another holiday, he was recalled to London for disciplinary reasons. On August 21, 2003, he was confronted with 18 charges including "hiring dolly birds [pretty young women] for above the usual rate" for the visa department, though he claims that the department had an all-male staff, and granting UK visas in exchange for sex. He was told that discussing the charges would be a violation of the 1989 Official Secrets Act. The FCO encouraged him to resign.[10]

He collapsed during a medical check in Tashkent on September 2, 2003 and was airlifted to St Thomas' Hospital in London. After an FCO internal inquiry conducted by Tony Crombie, Head of the FCO's Overseas Territories Department, all but two of the charges (being drunk at work and misusing the embassy's Range Rover) were dropped. The charges were leaked to the press in October 2003[16]. Immediately upon his return to work in November 2003, he suffered a near-fatal pulmonary embolism and was again flown back to London for medical treatment. In January 2004, the FCO, after a four-month investigation exonerated him of all 18 charges, but reprimanded him for speaking about the charges.
[edit] Removal from post

Murray was removed from his post in October 2004, shortly after a leaked report in the Financial Times quoted him as claiming that MI6 used intelligence provided by Uzbek authorities through torture[17]. The FCO denied there was any direct connection and stated that Murray had been removed for "operational" reasons. It claimed that he had lost the confidence of senior officials and colleagues. The following day, in an interview on the Today Programme, the BBC's flagship political radio show, Murray countered that he was a "victim of conscience," and in this and other interviews was critical of the FCO[18]. A few days later he was charged with "gross misconduct" by the FCO[19]. Having negotiated a settlement whereby he was paid six years' salary payment in compensation, Murray agreed to resign from the FCO in February 2005.
[edit] Subsequent career

Murray has continued his opposition to the War on Terror since leaving HM Diplomatic Service. He sums up his current occupation: "Being a dissident is quite fun."[8] He has stood on two occasions for election to Parliament.

In November 2005, he took part in the Axis for Peace Conference in Brussels[20].

In December 2005, he published a number of confidential memos on his website, which outlined his condemnation of intelligence procured under torture, and the UK government's ambivalence to this. The British government subsequently claimed copyright over the documents and demanded they be removed[21].

Murray's book Murder in Samarkand . A British Ambassador's Controversial Defiance of Tyranny in the War on Terror[22] outlining his controversial period as an ambassador was finally published in 2006, but only after several battles. Before its publication, many potential readers were contacted through Internet posts and e-mail listings to raise interest and by creating a body of public opinion, to guard against the publisher being 'bullied' out of printing the book by government pressure. These communications also mentioned how supporting government documents which were originally planned for inclusion had been forcibly removed because of 'copyright' worries. This, despite Murray's claims that many had received a formal release and thus should have been within the public domain. Their forced removal, Murray has stated is the government "trying to claw back the very limited gains in Freedom of Information in the UK",[23] especially attempts to close websites on which the supporting documents were posted instead. Though many attempts to do this have proved successful, media interest has also meant that the documents frequently re-surface on mirror sites.[24] This book is to be filmed by Michael Winterbottom with a script by David Hare.

A character based on him appears in the 2006 UK.US television co-production The State Within, in which the former British ambassador to the fictional country of Tyrgyzstan, a hard-drinking womaniser, is embroiled in a plot to stop human rights abuses amid escalating threats of war.

On February 16, 2007 he was elected to the position of Rector of the University of Dundee, his alma mater. The other nominee was former British Lion and Scotland rugby captain Andy Nicol.[25] Murray opposes cuts to University departments and services which were proposed in a document drafted by a working group chaired by the outgoing Dean of the School of Engineering, Professor Michael Davies. The election saw an increase in turnout of 50% from the previous election, with Murray winning by 632 votes to 582. Coincidentally, Murray was in the same class at his secondary school as actor Stephen Fry, who also held the title of Dundee's rector[26]

In July 2007, he was elected an Honorary Research Fellow at the University of Lancaster School of Law. His life features in a show by Alieva, The Ambassador's Bellydancer, initially presented at the Arcola Theatre in Hackney, later moving to London's West End.[27][28] She invited him to perform in it, but he declined, citing lack of acting ability.[28]

Murray is Executive Chairman of Atholl Energy Ltd[29] and Chairman of Westminster Development Ltd, a gold mining company, both operating in Accra, Ghana.[30]
[edit] Political career

Murray stood for election to the House of Commons on two occasions, in Blackburn, Lancashire and Norwich North, Norfolk. In both, he was an independent candidate.

In the May 2005 general election, he stood against his former boss Foreign Secretary Jack Straw, who has long been the MP for Blackburn. He polled 2,082 votes (5.0%), coming in fifth place out of seven candidates.[2]

Following the United Kingdom Parliamentary expenses scandal, Murray stood for election in the July 2009 Norwich North by-election under slogan "Put an honest man into Parliament"[31]. He polled 953 votes (2.77%) putting him in sixth place out of twelve candidates.
[edit] Awards

In recognition of his campaigning work on torture and human rights he was awarded the Sam Adams Award for Integrity in Intelligence in January 2006[32].

In November 2006, he was awarded the Premio Alta Qualità della Città di Bologna[33].
[edit] Legal pressure

During an interview with Alex Jones on 21 August 2006, regarding torture and the 2006 transatlantic aircraft plot, Murray claimed that false intelligence on al-Qaeda plots was obtained through torture done by CIA proxies, and that the intelligence gained is used as a propaganda tool[34].

The threat of legal action against Murray by the Treasury Solicitor for the unauthorised publication of official documents on his website resulted in a large number of people mirroring the documents on their own websites and releasing them via peer to peer networks[35][36]. The Treasury Solicitor's letter stated that if the documents were not removed by 10 July 2006, which they were not, then a claim would be issued in the High Court for an injunction requiring the documents to be removed[37].

In September 2007, Murray expressed views on the character of Alisher Usmanov, Russia's 18th richest man[38], following Usmanov's investment in Arsenal Football Club[39] but the post[40] had to be removed from his web site following an intervention from Usmanov's lawyers, Schillings, who threatened his webhost. Despite Murray's repeated assertions that he was happy to defend his statements in court, Schillings declined to sue Murray but concentrated on stamping out the story by threatening hosting companies who had no interest in defending the case. Under further pressure from Usmanov's lawyers, the hosting company Fasthosts, decided to permanently close the server for the web site on 20 September 2007, an action that also had the effect of deleting several other related and non-related political blogs. A campaign by bloggers against Usmanov's legal pressure ensued, and Murray's website has since returned.

Bookmark and Share
posted by u2r2h at 11:02 PM 0 comments

Sunday, December 20, 2009

CIA agent Mumbai Massacre - curtain lifted.

The curtain has lifted briefly.

the FACT that the USA carries out FALSE FLAG TERROR bloodbaths
is never mentioned in the obedient embedded media.
But sometimes the word gets out and we get a perception
management-free article:

CHICAGO - A Chicago man conducted extensive surveillance on potential targets in the Indian city of Mumbai before the terrorist attacks there in November last year that left 166 people dead, federal authorities charged yesterday.

Prosecutors say David Coleman Headley, who already has been charged with planning an attack on a Danish newspaper after it ran cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad, made five extended trips to Mumbai from September 2006 to July 2008, taking pictures of various targets.

He allegedly scouted hotels such as the Taj Mahal and the Oberoi, the Leopold Cafe, a Jewish centre known as Nariman House and the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus train station - each of which was attacked with guns, grenades and other explosives in the attacks.

Headley was charged in the District Court yesterday with 12 counts, including six counts of conspiracy to bomb public places in India, to murder and maim individuals in India and Denmark and other offences.

He could be sentenced to death if convicted on the charges involving the terrorist attacks in Mumbai. Headley's lawyer, John Theis, said he would "continue to look at this and see what the evidence is," but declined to comment further.

Article continues below

The charges filed yesterday said Headley, 48, had attended training camps in Pakistan earlier this decade that were run by militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba.

They also said the US citizen, formerly named Daood Gilani, conspired with members of that group to launch terrorist attacks in India. Prosecutors said Headley changed his name in 2006 so that he could pass in India for an American who was neither Muslim nor Pakistani.

Headley and Chicago businessman Tahawwur Rana, 48, a Canadian national, were charged in October with plotting to attack the Jyllands Posten newspaper in Denmark. The newspaper had published 12 cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad in 2005 that set off protests in parts of the Islamic world.

Federal prosecutors said at the time of his arrest that Headley admitted his role in a plot against the newspaper and that he had received training from Lashkar-e-Taiba. Authorities in Washington said Headley had co-operated with investigators in both the Danish and Indian plots since his arrest.

The US Attorney's office said Lashkar-e-Taiba gave Headley the task in late 2005 of gathering surveillance on Mumbai targets.

It said he travelled to Chicago in June 2006 and advised a person identified in the charges only as Individual A of the plan. He then allegedly got Individual A's approval of a plan to open an office of First World Immigration Services in Mumbai as cover for his work.

Rana has operated First World Immigration Services, which has offices in Chicago, Toronto and New York.

A retired major in the Pakistani military, Abdur Rehman Hashim Syed, was charged with conspiring to attack the Danish newspaper and its employees, according to US court documents. The Pakistan Army has confirmed it has a retired major in custody in connection with the US terrorism investigation.

Military spokesman Major General Athar Abbas did not say when the arrest was made or reveal the man's identity but has said the major was being questioned over alleged links to Headley and Rana.

A two-count complaint against Abdur Rehman was filed under seal on October 20. It says he co-ordinated surveillance of the Danish newspaper and participated in planning the attack there along with Lashkar-e-Taiba and Ilyas Kashmiri, who was described as a leader of the terrorist group Harakat-ul Jihad Islami.

Authorities say Headley visited Pakistan in January and at that time, Abdur Rehman took him to western areas of the country where a number of terrorist groups have allegedly found refuge.

The aim was to solicit Kashmiri's help in launching the attack against the Danish paper, the charges say. A search of Headley's luggage at the time of his arrest turned up a list of phone numbers including one allegedly used to contact Abdur Rehman.

- AP

David Headley, a Pakistan-born American national arrested in Chicago in October, is alleged to have carried out reconnaissance missions in the run-up to the Mumbai attacks, in which 166 people were killed.

He is also believed to have been present in the terrorists' "control room" in Pakistan where their handlers directed the killing spree over an open telephone line.

According to Indian officials, Headley travelled to India again in March this year, with the knowledge of American agencies who did not inform their Indian counterparts. During the trip, Headley is alleged to have collected intelligence for future terrorist attacks on civilian and military targets, including India's National Defence College.

Indian officials are desperate to question Headley but have been frustrated by American refusals to grant them access. A team of Indian investigators travelled to Washington shortly after Headley was arrested in October but soon returned after their American counterparts told them they would not be able to meet him.

The Telegraph UK

==== Sun, 11/30/2008 - 10:12pm. ========
Yesterday, Outlookindia.com reported that the CIA's station chief in Delhi approached one of India's intelligence agencies, the Research and Analysis Wing, and passed on a fairly specific warning;

"In mid-September this year, the CIA station chief in Delhi sought an urgent meeting with his counterpart in R&AW to pass on some critical inputs. This was part of an understanding that Indian and American intelligence had institutionalised in the aftermath of 9/11. From its assets in Pakistan and Afghanistan, American intelligence had come to learn that the Lashkar-e-Toiba was planning to launch a major terrorist attack in Mumbai, which would be carried out from the sea."

Later in the article;

"By the middle of November, as Indian intelligence continued to check out further inputs, the pieces of an intricate jigsaw puzzle began to fall into place. Sources say they learnt that the attack would come from the sea and that the Taj Hotel would be a major target. However, it was not known whether this attack would be carried out by planting bombs in the hotel or by terrorists carrying small arms. Indian intelligence assessments were tilting towards bombs being planted and security at the hotel was beefed up accordingly to prevent terrorists from planting bombs inside the premises."

But the Hotel eased these security enhancements the week before the attack, according to the Chairman of the company that owned the Hotel where took the brunt of the attacks;

"The Taj Mahal hotel in Mumbai, India, temporarily increased security after being warned of a possible terrorist attack, the chairman of the company that owns the hotel said Saturday.

But Tata Group Chairman Ratan Tata said those measures, which were eased shortly before this week's terror attacks, could not have prevented gunmen from entering the hotel."

So let's get this straight... the CIA and Indian intelligence have figured out that Mumbai will be attacked, and Indian intelligence even nailed down the Hotel, and warned the Hotel... so the Hotel slacked off on security. Of course.

The Outlookindia report does not tell us that the Hotel stood down, and this is not the only troubling aspect of the report. The article parrots information from Indian intelligence about a fishing trawler that the Indian Coast Guard "discovered", that just happens to be rich with damning evidence;

"On November 18, R&AW passed on a specific advisory to the Coast Guard, which serves as the Lead intelligence Agency for the coastal area. The advisory asked the coast guard to intensify patrolling and look out for a suspicious vessel, probably of Pakistani origin, which had sailed off from Karachi. While the coast guard began to patrol the area with renewed intensity, the terrorists had an entirely different plan.

According to details available with Indian intelligence and the information given by the terrorist who was picked up by the Mumbai police in an encounter near Chowpatty, the terrorists hijacked an Indian fishing boat, the Kuber, somewhere near Pakistani waters. They beheaded the majority of the boat's crew of six and only allowed one crew-member, Amarsinh Solanki, to live so that he could help them with navigating the boat to Mumbai. The coast guard found a Global Positioning System abandoned on the fishing trawler that was drifting nearly four nautical miles off the coast of Mumbai early on Thursday, November 27 morning, several hours after the terrorist attack began...

...What has surprised investigators piecing together the details of the attack is that the GPS recovered from the abandoned trawler, Kuber, had two maps fed into it to aid navigation. One was a route from Karachi that was plotted quite close to the Indian coast, while a return route had also been mapped into the GPS from the Mumbai coast back to Karachi. "We think this was done to give the terrorists some semblance of hope that they would go back home after a successful raid," a top security official told Outlook. The fact that these two maps were fed into the GPS has confirmed that there was some help from people with a naval or army background, and had extensive knowledge of navigation at sea.

...Meanwhile, investigators are poring through the call data details downloaded from the satellite phone also recovered from the abandoned trawler. Many of the call details have revealed numbers that have been traced back to the LeT's (Lashkar-e-Toiba) chief of operations, Muzamil, as well as to Lakhvi. Interestingly, the international SIM cards recovered from the bodies of the killed terrorists correspond to the intelligence picked up earlier, when Muzamil had asked his Bangladesh operative Yayah, to procure them.

How convenient. The gunmen left behind brutally damning evidence just to erase any lingering doubts that anyone might have had about the origins of this attack.

This reminds me of the luggage allegedly left behind in Boston, on 9/11 by Mohamed Atta;

"Former federal terrorism investigators say a piece of luggage hastily checked in at the Portland, Maine, airport by a World Trade Center hijacker on the morning of Sept. 11 provided the Rosetta stone enabling FBI agents to swiftly unravel the mystery of who carried out the suicide attacks and what motivated them.

A mix-up in Boston prevented the luggage from connecting with the plane that hijackers crashed into the north tower of the trade center. Seized by FBI agents at Boston's Logan Airport, investigators said, it contained Arab-language papers revealing the identities of all 19 hijackers involved in the four hijackings, as well as information on their plans, backgrounds and motives."

It also reminds me of the evidence bundle conveniently dropped in Memphis that was used to set up (and convict) James Earl Ray of the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr.;

"On April 4, 1968, within minutes after the shooting of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., a local police officer discovered a Remington 30-06 rifle, several unused bullets, and other effects that belonged to James Earl Ray, wrapped inside a blanket, outside Canipe's Amusement store. The owner of the store recalled someone dropping the package at his door before the time of the assassination."

The over-eager evidence-droppers in this case jumped the gun. Like Atta's luggage, and Ray's self-damning evidence bundle, there is something about that fishing trawler that is just too good to be true. The fact that the article uses intelligence sources so uncritically is in itself questionable.

As Michel Chossudovsky comments;

"Were the ISI to have been involved in a major covert operation directed against India, the CIA would have prior knowledge regarding the precise nature and timing of the operation.The ISI does not act without the consent of its US intelligence counterpart."

We know now that the CIA did indeed have "prior knowledge", derived from its own "assets", at least according to the spin from Outlookindia.com.


India is no beginner when it comes to False Flag attacks.
World famous author and activist Arundhati Roy has written the introduction to and an essay in «13 Dec a reader The Strange Case of the Attack on the Indian Parliament».
Warmly recommended!

CIA Foreknowledge of the Mumbai Attacks

Bookmark and Share
posted by u2r2h at 1:56 AM 0 comments

Thursday, December 17, 2009

WAR and glass abattoirs - the "demeritocracy-loyalty" theory

OK, so the press played dumb. Did they really? I think not. I think it is impossible that so many outlets sang the same song unless there was something VERY powerful to make them. I don't believe in the "demeritocracy-loyalty" theory.

The "glass abattoirs" meme is nice.


World painted in blood ...

Chilcot Inquiry: The Establishment Goes To Work (Part 2)

by MediaLens / December 17th, 2009

Buckling Under Bush

In an early leading article on the Chilcot inquiry, the Guardian observed:

“What is already clear from the first week alone is that the decisions, secret or otherwise, that led to war were the product of systemic failure. Intelligence analysts, diplomats, in fact the entire machinery of the British government, proved supine against Washington’s will. Under that pressure, almost everyone buckled.”1

They certainly did. The Guardian’s Martin Woollacott wrote in January 24, 2003:

“Among those knowledgeable about Iraq there are few, if any, who believe he is not hiding such weapons. It is a given.”2

This was close to being an exact reversal of the truth. Hans Blix, former head of UNMOVIC arms inspections in Iraq (November 2002-March 2003), said in June 2003:

“If anyone had cared… to study what UNSCOM [arms inspections in Iraq from 1991-1998] was saying for quite a number of years, and what we [UNMOVIC] were saying, they should not have assumed that they would stumble on weapons.”3


Unfortunately, almost no-one had cared to study anything. Former chief UN weapons inspector, Scott Ritter, put the issue in perspective last month:

As of December 1998, both the U.S. and Britain knew there was no ‘smoking gun’ in Iraq that could prove that Saddam’s government was retaining or reconstituting a WMD capability. Nothing transpired between that time and when the decision was made in 2002 to invade Iraq that fundamentally altered that basic picture.

But having decided on war using WMD as the justification, both the US and Great Britain began the process of fabricating a case after the fact. Lacking new intelligence data on Iraqi WMD, both nations resorted to either recycling old charges that had been disproved by UN inspectors in the past, or fabricating new charges that would not withstand even the most cursory of investigations.

He added:

The evidence needed to undermine any WMD-based case for war, derived from the work of the UN weapons inspectors, was always available to those officials in a position to weigh in on this matter, but either never consulted or deliberately ignored…

But “even the most cursory of investigations” was never attempted. We were amazed in 2002-2003 at the media’s complete lack of interest in testing US-UK government claims. Ritter’s comments above +were+ published in the Guardian, but in 2009, long after they had lost the power to make a difference. In 2003, the Guardian and Observer mentioned Iraq in a total of 12,356 articles. In these articles, Ritter was mentioned 17 times, mostly in passing. The Independent mentioned Ritter eight times in 5,648 articles on Iraq in 2003. Ritter’s claim that Iraq had been “fundamentally disarmed” by December 1998, received fewer than a dozen brief mentions in the Guardian in 2002. Ritter made the point:

“The president’s task was made far easier given the role of useful idiot played by much of the mainstream media in the U.S. and Britain, where reporters and editors alike dutifully repeated both the hyped-up charges levied against Iraq and the false pretensions that a diplomatic solution was being sought.”

Everyone knew that Iraq’s nuclear programme had been completely eliminated by weapons inspectors before December 1998. The only conceivable threat was offered by the prospect of the Iraqi government supplying old battlefield chemical and biological weapons to al Qaeda. But Saddam Hussein was known to be a mortal enemy of al Qaeda, and any retained WMD would long since have become “harmless sludge”, according to credible experts, like Ritter, whose arguments were available from all good booksellers from 2002 onwards (See: Ritter and William Rivers Pitt, War On Iraq, Profile Books, 2002).

The Iraqi “threat” was a fantasy invented by the immensely powerful, nuclear-armed bullies of the West. This is why former British ambassador to Washington, Christopher Meyer, was able to observe last month that prior to the attacks on September 11, 2001, Iraq was merely “a grumbling appendix.”


The extent of media buckling under Bush-Blair propaganda was spectacular. On February 6, 2003, a Guardian leader responded to US Secretary of State Colin Powell’s infamous speech at the UN the previous day:

It is not credible to argue, as Iraq did in its initial reaction to Mr Powell, that it is simply all lies. It may be that some of what he said is unfounded or exaggerated. But not all of it. As we have noted on numerous occasions, Iraq is not cooperating with the UN in the way the world has a right to expect. Mr Powell has reinforced that impression. Saddam, that bloodiest of dictators who has caused so much pain and suffering for so long, is once again recklessly courting the very disaster so many people rightly fear. Iraqi behaviour must change radically and without any more delay.4

But it +was+ credible that it was “simply all lies.” Again, Ritter was on hand to make this clear, although not in the Guardian:

“He just hits you, hits you, hits you with circumstantial evidence, and he confuses people — and he lied, he lied to people, he misled people… The Powell presentation is not evidence… It’s a very confusing presentation. What does it mean? What does it represent? How does it all link up? It doesn’t link up.”5


As we recently noted, the pitiful response of the BBC’s leading interviewer, Jeremy Paxman, was standard for the media:

“I thought, well, ‘We know that Colin Powell is an intelligent, thoughtful man, and a sceptical man. If he believes all this to be the case, then, you know, he’s seen the evidence; I haven’t.’” (See our alert for details)

The Guardian’s insult to the intelligence in the wake of Powell’s “evidence” was completed by its observation that “Iraqi behaviour must change radically and without any more delay.” But by February 2003 the Gulf was packed with hundreds of thousands of troops, hundreds of tanks, and hundreds of ships and planes. It was inconceivable that the US and Britain would simply bring them all home again, regardless of what Iraq did or did not do.

In April 2003, one week after US tanks had captured both Baghdad and the hearts of most British journalists, one of the Guardian’s most senior commentators, the late Hugo Young, wrote of Tony Blair:

“For a political leader, few therapies compare with military victory. For a leader who went to war in the absence of a single political ally who believed in the war as unreservedly as he did, Iraq now looks like vindication on an astounding scale.”6

Young added:

No one can deny that victory happened. The existential fact sweeps aside the prior agonising. That is an inexorable short-term truth about war. Not even the promised shed-loads of chemical and biological weapons seem any longer necessary to make war seem good. For many people, especially those who waged it, its validation becomes very simple. We got rid of a pitiless enemy of humanity. What more do you want? All that agonising about the whys and wherefores? Forget it.

The Guardian’s Simon Hoggart went beyond vindication of Western crimes in an article titled, “Anti-war MPs cling to intellectual life rafts.”


Mocking courageous opponents of the war like MPs George Galloway, Tam Dalyell and Alice Mahon, Hoggart wrote:

“The end of a war is not a time for taking stock, for reflecting on what has been lost and what achieved, but for scrambling on to the intellectual life rafts and hoping for rescue. Tony Blair, for his part, didn’t gloat. He doesn’t do gloating.”7

In its November 23 editorial, the Guardian writes:

“No one disputes that the foreign secretary plotted to ‘work up’ an ultimatum that could trigger war even though he believed that ‘the case was thin’…”

The careful choice of words is interesting. In fact, as Michael Smith’s reports on the leaked Downing Street memo revealed in The Times, the phrase “an ultimatum that could trigger war” should read “an ultimatum +designed+ to trigger war” – infinitely more damning.8

The Guardian continues:

“If, however, the inquiry gets too bogged down in logistical questions it could create the impression that the mission was merely poorly executed, as opposed to being misconceived.”

As ever, the language is carefully chosen to protect Tweedledum and Tweedledee from a public that has woken up to their criminal actions.


Were the terror attacks on September 11, 2001, merely “misconceived”? Or were they crimes, atrocities? Consider the Independent’s remarkable conclusion:

“But in the end, Sir John and his team will be judged on their success in getting answers to a number of crucial questions: What intelligence on the threat posed by Iraq did ministers see and was this evidence deliberately distorted in making the public case for war? Was the door prematurely shut on a diplomatic solution to the crisis?”9 .

But we know the answers to both these questions. The threat of Iraqi WMD was simply invented. It beggars belief that the Independent can still ask if “the door” was “prematurely shut on a diplomatic solution.” We know, without a shred of doubt, that the door to a “diplomatic solution” was never open — “the crisis” was not a real crisis. It was a fiction manufactured precisely +because+ the US-UK governments wanted war; they were determined to invade Iraq.


The “diplomatic solution” was a diplomatic ploy, a sham, a trap. Even now, the Independent cannot bring itself to recognise the ruthless, cynical nature of the political system by which we are governed.

The Glass Abattoir

A Guardian leader observed: “the primary aim of the probe must be to promote the reconciliation of the public with a political class which misled it so badly.”10

The “political class” did the misleading, notice — no mention of the media. A later Guardian editorial comments:

“Neither the US nor Britain has kicked the intervention habit, and the conflict in Iraq is also far from over.”1

Again, the Guardian presents itself as a neutral voice, an impartial observer of the powerful. In fact, as we have seen, it was very much one of the useful idiots to which Ritter referred. It is true that neither the US nor Britain has kicked the intervention habit. But what of the Guardian itself?

In May 2007, a front-page Guardian article declared that Iran was “forging ties with al-Qaida elements and Sunni Arab militias in Iraq in preparation for a summer showdown with coalition forces intended to tip a wavering US Congress into voting for full military withdrawal.”

Juan Cole, Professor of Modern Middle East and South Asian History at the University of Michigan, responded:

US military spokesmen have been trying to push implausible articles about Shiite Iran supporting Sunni insurgents for a couple of years now, and with virtually the sole exception of the New York Times, no one in the journalistic community has taken these wild charges seriously. But The Guardian?11

In September, a Guardian editorial declared:

“Iranian negotiators should realise that their centrifuges are reaching their highest trade-in value. Push it any further, and Iran will not have an internationally monitored production line of enriched uranium to feed its nuclear reactors. Instead of international finance and trade, it will attract blockades and bombs.”12

The Guardian might ask if these are the words of a newspaper that has “kicked the intervention habit”. But a corporate media system can never subject itself to this kind of self-analysis.

True, vanishingly rare, and incomplete, exceptions do appear. In 2004, George Monbiot wrote in the Guardian that “the falsehoods reproduced by the media before the invasion of Iraq were massive and consequential: it is hard to see how Britain could have gone to war if the press had done its job.”13

The media merely “reproduced” falsehoods, then. Similarly, the “job” of the media was assumed +not+ to be the one it performs with such consistency, year after year, for the powerful. Happily, Monbiot’s own newspaper, the Guardian, was among a select group of liberal papers that “were the most sceptical about the claims made by the government and intelligence agencies,” although they “still got some important things wrong.” The appallingly deceptive version of events offered by the pro-war Observer was judged by Monbiot to have been “partly false.” The ugliest truth was not even mentioned — Monbiot talked of media “mistakes,” not “crimes.”

But Monbiot does deserve credit — his article provided a rare discussion of an issue that is normally unmentionable. His comments will have been noted by the powers that be, and not appreciated. Sir Ken Macdonald QC, former Director of Public Prosecutions, recently shone an equally rare light on the subject of thought control in modern Britain:

In British public life, loyalty and service to power can sometimes count for more to insiders than any tricky questions of wider reputation. It’s the regard you are held in by your peers that really counts, so that steadfastness in the face of attack and threatened exposure brings its own rich hierarchy of honour and reward. Disloyalty, on the other hand, means a terrible casting out, a rocky and barren Roman exile that few have the courage to endure.

This helps explain why modern media and politics are such obvious moral and intellectual demeritocracies.

The corporate media concern, quite obviously, is not with examining and declaring the reality of what the organisation is — much less the ugly reality — but the reality of what it needs to +appear+ to be to its customers in order to maximise profits. Expecting honest self-analysis from the Guardian and the Independent is like expecting the meat industry to set up glass abattoirs next to supermarkets. The idea is a logical absurdity, a structural impossibility. Abattoirs +have+ to kill animals out of sight and earshot of consumers. Corporate media +have+ to serve state-corporate power while feigning neutrality. The sham of media neutrality +has+ to be defended by silence — honest, rational analysis is a serious threat.

And so we have the Guardian opining that, in the face of US government propaganda in 2002-2003, “almost everyone buckled.”

The elephant tap dancing across the living room floor, shaking the house to its very foundations, is not even mentioned. This is the role of the media in causing the deaths of more than one million living, breathing, dreaming, suffering human beings. This is the role of a media, which did +not+ merely buckle in helping this happen, but which performed the traditional propaganda service it has been +designed+ to perform in the service of the interests that created it.

The problem is that there can be no fundamental political change so long as the media has the power to stifle discussion and dissent. This is why media protestations that politicians need to be called to account are so cynical, so insulting to the intelligence. The very structure, the very reason for being of the media, ensures that there can be no real change.

Power has to be taken away from the mainstream media. The answer, as ever, lies with ordinary people willing to reject compromise, willing to invest their time, energy and resources in work that prioritises people and planet above profit.

In truth, this path is not at all “rocky and barren”; it does not involve a “terrible casting out.” It is alive with humanity, compassion and creativity. It is the life of meek servility to power and profit that is soulless, miserable and dead.

Read Part 1.

  1. Leading Article: ‘Iraq inquiry: Dancing to American drums,’ The Guardian, November 28, 2009. [] []
  2. Woollacott, ‘This drive to war is one of the mysteries of our time – We know Saddam is hiding weapons. That isn’t the argument,’ The Guardian, January 24, 2003. []
  3. Miles Pomper and Paul Kerr, ‘An Interview With Hans Blix,’ Arms Control Today, June 16 2003. []
  4. Leading article, ‘Powell shoots to kill: But battle over Iraq is far from finished,’ The Guardian, February 6, 2003. []
  5. ‘Ritter dismisses Powell report,’ Kyodo News, February 7, 2003. []
  6. Young, ‘So begins Blair’s descent into powerless mediocrity, Victory in Iraq risks being effaced by imminent surrender over the euro,’ The Guardian, April 15, 2003. []
  7. Hoggart, ‘Anti-war MPs cling to intellectual life rafts,’ The Guardian, April 15, 2003. []
  8. See Chapter 5 of our book Newspeak, Pluto Press, 2009, for many more examples of media mendacity on this point []
  9. Leading article, ‘Sir John Chilcot must assert his independence and focus on the key issues,’ The Independent, November 24, 2009 []
  10. Leading article, ‘Chilcot inquiry: Healing the wounds of war,’ The Guardian, November 23, 2009. []
  11. Juan Cole, Informed Comment blog, May 22, 2007. []
  12. Leading article, ‘Iran: Spinning out of control,’ The Guardian, September 25, 2009. []
  13. Monbiot, ‘Our lies led us into war,’ The Guardian, July 20, 2004 []
Media Lens is a UK-based media watchdog group headed by David Edwards and David Cromwell. The first Media Lens book is Guardians of Power: The Myth Of The Liberal Media (Pluto Books, London, 2006).
Bookmark and Share
posted by u2r2h at 5:53 PM 0 comments