18 December 2007

Official complaint to the BBC about Paxman

Here is the text of an official complaint I have just sent in to the BBC:

"I wish to make an official complaint about one of the presenters of Newsnight: Jeremy Paxman.

BBC editorial guidelines state:

"Presenters of News and Current Affairs programmes

In the case of those known to the public primarily as presenters of, or reporters on, BBC news programmes and programmes about current affairs, there is a greater possibility of conflict of interest. Care must be taken to ensure that they remain impartial when speaking publicly (see section 2.1 above) and do not promote any political party, campaigning organisation or lobby group which may jeopardise their status as an impartial broadcaster."

Jeremy Paxman has scoffed at these guidelines by not only providing promotional written support for a pro-American 'campaigning organisation or lobby group', the British-American Project for the Successor Generation (BAP), but also being a Fellow of said lobby group and being the 'face' of their organisation - if not then why is he featured photo and all on their main page?

On the home page of the BAP website we can find this:

"What Fellows Say abut BAP
'A marvellous way of meeting a varied cross-section of transatlantic friends.'
Jeremy Paxman, Journalist and BBC broadcaster"

This is an open endorsement of a 'campaigning organisation or lobby group'. BBC guidelines expressly forbid Paxman from promoting this group.

I always had my doubts about Paxman's impartiality and the reason's for his pro-American bias on Newsnight, now I know why.

This is an obvious case of conflict of interest. In view of this, I demand that the BBC take action now."

15 December 2007

Rosa Monckton admits 'close' link to MI6

Today's Telegraph carries the following headline and story:

"Rosa Monckton admits 'close' link to MI6"

"Rosa Monckton has disclosed that someone close to her was involved with MI6. Miss Monckton told the inquest into the princess's death that she personally had "no connection with the security services" but that "someone close to me is connected with the SIS". The Secret Intelligence Service, also known as MI6, protects British interests abroad."

Note the cynical comment at the end "The Secret Intelligence Service, also known as MI6, protects British interests abroad."

Rosa Monckton is of course married to Dominic Lawson, who was accused by former MI6 officer Richard Tomlinson of being an MI6 asset, apparently referred to in MI6 by the code name 'SMALLBROW'.

According to the Guardian, "Dominic Lawson, the editor of the Sunday Telegraph and son of the former Tory chancellor, Nigel Lawson, provided journalistic cover for an MI6 officer on a mission to the Baltic to handle and debrief a young Russian diplomat who was spying for Britain...Tomlinson...said that in the early 1990s the editor of the Spectator was on MI6's books".

In an article in 2000 in the British Journalism Review, David Leigh confirmed that at the time Lawson was editor of the Spectator:

"Two articles appeared in the Spectator magazine in early 1994 under the by-line Kenneth Roberts...They were datelined Sarajevo, and "Roberts" was described as having been working with the UN in Bosnia as an "advisor". In fact, he was MI6 officer Keith Robert Craig (the pseudonym was a simple one), whose local cover was as a civilian "attached" to the British military unit's Balkan secretariat."

So could Rosa Monckton have been referring to Lawson?

I don't think so. Its actually much more likely she was referring to her brother Anthony Monckton, who according to David Leigh, "was himself a serving MI6 officer, who was to take over the Zagreb station in the Balkans in 1996" and ended up as station chief in Serbia before having his cover blown "in a book by Zoran Mijatovic, former deputy chief of the Serbian intelligence service. A Belgrade newspaper then printed Monckton’s photograph, phone number and e-mail details, forcing him to return to Britain. "


Other news of interest today:

The Telegraph, again: "UN cites Serb threat to Kosovo's energy". This article appears to be fearmongering aimed at provoking ethnic cleansing of Serbs in Kosovo.

"UN officals fear that the small Serb population in the north of the province, under instructions from Belgrade, could shut down the Gazivoda reservoir, which supplies 60 per cent of Kosovo's water..."The Gazivoda complex is critically important for Kosovo, but the people running the installation are all Serbs from the local area," said another senior international official in Pristina, the capital of Kosovo...Beyond sourcing alternative supplies, Mr Acda said that UNMIK was considering "putting people on the ground and using diplomatic pressure" to ensure that the flow of water continues.
But others intimately acquainted with the problem speak in more dramatic terms. "There aren't any solutions for Gazivoda," said a senior official. "Everyone's edging around the subject.
"Can you send in NATO troops? How would that play internationally?"
He added that Sergei Lavrov, the Russian foreign minister, had been heard to threaten: "If you're thinking about putting troops around Gazivoda - don't.

Two excellent articles in Salon.com, the first one entitled "Inside the CIA's notorious "black sites" is about Yemeni Mohamed Farag Ahmad Bashmilah's suffering at the hands of the terrorist organisation CIA.

He was testifying in a federal suit brought by the ACLU "claiming Jeppesen Dataplan Inc. enabled the clandestine transportation of five terrorism suspects to overseas locations where they were subjected to "forms of cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment" according to the AP.

The court has also heard evidence "of a former Jeppesen employee who said the company openly spoke of its role in extraordinary rendition...According to the declaration of Sean Belcher, who worked briefly for Jeppesen as a technical writer in San Jose, Calif. in 2006, the director of Jeppesen's International Trip Planning Service, Bob Overby, told new employees during an introductory breakfast that "we do all the extraordinary rendition flights."
When some employees looked puzzled at the statement, Overby added that he was referring to "torture flights," according to Belcher's declaration.
According to Belcher, Overby then said he understood some employees were not comfortable with that aspect of Jeppesen's business but added "that's just the way it is, we're doing them," and that the rendition flights paid very well

The other called "America's trinity of terrorism" describes how the "network of U.S.-sponsored terrorism now on global display relies on death squads, disappearances and torture".

More on torture from Alexander Cockburn in The First Post: "Torture: it’s the American way" and how there's "not much evidence that Americans are aghast at these disclosures".

Alternet has an interesting account of how Ecuador will evict the US from its Manta air base when the lease expires in November 2009. The article claims that Ecuador could offer the airbase to China. It also claims that while the "purported purpose of the FOL (Forward Operating Location) was to help interdict drug shipments from neighboring Colombia", in reality "it is being used by Colombian pilots and as a center of anti-guerilla intelligence as a part of Plan Colombia, and for the targeting of alleged terrorist groups".

An earlier version of the article can be found here.

Finally some news from gold expert, and who has written for Accountancy and the International Currency Review, Julian D. W. Phillips on how the world is abandoning the US Dollar as the international currency for trade. The conclusion?

"We are moving to the end of the U.S. $'s 62-year reign as the world's main international currency for trade, financial transactions and central-bank reserves? Unless something is done to give real value to the $, we believe that the process has to accelerate, rupturing the global monetary system, only to bring back Protectionism in the large trading blocs, exacerbating political and economic instability. We see this rising wave of concern moving forward to a major crisis. Any calming of the situation will cause a short-term strengthening of the $ to be followed by steeper declines."

14 December 2007

The assassination of Brigadier François Al-Hajj

In an article, which otherwise highlighted Bush's double standards - he doesn't seem to understand that he too is meddling in Lebanese politics - "Bush warns Syria not to interfere in Lebanese politics", Reuters speculate who was behind the attack:

"On the other hand, maybe it was forces unwilling to see the army led by an officer seen as friendly to Hezbollah and close to a Christian opposition leader. "

And what forces could that possibly be?

Bush, trying to put us off the scent, said: "Like the many victims before him, General al-Hajj was a supporter of Lebanon's independence and an opponent of Syria's interference in Lebanon's internal affairs", pointing the finger at Syria.

Given that General al-Hajj was a supporter of Lebanon's independence perhaps he was also an opponent of US interference in Lebanon's internal affairs? General Hajj is the man who led the Lebanese army's attack on Fatah-al-Islam in the Nahr al-Bared Palestinian refugee camp and it is quite possible he uncovered evidence linking the CIA or Saudi Intelligence to the affair. The level of intelligence required to carry out such a bombing could also indicate a western backed perpetrator.

As the Globe and Mail put it "al-Hajj was thought to have good relations with Damascus". The Daily Star in Lebanon also pointed out that MP Michel Aoun, leader of the Reform and Change bloc and Hizbollah ally was "a personal friend of Hajj and his nominee to succeed Suleiman as army command". So why would Syria kill him?

But let's face it, who do you think knows more about what's happening in Lebanon? Who is more given to making wild statements without any proof, indeed, where the proof points in the opposite direction? George Bush - who would have difficulty pointing Lebanon out on a map of the world - or the ME press?

According to Al-Ahram "it was unclear that Al-Hajj was associated with either team (pro or anti-Syrians), and the army has never been considered a party in the power struggle. Most Lebanese praise the army as their only non- sectarian national institution. Analysts say Al-Hajj, 55, had good relations with Syria and links with Christian opposition leader Michel Aoun, commander of the army during the Civil War. But then, so would most generals of his generation. Like Suleiman, he was a Maronite Christian.
Al-Hajj would have been among two leading contenders to head the army had Suleiman been appointed president, as agreed by both sides."

Al-Ahram quotes Paul Salem, head of the Carnegie Endowment's Middle East Centre in Beirut:

"The most sensitive post subject to the bargaining is who will be the next head of the army, and he was the most prominent candidate,"

Salem says this does not necessarily indicate that an internal faction might be responsible. "The position of the head of the army is of great concern to the big players in Lebanon, Syria, Iran, the US and Saudi Arabia. Each wants to push the army in a certain direction -- the US wants it to be an army that works with them and the Syrians want it to work under them," he said. Note the elephant in the room. No mention here of one of the principal suspects: Israel. But anyway, they must all be suspects, not just Syria and Iran.

In the same article, Omar Nashabe, a criminology expert and justice editor for the pro-opposition daily Al-Akhbar, pointed out the plausibility of Al Qaeda being behind the attacks: "Despite the army's siege of the Nahr Al-Bared Palestinian camp, outside the northern city of Tripoli, the group's leader managed to flee.
"Al-Hajj was head of operations and when they targeted Nahr Al-Bared they weren't able to capture the head of Fatah Al-Islam, Shaker Al-Abssi," Nashabe said. Salem agreed. "If the Fatah Al-Islam people are still around I imagine Al-Hajj would have been one of the targets," he said.
" However, we know from Seymour Hersh that the Bush administration arranged support for militants including Fatah-al-Islam, that the Saudis were financing Fatah-al-Islam through the Lebanese Hariri, and that many of Fatah-al-Islam's fighters were of Saudi origin.

Hizbollah has also accused the US of "waging a covert war" against them, The accusation followed "reports in the US and British media that the CIA has been authorised to take covert action against the militant Shia group, which receives substantial military backing from Iran, as part of wider strategy by the Bush administration to prevent the spread of Iranian influence in the region." Part of this covert war was an assassination attempt of Nasrullah by Al-Qaeda, according to the Jerusalem Post.

According to Al-Ahram, Nashabe posited another theory. "The martyr François Al-Hajj was in the south coordinating support for the Lebanese resistance [led by Hizbullah]. For that reason the Israelis have tried to kill him in the past," he said, citing military sources close to the late brigadier. He said that attempt had occurred in Rmeish, Al-Hajj's southern hometown. "Finally, he was also in the battlefield when the army was in direct confrontation with the Lebanese Forces in the past," Nashabe said.
The army, under Aoun, and Samir Geagea's right-wing Lebanese Forces fought a bitter "war of elimination" at the tail end of the 1975- 1990 Civil War. Rancour persists between the two Christian leaders. Geagea is now part of the 14 March movement
." The account of the Israelis trying to kill al-Hajj was also mentioned by SANA along with Syrian condemnation: "Israel bombed al-Hajj's car in southern Lebanon in 1976 after he refused to cooperate with Israel and the Israeli-backed Lahd militias and threatened him in July 2006 during its aggression against Lebanon. " Iran condemned the assassination and Foreign Ministry Spokesman, Mohammad Ali Hosseini also stressed that the "enemies of Lebanon, in particular the Zionist regime, enjoy maximum benefit from insecurity in Lebanon."

The question that must be asked is, what exactly is the Minister of the Interior of Lebanon up to and who is he aligned with?

Al-Ahram: "there are no official suspects yet in any of the assassinations that started with former prime minister Rafik Al-Hariri"

How many have there been? This was the ninth fatality. And Lebanese investigators have no clues on any of the murders? Come on now. Since the resignation of Hassan Al Sabaa, "a Sunni Muslim retired officer loyal to the country's anti-Syrian majority coalition", Sport and Youth Minister Ahmad Fattfat was named acting interior minister. Ahmad Fattfat is Sunni and also profoundly pro-American and anti-Syrian, consequently the slightest proof of Syria being behind these assassinations would be spouted all over the world, and reported to the UN Hariri investigation. It wouldn't be the first time. Conversely, if there was the slightest indication of his allies being involved, do you really think he would say anything? I don't.

11 December 2007

Reply to David Aaronovitch "How to be a mad dictator"

Pure sophistry from arch neo-con and Bush supporter Aaronovitch, - he is an expert at it, passing off false claims in order to deceive.

DA uses the word 'populist' as an insult, and to him it is, as he represents the elites who believe themselves superior to us 'ordinary people', and who Chavez only 'claims' to represent, according to Aaronovitch. The problem with politics and the media today, is that they concentrate on words and ignore actions. Chavez actions actually show that he does represent ordinary people, unlike DA's heroes: the war criminals Bush and Blair, who are true populists claming to represent the people while actually representing big business, That is exactly what this is all about. That's why Chavez is constantly demonised by the likes of DA, and his little friend Oliver Kamm, who are big business' paid rottweilers, there to savage the opposition with insults and false arguments which ironically describe themselves very accurately.You, sir, are a charlatan.

04 December 2007

Reply to Oliver Kamm, "A dangerous fantasy"

The only duplicity on view is Oliver Kamm's pompous rhetoric, full of innuendo, double standards, distortions, half-truths and plain lies. The dangerous fantasy lies in Kamm's own mind, and that of his heroes Bush, Blair and 'Bonkers' Bolton, as their hypotheses rely on false premises.
Further, quoting a proven liar such as Blair at the start of one's case, just doesn't quite do anything for one's own credibility, of which Kamm has none anyway.
Kamm conveniently forgets to mention that the NPT applies not only to Iran but to the UK as well. Shhh. Don't mention Trident anyone...and forget about US research into new nuclear bunker busters which are completely against the NPT. Don't you know international treaties don't apply to us, only those in our sights. Oh and most importantly of all, don't mention the Israeli, Pakistani or Indian weapons programmes.
Kamm conveniently forgets that there is no proof that Iran has or ever has had a nuclear weapons programme, and no amount of face-saving from the US Intelligence community's (that must be an oxymoron!) latest NIE can alter that fact. For that's what the NIE is, a face-saver, as they know that Iran has provided answers to all the questions asked by the IAEA, which will now achnowledge that there never was a weapons programme. The NIE presents NO facts to back up their assertion that Iran did indeed have a nuclear weapons programme prior to 2003. None. Zero. Hot air just like Kamm.
"Hizbullah continues to destabilise Lebanese democracy and defy UN security council demands to disarm."Do we really need to remind Kamm exactly what democracy is? He seems to think that a majority has no rights and can undermine its own democracy? What verbal nonsense. Perhaps someone should tell little Oliver, that the Shia are the majority in Lebanon not a minority, without a complete voice yet, and in fact it is the US, Israel, UK, France and Saudi Arabia that are guilty of destabilising Lebanese democracy for their OWN interests not those of the Lebanese. Remember it was the Saudis, in cohorts with the US and aided by Hariri who provided money and arms to Sunni terrorist groups allied to Al Qaeda in the Lebanon, as a counterweight to Hezbollah.
"On its own admission, it has received large amounts of weaponry from Iran via Syria." So what? Israel receives much,much more from the US.
"The death-squad despotism of Bashar al-Assad - a statesman discernibly less intellectually able than George Bush - is engaged in a murder campaign against non-compliant politicians in Lebanon."Once more the insidious Kamm makes value judgements based on what facts? None. Its his opinion, but there are no facts to back it up."Less intellectually able". How on earth does Kamm measure that? "Death-squad despotism"? Perhaps we should remind Kamm of proven death squads, trained by the US: Argentina, Chile, Guatemala, Colombia, El Salvador, Nicaragua, South Korea, Iran, Chile and Uruguay, Cuba, Colombia, Haiti, Vietnam, the list is endless. Also we should not forget Israel also has deaths quads. Where is Kamm's outrage about those?
"Iran's complaints of discriminatory treatment and a denial of its rights under the non-proliferation treaty (NPT) are only slightly less risible than President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's assertion that Iran has no homosexuals."Why? We are not told.
"But it is clear from this month's report by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) that Iran remains selective in its cooperation with UN requirements."What about Kamm's own selective referral to the NPT? Did he miss this passage "The Agency has been able to verify the non-diversion of declared nuclear material in Iran"?
Kamm is also a professional at turning logic on its head: "The likeliest way to increase tension and exacerbate Iran's obstructionism is to act as if the regime has done nothing wrong" and "Avoiding military action requires that the UN pressure Iran to abide by its international obligations as a signatory of the NPT."
Remember, no one, no one has provided any proof of a weapons programme, consequently there is no proof Iran is not abiding by "its international obligations as a signatory of the NPT" which gives it the "the inalienable right of all the Parties to the Treaty to develop research, production and use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes without discrimination". Note the phrase "without discrimination". Yet discrimination is precisely what Kamm is applying here. And if there is no proof of any wrongdoing then why should we not act "as if the regime has done nothing wrong"?

02 December 2007

John Bolton, the hawkish former US ambassador to the UN, says Tehran’s nuclear threat is growing and it will have to be halted by force

Richard Woods' fawning, obeisant report about a criminal who shares responsibility for one of the greatest crimes of our times - the illegal war of aggression on Iraq - and for the deaths of of over a million civilians shows how this country has degenerated into a moral sewer. Bolton's claim to fame? He was US Ambassador to the UN for under a year and a half, having been a 'Recess Appointment' and who was never even ratified by the US Senate.

'Bonkers' Bolton should share the same fate as von Ribbentrop, not be fêted in the pages of the Times!

What's with the British establishment media giving so much time to this madman? It seems he also has a full-time contract with the neo-cons at BBC Newsnight and now this? Even worse, what's with British journalists acting as stenographers for criminals and their outrageous chutzpah with calls to commit yet more crimes?

Is there no decency left in this country or has everyone sold their souls to the devil and his earthly advocates?

Other news: E-mail sent to Laura Bush (comments@whitehouse.gov), 17-nov-2007 13:26.

Attn: First Lady, Mrs.Laura Bush

Dear Mrs. Bush,

While commending you for your recent trip to the ME to prompt awareness of breast cancer in the region, I would like to ask you, as a renowned campaigner on behalf of the oppressed women of Islam, if you will be taking any action, such as speaking to your Saudi friend His Majesty King Abdullah Bin Abd al-Aziz Al Saud, to help the "Girl from Qatif", a 19-year-old woman who was gang-raped – and has now been sentenced by a Saudi court to six months in jail – and 200 lashes – for the "crime" of being in the car of a man who was not her relative?
Direct intervention by yourself could save this girl from receiving 200 lashes. According to the IHT the decision "was a shocking move". They also report that Saudi judges are "appointed by the king", and have a "wide discretion in handing down sentences, often said to depend on their whim." (1) Consequently, some pressure brought to bear by yourself or your husband could have immediate impact.

I urge you to consider some form of direct action.

Yours Sincerely,

Has she done anything? Of course not.
UPDATE 18 December 2007.

Saudi king pardons woman who was gang raped

The title would be extremely strange if we had no contaxt wouldn't it? Could my letter to Laura Bush have had anything to do with the pardon. I hope so...

15 November 2007

Reply to Jonathan Freedland

Jonathan Freedland shows his own deep prejudices when he states: "artfully keeping each option - carrots, sticks and sharper sticks - in play."

Is Iran a donkey? Of course not, it is a civilised nation, in fact their civilisation is older than ours...the constant treatment of sovereign nations as donkeys that have to be prodded with a stick or rewarded with a carrot is deeply insulting, prejudiced and possibly even racist.

Freedland also plays dumb when he wants to: "why, if civil nuclear power is all the Iranians want, they don't simply import enriched uranium from abroad."

Well as Freedland, well knows, Iran sits on top of not only natural gas and oil but also natural uranium and mines it, why should they not enrich their own - it is after all described as an an "inalienable right" in the NPT? Why should they have to buy from privatised western corporations?

How does Freedland know what people in power are thinking? Or does he just take their statements at face value without comparing them to actual deeds instead...otherwise what are we to make of this: "These signals, and several others, have persuaded governments - and not only those in Washington and Jerusalem - that, even if there is not definitive, fizzing-fuse proof of an Iranian bomb, this is the direction in which the Iranians are heading".

These rhetorical acrobatics are becoming more and more transparent for their falseness; "It is this record of evasion, "of lying and cheating to the International Atomic Energy Agency", according to Charles Grant of the Centre for European Reform, that has persuaded many otherwise doveish European governments that Tehran is up to something."

This twisting of meanings has now been rebutted by CASMII in their letter published in todays Guardian:
"Rather than being a theory dreamt up by bloggers, the absence of evidence of a nuclear weapons programme in Iran is a fact (Jonathan Freedland, November 14). The IAEA, the only international body qualified to monitor Iran's nuclear plans, has repeatedly said there's no proof whatsoever that Iran's uranium enrichment is for anything other than its civilian nuclear programme. While Iran's earlier concealment of its nuclear programme might give cause for suspicion, this took place against a backdrop of a US trade embargo aimed at preventing civilian nuclear technology from reaching Iran.Stefan SimanowitzCampaign Against Sanctions and Military Intervention Against Iran"

Other rubbish from Freedland - the existential threat to Isreal. This is of course complete rubbish and has been discredited by the Guardians own Jonathan Steele. Doesn't Freedland read his own colleagues? Or did he just 'forget' it?

Iran would never launch an unprovoked attack on Israel, it would defeat any object - they would be immediatey wiped off the map themselves by both Israel and the US, they would also wipe Palestine off the map, and kill millions of fellow Muslims in the surrounding countries. What has happened to common sense with media commentarists these days? Do they willfully play the 3 monkeys (see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil) when it suits them? No, the wiped off the map accusation has been well and truly discredited by Farsi scholars, ah so we better find another reason - oh sure - why not 'proliferation', that's always a good one.

Well a better start would be for the 5 'official' nuclear powers (also - what a coincidence! - the veto wielding members of the Security Council) to comply with their own oblgations under the NPT. Yet, what about the the Pakistani and Indian nuclear programmes? These have been virtually sanctioned by the international community and they're not even signatories to the NPT. What amazing double standards.

Curious isn't it that in all his analysis of the sticks, Freedland forgets the elephant in the room.: Israel. No mention of any possible attack by Israel. I wonder why considering all the threats coming from that militarised occupier of others, who recently launched a war of aggression on Lebanon, and left over a million 'presents' in Lebanon in the last days of the war (cluster bombs)...and who have consistently used collective punishment against civilians.

Pathetic effort Freedland. And the biggest joke is that you get paid for this crap...

21 October 2007

Blair accuses Iran of fuelling 'deadly ideology' of militant Islam

What is this criminal doing as a Middle East 'peace envoy'? Along with George Bush, José María Aznar, former Spanish President, and Durão Barroso, former PM of Portugal now President of the EU, Tony Blair is co-author of the supreme crime, the war of aggression on Iraq, and as such is responsible for the deaths of over a million Iraqis, a genocide if ever there was one.

Now he's not pig ignorant (is he?), and considering his past modus operandi (MO) we must therefore assume that these utterances are pure spin in attributing this to Iran:

"Analogies especially with the rise of fascism can be misleading but, in pure chronology, I sometimes wonder if we're not in the 1920s, if not the 1930s, I fear ... This ideology now has a state - Iran that is prepared to back and finance terror in the pursuit of destabilising countries whose people wish to live in peace ... There is a tendency even now, even in some of our own circles, to believe that they are as they are because we have provoked them and if we left them alone they would leave us alone. I fear this is mistaken. They have no intention of leaving us alone...When terror opposes that which is right, we must commit to defeating it not with half a heart but whole-heartedly.".

As David Cox points out in the Guardian "Blair could have pointed out that a complex country like Iran with not much to gain from war has little in common with a heavily militarised fascist state intent on annexing the territory of its neighbours. He might have suggested that one of the few things capable of uniting Iran's disparate peoples behind militarism would be an attack by western forces...Western politicians who claim to understand Islamic theology better than the faith's own scholars seem likely only to encourage jihadist recruitment. Iran may well acquire nuclear weapons, as Pakistan, arguably a rather more dangerous place, has already done. The task of our politicians now is to work out how to live with these realities, not to whip up futile bellicosity."

Inayat Bunglawala, also in the Guardian, weighs in with a few facts, which unsurprisingly point away from Blair's hysterical rant:

"If any country can be said to be an ideological influence on al-Qaida, it would surely be the Saudi kingdom, not Iran. Bin Laden is a Saudi and Saudi Arabia was home, you will recall, to 15 of the 19 hijackers on September 11. And by all accounts, al-Qaida still receives some support from individuals inside the Saudi kingdom, whereas Iran with its Shia government is despised vehemently by the avowedly anti-Shia al-Qaida. So why are Blair and his neo-con chums not gunning for the overthrow of the Saudi monarchy?"

"Saudi Arabia is, of course, a loyal client state of the United States, whereas Iran's main sin is that since its 1979 Islamic revolution, for all its many failures and inadequacies, it has been a far more independent nation than most in the Middle East and dares to follow a foreign policy agenda which does not exactly conform to the US vision of how the Middle East should be."

"If Blair really believes it is wrong to destabilise other countries, why did he not utter a word about the millions of dollars the United States unashamedly spends in trying to destabilise the Iranian government? If Blair is so exercised by terrorism why did he - standing alone with Bush among world leaders - turn a blind eye to Israel's indiscriminate bombing and invasion of Lebanon last summer? Were the families of the hundreds of Lebanese killed by Israeli bombs not deserving of our sympathy and help every bit as much as those of the victims of 9/11? "

We also need to remember that Blair is personally implicated in the corruption case of British Aerospace and Saudi bribes...and that since May Swiss prosecutors have been investgating.

And lets not forget the export by the Saudis of their particular fundamentalist version of Islam, Wahhabism, to all corners of the world, especially Africa (including Morocco, Somalia,
Kenya, Tanzania, Nigeria, Senegal, Gambia, Niger, Mauritania and Chad) and even into the heart of Europe (Bosnia, Kosovo). Some even consider that Wahhabism contributed to the development of the religious ideology of Al-Qaeda.

Talking of Kosovo, according to Dusan Prorokovic, spokesman of the DSS party of Premier Vojislav Kostunica in Serbia "NATO is pushing for an independent Kosovo chiefly so as to set up a "logistics base" for military operations."

On other fronts, Justin Raimondo's blog offers a word of advice: Follow the money, regarding the fact that "The military-industrial complex is clearly betting on the Democrats, who, for the first time, are beating out the GOP in raising money from the war profiteers. What’s more, they’ve clearly settled on Hillary as their horse in this race"

The NYT has a decent article on Guantanamo whistle-blower Lt. Cmdr. Matthew Diaz, now languishing in prison in Charleston having been sentenced to six months’ imprisonment and dismissal from the military for posting a list of Guantanamo inmates to Barbara Olshansky at the "New York offices of the Center for Constitutional Rights, a left-wing legal-advocacy group that counted itself among the most zealous opponents of the administration’s Guantanamo policy"

More tales in today's Observer about the nazi-style behaviour of the Israeli occupation forces in Palestine, includes testimony like this: "'The most important thing is that it removes the burden of the law from you. You feel that you are the law. You are the law. You are the one who decides... As though from the moment you leave the place that is called Eretz Yisrael [the Land of Israel] and go through the Erez checkpoint into the Gaza Strip, you are the law. You are God.'"

"The soldiers described how the violence was encouraged by some commanders. One soldier recalled: 'After two months in Rafah, a [new] commanding officer arrived... So we do a first patrol with him. It's 6am, Rafah is under curfew, there isn't so much as a dog in the streets. Only a little boy of four playing in the sand. He is building a castle in his yard. He [the officer] suddenly starts running and we all run with him. He was from the combat engineers.
'He grabbed the boy. I am a degenerate if I am not telling you the truth. He broke his hand here at the wrist, broke his leg here. And started to stomp on his stomach, three times, and left. We are all there, jaws dropping, looking at him in shock...
'The next day I go out with him on another patrol, and the soldiers are already starting to do the same thing."

And then we have more on the Valerie Plame leak, which has turned out to be an important own goal as her job "was to keep nukes from Iran"! Or was it that people like Cheney want an ignorant CIA to blame for lack of intelligence once the US has attacked Iran?

More Murdoch propaganda on Iran that "SAS raiders enter Iran to kill gunrunners" with no mention whatsoever that these activities are not legal and could be interpreted as terrorism...but then who in the Murdock empire give a fuck?

20 October 2007

Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff: use of military force option "of the last resort,"

Yet more bare-faced lies and propaganda from Gates and Mullen, who appear eager to become war criminals like the rest of the administration.

"From a military standpoint, there is more than enough reserve to respond if that, in fact, is what the national leadership wanted to do, and so I don't think we're too stretched in that regard," Adm. Michael Mullen told reporters when asked if current operations had worn out U.S. forces.
Adm. Mullen said he has been concerned over the past year and a half with Iranian leaders' statements of intentions, Tehran's support for bombers in Iraq and Iran's covert drive for nuclear weapons."
"Defense and military officials have been preparing U.S. forces within striking distance of Iran. The forces would be dominated by Navy and Air Force weapons and forces since Army and Marine Corps forces are focused on Iraq and Afghanistan.
There are two main targets of any Iranian military action, according to the officials. First, U.S. forces are set to attack Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps facilities because of the paramilitary's support and provision of armor-piercing roadside bombs.
A U.S. official said the location of a factory where Iranian bomb materials are being produced has been identified. A second target would be Iranian nuclear facilities, which are in numerous underground facilities across the country. "
"The use of military force would be an option "of the last resort," Adm. Mullen said"

Ah that old canard once again?

Remember this? "War is a last resort." - Scott McClellan, Nov. 12, 2002, White House press briefing

Or this? "The military option is my last choice, not my first. It's my last choice. But Saddam has got to understand, the United Nations must know, that the will of this country is strong."
George W. Bush, President, October 3, 2002 Remarks by the President to Hispanic Leaders

And this? "The use of our military is my last choice, not my first. I take my responsibilities very seriously as the Commander in Chief. The use of force is not my first choice, it's my last. But my first choice, as well, is not to allow the world's worst leader to blackmail, to harm America with the world's worst weapons."
George W. Bush, President, October 5, 2002 Remarks by the President at John Sununu for Senate Reception

And there's more: "as the president said the other night, we are trying to see war as a last resort." Colin Powell, Secretary of State October 9, 2002CNN/ Larry King

"The use of the military is my last choice, is my last desire." George W. Bush, President, October 14, 2002 Remarks by the President Upon Departure for Michigan

"Military option is my last choice. It's not my -- it's the last thing I want to do, is commit our military." George W. Bush, President, October 14, 2002 Remarks by the President at Thaddeus McCotter for Congress Dinner

Yet as the Downing Street Memo informed us on July 23, 2002:

“Military action was now seen as inevitable. Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD.”
“No decisions had been taken, but he thought the most likely timing in US minds for military action to begin was January, with the timeline beginning 30 days before the US Congressional elections.”
“But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy”
“Bush had made up his mind to take military action, even if the timing was not yet decided. But the case was thin. Saddam was not threatening his neighbours, and his WMD capability was less than that of Libya, North Korea or Iran.”

14 October 2007

Misleading BBC Q&A: Iran and the nuclear issue

This is the text of an official complaint made to the BBC Complaints dept.

There are several instances of misleading information in this piece:

Misleading statement 1. "Iran says that it is entitled to enrich uranium".

As you actually point out further down in the article "Under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), a country has the right to enrich its own fuel for civil nuclear power, under IAEA inspection."

Consequently this should read 'Iran IS entitled to enrich uranium according to the NPT''. The word 'says' could imply a claim without substance.

Misleading statement 2. "However, Iran has not implemented a more intrusive Additional Protocol it signed in 2003, so the IAEA says it cannot verify the absence of undeclared nuclear material."

You do not point out that

a) this Additional Protocol (AP) is a voluntary measure

b) although Iran signed the AP, it was never ratified by the Iranian Parliament

c) your statement "the IAEA says it cannot verify the absence of undeclared nuclear material" is not accurate. The latest IAEA report states categorically that it is "able to verify the non-diversion of declared nuclear material in Iran" while "unable to verify certain aspects relevant to the scope and nature of Iran’s nuclearprogramme" which is not the same as your statement. With regard to "the absence of undeclared nuclear material" this is referred to but in terms:of confidence-building meaures such as the AP:
"24. Once Iran’s past nuclear programme has been clarified, Iran would need to continue to buildconfidence about the scope and nature of its present and future nuclear programme. Confidence in the exclusively peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear programme requires that the Agency be able to provide assurances not only regarding declared nuclear material, but, equally important, regarding the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities in Iran, through the implementation of the Additional Protocol." IAEA Board Report, 30 August 2007

d) the AP was implemented without being ratified (as noted in the Tehran Agreed Statement of 21 October 2003) but later suspended as a result of what Iran called ""illegal and unlawful" US attempts to use the IAEA and the UN Security Council to effectively circumvent the NPT. Indeed the Iranian Parliament bill bound the government "to suspend its voluntary implementation of the Additional Protocol to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) until Tehran succeeds in obtaining recognition of its right to complete the nuclear fuel cycle."

How can people be expected to understand the complexities if you leave out valuable information?

UPDATE 19 OTCOBER 2007 19.45 hrs:

I have not yet received a reply to the above complaint, but have just made another on the same subject:

Official complaint sent 15 mins ago:

I would like to complain about a statement in your online article "Iran's nuclear negotiator resigns".

In the unattributed article, the BBC states: "Iran says it has the right under the international Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty to develop nuclear power."

As you actually point out in the online analysis: "Q&A: Iran and the nuclear issue"

"Under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), a country has the right to enrich its own fuel for civil nuclear power, under IAEA inspection."

The word 'says' could imply a claim without substance, whereas according to the terms of the NPT what Iran "says" coincides exactly with what the NPT states:

"Article IV
1. Nothing in this Treaty shall be interpreted as affecting the inalienable right of all the Parties to the Treaty to develop research, production and use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes without discrimination and in conformity with Articles I and II of this Treaty."

Consequently this should read 'Iran IS entitled to enrich uranium for peaceful purposes according to the NPT''.

Yours Sincerely,

09 October 2007

Scott Ritter: The Big Lie: ‘Iran Is a Threat’

Its important to remember just who Scott Ritter is:

"Scott Ritter was a Marine Corps intelligence officer from 1984 to 1991 and a United Nations weapons inspector in Iraq from 1991 to 1998."

He knows what he's talking about unlike others. Anyway, well worth the read.

Anf if you have the time its worth remembering Four Myths Government and Media Use to Scare Us About 'Dictators'.

Other scary stories include the loss of billions of dollars by the big investment firms and banks. Merrill Lynch Warns of Loss on $5 Billion Writedown while "Citigroup said its quarterly earnings would fall 60 percent, as it planned to write down more than $3 billion in securities backed by underperforming mortgages and loans tied to corporate bonds. "
At the same time another "Two Banks Face $3 Billion In Mortgage Losses". JPMorgan Chase and Bank of America are expected to disclose losses of about $3 billion in mortgage securities and leveraged loans when they report earnings this month, the Financial Times reported, citing an analyst. Interesting to note isn't it that just 5 years ago, as we can read in this FT report the figures were even worse: "Citigroup, a top lender and long-time adviser to WorldCom, lost more than $11bn in market value. Bank of America and JP Morgan Chase, leaders of loan syndicates for WorldCom, lost $3.9bn and $2.8bn in their market values, respectively." That time fraud was behind the losses: "The attorney general's office said on Wednesday it had taken notice that Mr Grubman downgraded WorldCom just a day before the company revealed a $3.8bn accounting fraud."

Anyway its still bad enough, $11 billion gone. Poof! Just lke that! Where did it go to? Things just don't disappear...

Also worth reading is Neil Mackay's account of "what Britain will look like 10 years from now: a world in which Fortress Britain uses fleets of tiny spy-planes to watch its citizens, of Minority Report-style pre-emptive justice, of an underclass trapped in sink-estate ghettos under constant state surveillance, of worker drones forced to take on the lifestyle and values of the mega-corporation they work for, and of the super-rich hiding out in gated communities constantly monitored by cameras and private security guards."

Also check out "Inside France's secret war": "For 40 years, the French government has been fighting a secret war in Africa, hidden not only from its people, but from the world. It has led the French to slaughter democrats, install dictator after dictator – and to fund and fuel the most vicious genocide since the Nazis. Today, this war is so violent that thousands are fleeing across the border from the Central African Republic into Darfur – seeking sanctuary in the world's most notorious killing fields "

06 October 2007

E-mail to NYT' Simon Romero

This is an e-mail sent today to Simon Romero, NYT regarding his article "Colombian Leader Disputes Claim of Tie to Cocaine Kingpin".

Dear Simon,

I read with great interest your excellent but incomplete misive "Colombian Leader Disputes Claim of Tie to Cocaine Kingpin" in the NYT.

I say incomplete because you state "Mr. Uribe, the Bush administration’s closest ally in South America, has been dogged by claims of his links to Mr. Escobar since his political star began to rise in the 1990s, claims that became pronounced during his presidential campaign in 2002" and you then go on to mention only a DIA report from 1991. You stop there.

I'm interested to know why you didn't mention the rest of the evidence against Uribe?

1. His father, Alberto Uribe Vélez, was himself subject to an extradition warrant to face charges of drug trafficking in the US.

2. Uribe Jr grew up with the children of Fabio Ochoa, a key player at the time in the Medellín cocaine cartel.

3. After being elected Mayor of Medellín, the second city of Colombia, at the age of 26, he was removed from office after only three months by a central government embarrassed by his public ties to the drug Mafia.

4. He was made Director of Civil Aviation, where he issued pilots’ licences to Pablo Escobar’s fleet of light aircraft flying cocaine to Florida.

5. In April 2002, Noticias Uno, a current affairs programme on the TV station Canal Uno, examined alleged links between Uribe and the Medellín cocaine cartel. After the reports were aired, unidentified men threatened to kill the show’s producer, Ignacio Gómez.

6. Noticias Uno told the story of how in 1997 the US Drugs Enforcement Agency (DEA) seized 50,000 kilos of potassium permanganate from a ship docked in San Francisco. Permanganate is a chemical used in the production of cocaine. The cargo was bound for a company headed by Pedro Juan Moreno Villa, President Uribe’s campaign manager, and was sufficient to produce cocaine with a street value of $15 billion. Morena Villa’s company was Colombia’s biggest importer of potassium permanganate between 1994 and 1998. When Uribe was Governor of Antioquia, Moreno Villa was his chief of staff and Medellín was the world’s cocaine capital. (I presume you are also aware of the mysterious death since of Pedro Juan Moreno Villa, who was killed last year, Feb 2006)

Now, if you cry ignorance of these facts, then why not investigate them yourself? If your country is granting enormous sums of money to a Colombian administration that is in cahoots not only with narco-terrorists AUC but also the cocaine drug cartels, don't you think your readers deserve to know the whole truth? However, I find it difficult to believe that you know nothing of what I have commented in this e-mail.

I would be interested to receive your comments if you can spare the time.

Best wishes


Tom Feiling of Justice for Colombia: Álvaro Uribe Vélez Links to cocaine cartels?

Al Giordano of Narco News: Uribe's Rise from Medellín: Precursor to a Narco-State
His Campaign Manager, the DEA, and the Case of the 50,000 Kilos

DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE Drug Enforcement Administration: January 17, 1998 Shipment of 10,000 Kilograms of Potassium Permanganate, December 16, 1997 Shipment of 20,000 Kilograms of Potassium Permanganate and November 17, 1997 Shipment of 20,000 Kilograms of Potassium Permanganate; Suspension of Shipments

The New Colombia News Agency (ANNCOL) 11.04.2006 Que todo parezca un accidente

03 October 2007

New revelations in attack on USS Liberty

Finally, the US MSM have decided to make an issue of the USS Liberty. The Chicago Tribune and Baltimore Sun both publish a special report on the unprovoked Israeli attack.

I say finally because, back in June 2007 in the UK, the BBC attempted to do a hatchet job on the allegations by giving the story to who appears to be their very own in-house 'sayanim': Raffi Berg.

Berg based a lot of his refutations on the testimony of "historian Michael B Oren, a senior fellow at the Shalem Center, a Jerusalem academic research institute". However what Berg failed to explain to BBC readers was that Oren himself is tainted. He also failed to explain anything about the Shalem Center...

Here's what James Bamford, author of Body of Secrets, which has a chapter dedicated to the USS Liberty, has to say about Oren:

"Oren, however, is a reserve officer and war veteran of the Israeli Defense Forces as well as a former advisor to the government of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin -- who was Army chief of staff at the time the Liberty was attacked. He now works for a small right wing, pro-Benjamin Netanyahu Israeli think tank in Jerusalem, the Shalem Center. It is run by its founder, Yoram Hazony, one of former Prime Minister Netanyahu's closest aides (he also ghost wrote a book by him). During the race for prime minister, the political party of Ehud Barak even accused the center of illegally funneling money to Netanyahu -- a charge denied by the center. The Israeli Education Ministry has called the center "a research institute whose leanings are extreme right-wing and even fascistic."
The principal mission of the center, where Mr. Oren is a senior fellow, is the cause of extreme Jewish nationalism -- Israel for the Jews -- i.e. apartheid. That is hardly surprising given that the center's intellectual guru, Yoram Hazony, is an admitted admirer of the late Rabbi Meir Kahane. He is the racist, fanatic founder of the violent Jewish Defense League in the U.S. and the rabid anti-Arab Kach movement in Israel, which is now outlawed there and listed as a terrorist group in the U.S. In 1984 Kahane was elected to the Israeli Knesset on a platform calling for the expulsion of Arabs from Israel.
Typical of the comments uttered by Hazony's demagogic idol: "I want the Israeli Arabs out of here because I don't want to kill them every week, as they multiply and demonstrate"; "They are germs that are poisoning us. They will not leave us be until they have raped all our women and murdered all our men"; and "I recognize the submachine gun's right to speak and the knife's right to speak."
Soon after hearing one of the rabbi's fiery, bigoted speeches, Hazony began quoting him in political debates. Eventually he wrote a fawning obituary about his slain hero in the Jerusalem Post. "We were mesmerized," he said. "We listened in astonishment, and finally in shame, when we began to realize that he was right." He then expressed "gratitude to someone who changed our lives, thrilled and entertained us, helped us grow up into strong, Jewish men and women. Many of us found other ways of doing what he asked." One of those ways was by opening his Shalem Center, where Oren, a close associate of Hazony, works, writes, and studies. So much for Oren's "independence.

Anyway, the Tribune/Sun's article is well worth the read...and if anyone has not yet seen it, well worth spending the time viewing the BBC documentary 'Dead in the Water'.

01 October 2007

"I hate all Iranians."

So says top Pentagon official Debra Cagan, according to the Daily Mail:

"Britsh MPs visiting the Pentagon to discuss America's stance on Iran and Iraq were shocked to be told by one of President Bush's senior women officials: "I hate all Iranians."
And she also accused Britain of "dismantling" the Anglo-US-led coalition in Iraq by pulling troops out of Basra too soon.
The all-party group of MPs say Debra Cagan, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Coalition Affairs to Defence Secretary Robert Gates, made the comments this month.
As usual a Pentagon spokesman tried to cover up the fact that DOD has yet another racist on its books: "She doesn't speak that way," said an official.
However, "when The Mail on Sunday spoke to four of the six MPs, three confirmed privately that she made the remark and one declined to comment. The other two could not be contacted."
There is obviously a truth problem in this Administration, they're all compulsive liars - hardly surprising really considering they're also murderous criminals with the blood of over a million Iraqis on their hands.
More on Cagan: This woman definitely gets around. From State to Defense. Some of the positions she's held in the past:
1996 Senior Coordinator for Nuclear and Nonproliferation Policy, Bureau of European and Canadian Affairs, Department of State, United States
1998 Director of Policy and Regional Affairs for Russia and the Independent States at the State Department
2001 office director in the State Department’s Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs (where she was known to “play above her pay grade.”)
2005 Political Advisor to Supreme Allied Commander Transformation

Talking of pay grades, she's obviously earning good money. Last year she bought a house in the Washington area at 21ST ST. S., 1110 Arlington for $1.16 million. Not bad for a civil servant...
NB. The photo shown above that appeared in the Daily Mail article was actually taken by the Daily Mail from the website of the Embassy of Hungary in Washington DC, and what some commentators have called a "martial cross", is in fact the Commander's Cross Order of Merit that was awarded to Ms. Cagan by the Hungarians. I'm no fan, but fair's fair.

10 September 2007

Karma Chameleon: The Pimpernelian Shape-Shifting of Osama bin Laden

I'm with Chris Floyd on this one.

There's no way that's bin Laden. Someone's trying to tell me not to believe my own eyes. Apart from the physical difference, which is obvious, there is another oddity:

"When analyzing the transcript, however, it was noted that the date of transcription is yesterday, 6 September 2007, one full day before the video was allegedly obtained. The date is prominently displayed in the lower left hand corner of the document in a traditional U.S. format (MM/DD/YY). Usually, an official government document will use the DD/MM/YYYY format.
Additionally, the transcript begins with the number "2" on the bottom center of the document, which was apparently scanned as a picture file and formatted into PDF. Although this is not unusual, we note that the cover page appears to be missing based on the page numeration.

Juan Cole acknowledges the doubts but sends his readers up what I feel to be a dead end, as it doesn't even question the authenticity of the person in the video.

Surprisingly, the Daly Telegraph had a report that stated:

"What surprised analysts was his use of the language of Left-wing protesters, which showed detailed knowledge of the economic travails of middle America.
Bin Laden referred to "the reeling of many of you under the burden of interest-related debts, insane taxes and real estate mortgage" and blamed "global warming and its woes" on "emissions of the factories the major corporations".
A former senior US intelligence official said: "It has Adam Gadahn written all over it.

This would tend to support the view that Al Qaeda has been infiltrated by US intelligence...or at very least is a useful tool to be manipulated when necessary (see Nafeez Mosaddeq Ahmed's The War On Truth: 9/11, Disinformation And The Anatomy Of Terrorism ).

Anyway here's Chris Floyd:

You've probably already heard this, but as Winter Patriot reminds us, it seems that some guy in a fake beard claiming to be Osama bin Laden appeared the other day on a videotape obtained in what the Washington Post called "unusual circumstances" by an obscure outfit of D.C.-based jihad-peepers who compile lurid clips of Muslims gone wild. (WP has more here.) This obscure Beltway outfit turned the tape over to anonymous "U.S. intelligence officials" who anonymously told the Post that the tape sure 'nuff looks authentic.

True, the guy in the video has a bulbous honker that little resembles the svelte-bridged schnozz that bin Laden sported for many decades -- right up until the day in 2002 when a suddenly portly, suddenly round-nosed figure calling himself bin Laden popped up on a video claiming credit for the the 9/11 attacks for the first time. (As WP continually points out, the FBI still holds that there is "no hard evidence connnecting bin Laden to 9/11.") And yes, the new rambling rant of the round-nosed guy in a fake beard does seem remarkably tailored to feed talking points to the right-wing media and discredit opposition to George W. Bush's escalation of the war in Iraq. And sure, it is intriguing to note that unlike the old days, when "bin Laden" tapes were kept under heavy wraps by the government, lest they contain secret messages to "sleeper cells" in the Heartland, the entirety of this tape (just like the one conveniently issued before the 2004 election) has been unceasingly flogged by "unnamed Administration officials" and their simpering Osrics in the war-porn media, especially the references to Noam Chomsky -- always a nice, juicy slab of red meat to throw to the right-wing faithful, though hardly a name to conjure with to the general American public: the ostensible target of this ostensible message.) Even the Dear Leader himself -- who used to tell us he didn't give bin Laden a second thought -- was quick to jump on the new video with all the passionate avidity of....well, just about any Republican office-holder in proximity to forbidden sexual fruit.

Yet despite all of these elements conveniently converging to serve the partisan political interests of the White House, we are are told by unnamed "U.S. intelligence officials" that the video is genuine. And to be sure, these unnamed "U.S. intelligence officials" are all honorable men: faithful, credible, to be trusted implicitly.

So I suppose we simply must accept the fact that this bulbous-nosed, black-bearded figure really is the guy who the FBI says has no proven connection to 9/11, and thus be really, really scared that he's still out there, plotting terror on the Homeland, directing the Iraqi insurgency, managing the Democratic Party (well, somebody has to!), and having a high old time chewing the fat with his nice Jewish friend Noam Chomsky.

After all, to think otherwise, you would have to believe that the President of the United States and his officials were capable of deliberate deception, manufactured intelligence and base propaganda in pursuing their factional agenda. And we are certainly too serious here for that kind of pure moonbattery.

29 August 2007

Wrong-footed at every turn -Dilip Hiro

Excellent analysis by Hiro. Just a pity he didn't get into more detail about how the demand by the UNSC for Iran "to cease its enrichment of uranium" was in fact illegal, contradicting a lawful treaty, the NPT, that allows its signatories "the inalienable right...to develop research, production and use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes without discrimination"

orwellwasright is spot on the money:
"Couldn't have that interfering with the Bush's traditionally belligerent stance now, could we? Not when the war profiteers are on a role!"

The truth of the blind robbery in Iraq by 'contractors' is vividly described in the excellent article in Rolling Stone:

The Great Iraq Swindle
How Bush Allowed an Army of For-Profit Contractors to Invade the U.S. Treasury

Michael Ledeen, Freedom Scholar or Dunce and Propagandist?

Its laughable that the AEI call Ledeen a ’scholar’. I mean he can’t even get elementary facts straight.

In an excerpt of his new book featured on the website of the Jewish Policy Center, and commented on by Jim Lobe in his blog, Ledeen states:

Shortly after the revolution, in November 1979, Iranian-supported “pilgrims” on the Hajj in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, occupied the Grand Mosque, took several hundred hostages, and called for the overthrow of the ruling Saudi family.”

Of course this actually took place in July 1987, if we are to believe GlobalSecurity.org:

In July 1987, however, more than 400 people died as a result of a serious riot instigated by thousands of Iranian pilgrims. Khomeini called for the overthrow of the Saudi royal family to avenge the pilgrims’ deaths.”

In fact 402 people, mostly Iranian pilgrims, were killed and 649 wounded when security forces clashed with Iranians staging an anti- U.S. demonstration.

The November 20, 1979 incident had nothing to do with Iran.

Again according to GlobalSecurity.org:

at least 500 dissidents invaded and seized the Grand Mosque in Mecca on November 20, 1979. The leader of the dissidents, Juhaiman ibn Muhammad ibn Saif al Utaiba, a Sunni, was from one of the foremost families of Najd. His grandfather had ridden with Abd al Aziz in the early decades of the century, and other family members were among the foremost of the Ikhwan. Juhaiman said that his justification was that the Al Saud had lost its legitimacy through corruption, ostentation, and mindless imitation of the West–virtually an echo of his grandfather’s charge in 1921 against Abd al Aziz. Juhaiman’s accusations against the Saudi monarchy closely resembled Ayatollah Ruhollah Musaui, Khomeini’s diatribes against the shah.”

So the ’scholar’ manages to re-interpret the resemblance of Abd al Aziz Juhaiman’s accusations to the Ayatollah Khomeini’s diatribes against the shah as being proof that the “”pilgrms” were “Iranian-supported”.

It would be laughable if it wasn’t criminal.

04 August 2007

The Most Powerful Weapon in the World - Strategic Communication Laboratories and the war for your mind

I was doing some research on the internet, regarding some of the sources used by Nafeez Mosaddeq Ahmed in his book: "The War on Truth, 9/11, Disinformation, and the Anatomy of Terrorism", which I am reading at the moment, when I came across the article.

I was looking into Yossef Bodansky, and looked into his relationship with the International Strategic Studies Association (ISSA), where I noticed the name of the "Hon." Sir Geoffrey Pattie , a recipient of the ISSA award "Rewarding Those Who Contribute to Peace and Human Progress".

Pattie was appointed Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Defence (RAF) in May 1979. From January 1983 until September 1984 he was Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Defence Procurement and then served as Minister of State for Defence Procurement. He continued his public service as Minister of State for Industry until 1987. He was also vice-chairman of the Conservative Party in 1990.

I followed the Wikipedia link and noticed that Pattie is "chairman of Strategic Communication Laboratories, a strategic communications company based at St. James's Square, London". No link was given in the Wikepedia entry for Pattie but a quick search led me to their website.

SCL's home page  (link now broken) has this to say: "Strategic Communication Laboratories has pioneered a new methodology to enable governments and countries to manage their relationships with their key audience groups through more powerful communication. "

"The methodology is based on 16 years of academic research and development conducted at 42 universities around the globe. It uses scientific techniques from a variety of social sciences to make ‘communications with groups’ far more effective (and measurable). "

"SCL offers various solutions based on this methodology to help countries in specific governmental areas such as defence, foreign affairs, internal security, health, finance and tourism. "

"In a world where the perception is the reality, all countries need to have the capability to manage their own perceptual alignment – otherwise someone else will. "

But anyway better to brouse through the SCL website. It provides alarming reading, especially when one comes to the What can we do for you? section:

"Homeland Security The last 5 years have seen a flurry of Homeland Security scenarios enacted and re-enacted on the streets of our cities. What if there is a biological attack, or the detonation of multiple explosive devices? Many of these simulated scenarios are excellent planning exercises for the emergency services and security forces."

"However, a major flaw has emerged in many of the scenarios - the unmanageability of civilians. They do not behave as they are supposed to. When a virus hits a city, civilians do not line up for vaccination: they run for the hills. When terrorists are looking for a target, it is the predictability of civilian behaviour that makes the terrorists' job easier. What if there was a way to control civilian behaviour when it counts? Imagine the benefits of having civilians as cooperating partners. "

"Strategic Communication makes the people part of the solution, not part of the problem."

Or how about the section "What is an OpCentre " where we read these answers to their own question: "What can the OpCentre do? "

"Engender support within the national community for proposed military action "
"Develop national resilience and behavioural compliance for homeland security issues"

In the section entitled "What modules are in an OpCentre? ", we see that they have a "Media Management Unit" and a "Word-of Mouth Unit"

In the section "Typical Projects" we find the following: "Design and installation of a Strategic Communication Centre to improve a country's ability to conduct Public Diplomacy."

Public Diplomacy. They are masters at it, I mean just look at the sentence "The right message can stop a war", or in fact, start one...

Taking a closer look at some of the Key Management, we find Gavin McNicoll, Advisory Board, whose biography states: "Gavin has an M.A. in International relations and Philosophy from St Andrews University with honours in Intelligence, Terrorism, U.S. Foreign Policy and the Middle East. He is the founder of Eden Intelligence, a specialist provider of small scale, high impact conferences on counter-terrorism and security related issues and the responsible for the International Terrorism and Intelligence programme, now a landmark event in the counter-terrorism calendar, bringing together the leading counter-terrorist minds from around the world. In 2005 he founded a new programme of work International Terrorism and Finance to focus on financial intelligence cooperation issues on a G8 plus level. The meeting and agenda for ITF have been supported by assistance form the Home Office, Her Majesty’s Treasury, The Foreign & Commonwealth Office, The National Criminal Intelligence Service and The Metropolitan Police."

Taking a look at Eden Intelligence, we find the following: "Eden Intelligence organizes small scale, high impact gatherings on counter-terrorism and security related issues in a strictly closed environment that encourages debate and sharing of insights. Our goal is to facilitate dialogue amongst the security and counter-terrorism community's leading experts" and "The company specialises in its conferences being 'off-the-record' with top level speakers from both academic and professional organizations. These are not sales events but rather non-promotional opportunities for high quality, high level discussion and networking prospects for attendees and sponsors."

We also read that "All events are held under the strict or old version of the Chatham House Rule": "By the strict or old version of the Chatham House Rule., no publication, reporting or attribution, nor any public use may be made of the proceedings of the meeting - the meeting is closed. The highest priority is given by both the CSTPV and Eden Intelligence to ensuring the Rule is observed."

Eden Intelligence (EI) also do Energy Security Analysis, and at the The 3rd Energy Risk Management Seminar in 2005, Giulio Thuburn, Head of Eden Intelligence Energy Security Research, gave a lecture entitled "The Militarization of the Oil Industry: Assessing the Effect of Terrorism on the Oil Markets".

We find the following 'key interactions' (slide 6);

"1. Energy is the key priority. Protecting economic growth
and political stability
2. Governments strategy focused on security in the
energy corridors supplying it. "

But wait, that's not all. Getting back to Strategic Communication Laboratories, Steve Watson writes "The company has invested nearly $20 million into research at what they call the Behavioural Dynamics Institute (BDi), the world’s leading authority on persuasion, communication psychology and public diplomacy. Given that they are the "World's leaders" it is strange that they do not have a website."

Actually, they do Steve, but its not particularly informative. But what they do say is also chilling:

"The Behavioural Dynamics Institute is the leading international centre of excellence for research and development into persuasion and social influence...Today, the institute has an academic network which spans the globe. It is the only academic organisation in the world whose understanding of the psychology of persuasion has been successfully applied on a global scale"

What is BDi?

"The Behavioural Dynamics Institute is an academic institute that specialises in understanding influence and persuasion in order to change audiences’ attitudes and behaviour. The institute specialises in applying its methodology to military and political campaigns, where the audiences are hostile or friendly, national or international.

The BDi was formed in 1990 and has invested over £19m in developing scientific approaches for ‘influencing a target audience’. The unique methodology draws extensively from group and social psychology and incorporates semiotics,semantics and many elements of cultural anthropology.

The BDi harnesses the leading academics from universities around the world sothat the ‘persuasion and influence’ body of knowledge is constantly at the cutting edge. Using advanced research techniques, the BDi can accurately diagnose an audience from within (in theatre) or remotely, so that a clear understanding of the group dynamics can be ascertained.

The BDi then develops the most powerful psychological approach (using the data)to produce a programme of communication and ‘perceptions,’ which will be the most likely to engineer the desired result from the Target Audience. The attitude and behavioural changes are highly quantifiable and accountable, generating a real MOE (Measure of Effectiveness) report.

The Behavioural Dynamics Institute can tell you how ‘difficult’ an audience is likely to be, how best to influence the audience and then can actually produce the communications or triggers that will change the audience."

It also led me to this article on Slate: You Can't Handle the Truth, Psy-ops propaganda goes mainstream. By Sharon Weinberger

A few paragraphs give us the picture:

"Strategic Communication Laboratories, a small U.K. firm specializing in "influence operations" made a very public debut this week with a glitzy exhibit occupying prime real estate at Defense Systems Equipment International, or DSEi, the United Kingdom's largest showcase for military technology. The main attraction was a full-scale mock-up of its ops center, running simulations ranging from natural disasters to political coups."

Mark Broughton, SCL's public affairs director is quoted in the article:

"Yes, Broughton acknowledges, the ops center is not exactly giving the truth, but he adds, "Is it not worth giving an untruth for 48 hours to save x million people's lives? Sometimes the means to an end has to be recognized."

Who buys this stuff? Broughton declined to mention many specific clients, noting that disclosing SCL's involvement—particularly in countries with a free and open media—could make its campaigns less effective. However, he says that post-apartheid South Africa has employed SCL. So has the United Nations, he says.

The company's Web site is even vaguer, mentioning international organizations and foreign governments. A Google search produces only a handful of hits, mostly linked to the company's Web site. The company's work is based on something that even the spokesman admits you "won't find on the Web": the Behavioral Dynamics Institute, a virtual lab led by Professor Phil Taylor of Leeds University.

But the company, which is funded by private investors, is now taking on a higher profile, and visitors flocked to the flashy setup here at the show. "Basically, we're launching ourselves this week on the defense market and homeland security market at the same time," Broughton explained.

If SCL has its way, its vision of strategic communications—which involves complex psychological and scientific data—could be used to shape public response to tsunamis, epidemics, or even the next Hurricane Katrina.

Well aware that the company may face controversy, particularly with its push into the defense market, Broughton emphasizes the company's role in saving lives.

"It sounds altruistic," he said. "There is some altruism in it, but we also want to earn money.""

I don't know about you but I'm beginning to think Chomsky and Hermann's Propaganda Model needs a little updating...
Please note that since this article was published SCL has redesigned its website and much of what was there has now been removed. Some information is available here.

Update 30 September 2010

As over the last 3 years certain links have broken here are new ones where available:
Eden Intelligence have a new website.
BDi have a new website.

15 July 2007

Exchange with Robert Tait, Guardian

15 July 2007

Dear Robert Tait,

In Thursday's article 'Iran's Jews reject cash offer to move to Israel' you state: "Mr Ahmadinejad had earlier said that Israel should be "wiped off the map"."

Why do you choose to perpetuate this discredited lie? Discredited by your own colleague, Jonathan Steele in your own newspaper, The Guardian. Discredited by Prof. Juan Cole at the University of Michigan.

In short, this type of loose use of dubious translations by US corporate news agencies only serve, as your colleague Jonathan Steele stated, "to strengthen western hawks". Is that your intention? Are you in favour of a war of agression on Iran? Or was it pure laziness? Could you please provide some kind of explanation? At very least, why was no balancing statement from the Iranian authorities sought? If the subject had been the UK, the US or Israel I can guarantee you that there would have been some sort of balancing statement.

I attach the relevant links for your perusal, as you really need to do your homework before making these kinds of irresponsible statements. I am also copying this letter to the Guardian Reader's Editor, Jonathan Steele and Prof. Juan Cole.

Ordinary citizens are beginning to get a little fed up with the constant media demonisation of Iran and its leaders so reminiscent of Operation Mass Appeal.

Yours Sincerely


Lost in translation: Experts confirm that Iran's president did not call for Israel to be 'wiped off the map'. Reports that he did serve to strengthen western hawks.

Juan Cole: "As most of my readers know, Ahmadinejad did not use that phrase in Persian. He quoted an old saying of Ayatollah Khomeini calling for 'this occupation regime over Jerusalem" to "vanish from the page of time.' Calling for a regime to vanish is not the same as calling for people to be killed. Ahmadinejad has not to my knowledge called for anyone to be killed."

Bill Scher: The Importance of Cole v. Hitchens

"Wiped Off The Map" - The Rumor of the Century

Caught Red-Handed: Media Backtracks on Iran's 'Threat'

Iranian denials:

Ahmadinejad misunderstood, says Iran

Iran denies wanting to "wipe Israel off the map"

Iran: 'We Won't Use Force'

Iranian FM: It isn't possible to remove a country from the map

"if you are going to conclude that we have said the people there have to be removed or we they have to be massacred or so, this is fabricated, unfortunate selective approach to what the mentality and policy of Islamic Republic of Iran is. I have to correct, and I did so." Iran's representative to the IAEA, Ali Ashgar Soltanieh CNN, 02 April 2006

Reply from Tait dated 15 July 2007:

In fact the original translation was provided by AFP, which is a French organisation, not a corporate American news agency. Your email implies orattributes motivations on my part which are beneath contempt and which Iwill not dignify with a response.

However, in short I will saying the following: the commmonly accepted translation no more or less implies the mass killing of people than the words spoken in Farsi; Mr Ahmadinejad is not an evil man but if he is"demonised", it is not by the media, but by his own voracious appetite forintemperate statements; this is a sterile and meaningless debate on semantics perpetuated by people with too much time on their hands.

Mr Ahmadinejad's exact words in Farsi: "As the Imam (Khomeini) said, theZionist occupier should be erased from the pages of history.";This has been commonly translated as saying Israel should be wiped off themap. No suprise there. It's a distinction without a difference. You can argue that this can be achieved either through a political process or annihilation and that the president meant the former. But that is a different issue. (However, this argument is weakened by some of his other statements: Example, "the Zionist regime is a rotten tree that could bedestroyed in a single storm").

Moreover, attributing the words to Khomeini is being misrepresented to suggest that Mr Ahmadinejad personally disagreed with it - which is clearly not the case. Rather, he was endorsing them.

My wife is Iranian. She assures me there is no difference in sense or spirit between the literal Farsi words and the commonly-stated English translation. She - along with other Iranians I have talked to - is adamant that the translation is acceptable, accurate and fair. As evidence,President Ahmadinejad has never quibbled with it. Indeed he is proud of it.

In future stories straying onto this area, I am serously considering using the original form of words, followed by the commonly-used translation in order to pre-empt complaints such as yours, which I believe are spurious and as much loaded with value judgements and political motivations that you are so content to attribute to others. The aim here, I think, is to trigger some sort of diversionary debate suggesting Mr Ahmadinejad has been systematically misrepresented by the western media. He hasn't - at least not by the Guardian. He believes passionately that Israel should cease to exist, by whatever means, and that the holocaust did not happen. He has stated these positions unambiguously on numerous occasions and in many different forums. I make no comment on the moral or intellectual merits of these convictions. I simply state, with the confidence borne of having been based in Iran for the past two-and-a-half years, that this is what he believes.

Robert Tait

Further reply from Robert Tait dated 16 July 2007:

Maybe you should have read this before you got on your high horse. And don't go looking for a mis-translation. I have the government-provided transcript.

Ahmadinejad speech inflames tension By Angus McDowall in Tehran Published: 15 April 2006

Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad launched a new attack on Israel yesterday, calling it "a rotten, dried tree" that could be knocked over by"a single storm".

The inflammatory remarks, similar to those which provoked a barrage of international condemnation in October, are likely to increase tensions after Iran's announcement on Tuesday that it had enriched uranium indefiance of UN Security Council demands.

"Like it or not, the Zionist regime is heading towards annihilation," MrAhmadinejad told a Tehran conference on the Palestinian intifada, attended by Iran's Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, as well asrepresentatives from Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Hizbollah."The existence of the Zionist regime is tantamount to an imposition of an unending and unrestrained threat so that none of the nations and Islamic countries of the region and beyond can feel secure from its threat," headded.

Earlier in the day Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati, head of the clerical watchdog,Guardian Council, had told a Friday prayer meeting in Tehran that the US was "a decaying power" which Iran should not fear. Sermons are often usedby leading regime figures as a platform for public statements, often accompanied by calls of "death to America".

Ayatollah Jannati was responding to increased pressure from Washington on the country's nuclear programme. On Thursday, the US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice warned Iran would face "consequences" for defying a Security Council demand that it halt all enrichment activity.

"One thing the Security Council has, and the International Atomic Energy Agency does not have, is the ability to compel, through Chapter Seven resolutions, member states of the UN to obey the will of the international system," she said. Under Chapter Seven the UN can impose sanctions or even military action.

A flying visit to Tehran on Thursday by the IAEA director general Mohammed El Baradei failed to secure a breakthrough in the stand-off, but the Egyptian said he was still hopeful and that both sides were committed to maintaining dialogue. Mr ElBaradei is due to report to the IAEA by the endo f April.

Next week Security Council members will discuss Iran at a meeting in Moscow. Russia was aggrieved by Iran's unexpected breakthrough on uranium enrichment because it undermined its own attempts at a compromise proposal. But it is still uncertain if Moscow will support sanctions.

China, which has also been cool on the use of sanctions against Iran, yesterday said it would send a delegation to Tehran to discuss the nuclear programme and stressed the importance of dialogue in defusing the crisis.

"We hope all parties will adopt a cool-headed approach," said the Vice Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi. "Dialogue is better than confrontation."


My reply to Tait, dated 17 July 2007, which he has not yet answered (as at 04 August 2007) :

Dear Robert Tait,

Thank you for taking the time to reply to me. Although you are unlikely to believe me, I do apreciate it as I realise that you must be very busy.

You state that "the original translation was provided by AFP, which is a French organisation, not a corporate American news agency". .

I accept I should have said "Western corporate news agencies" instead of "US corporate news agencies" - a relatively minor point however.

But how then do you explain the NYT claims that they translated the speech themselves? They state specifically that it was their own Nazila Fathi who had translated the article:

"Published: October 30, 2005
This is a translation, by Nazila Fathi in The New York Times Tehran bureau, of the October 26 speech by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to an Islamic Student Associations conference on "The World Without Zionism." The conference was held in Tehran, at the Interior Ministry. The text of the speech was posted online, in Persian, by the Iranian Student News Agency ( http://www.isnagency.com/). Bracketed explanatory material is from Ms. Fathi."

Also, both the BBC and Reuters claim that they translated the speech themselves. In fact, I emailed Reuters to ask them where they had got the translation and Paul Holmes, Editor, Political & General News, wrote back to me saying:

"Reuters has experienced, bilingual staff in our Tehran newsroom and we translated the quote ourselves from the IRNA dispatch in Farsi. We do not rely on IRNA dispatches in English since they arrive with a delay and are frequently shorter than the original Farsi dispatch. The IRNA English service also often paraphrases quotes. " (Paul Holmes, e-mail to David Sketchley 14 June 2006 - I will gladly forward you a copy if you wish).

The original Reuters report entitled "Iran president wants Israel "wiped off the map", was filed by Parisa Hafezi at 22:07 on 26 October 2005.

The BBC is on record as saying that the BBC Monitoring Service translated the speech themselves: "The comment was picked up and translated from the Farsi by the BBC's Monitoring Service."

You state "this is a sterile and meaningless debate on semantics perpetuated by people with too much time on their hands". The exact oposite is true as your colleague Jonathan Steele wrote in his Guardian piece (question: does Mr Steele have too much time on his hands? And Prof. Cole?):

"Does this quibbling over phrases matter? Yes, of course. Within days of the Ahmadinejad speech the then Israeli prime minister, Ariel Sharon, was calling for Iran to be expelled from the United Nations. Other foreign leaders have quoted the map phrase. The United States is piling pressure on its allies to be tough with Iran.
Let me give the last word to Juan Cole, with whom I began. "I am entirely aware that Ahmadinejad is hostile to Israel. The question is whether his intentions and capabilities would lead to a military attack, and whether therefore pre-emptive warfare is prescribed. I am saying no, and the boring philology is part of the reason for the no."

You yourself have admitted to other readers: "I think the core of the problem here is the use to which the "off the map" phrase is being put by the right-wing in the US and Israel. For them it has become a sort of negative totem underpinning a specific political agenda. As such, it is becoming a problem for reporters on the ground like me." (E-mail to Tim Holmes).

By your own admission, you are aware that the right-wing in the US and Israel are using this mistranslation as a casus belli for at best regime change, at worst another war of aggression in Iran, plainly interfering in a sovereign state's internal affairs, yet you call this a sterile, meaningless debate. It is exactly this use which I think needs to be challenged, and which irresponsible use of the phrase only strengthens. It has already led to calls for Iran's expulsion from the UN, and on June 20, 2007, the U.S. House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed a resolution calling on the UN to charge Ahmadinejad with the crime of inciting genocide "because of his calls for the destruction of the State of Israel". It is also being used to support a unilateral attack on Iran.

You state "Mr Ahmadinejad's exact words in Farsi: "As the Imam (Khomeini) said, the Zionist occupier should be erased from the pages of history.";" Exact words? Nonsense. Could you kindly point out where the word "Zionist" appears in the original? Where is your translation of the word "rezhim-e" as in "Imam ghoft een rezhim-e ishghalgar-e qods bayad az safheh-ye ruzgar mahv shavad."

[Imam (Khomeini) ghoft (said) een (this) rezhim-e (regime) ishghalgar-e (occupying) qods (Jerusalem) bayad (must) az safheh-ye ruzgar (from page of time) mahv shavad (vanish from).]

You state: "attributing the words to Khomeini is being misrepresented to suggest that Mr Ahmadinejad personally disagreed with it - which is clearly not the case. Rather, he was endorsing them" This is again nonsense and a straw man. No one, as far as I am aware, has ever suggested this apart from yourself. People have stated that Ahmadinejad was quoting Khomeini merely to put the sentence into context. And it is this taking the phrase out of context which is one of the main problems.

Arash Norouzi explains the context which you ignore:

"While the false "wiped off the map" extract has been repeated infinitely without verification, Ahmadinejad's actual speech itself has been almost entirely ignored. Given the importance placed on the "map" comment, it would be sensible to present his words in their full context to get a fuller understanding of his position. In fact, by looking at the entire speech, there is a clear, logical trajectory leading up to his call for a "world without Zionism". One may disagree with his reasoning, but critical appraisals are infeasible without first knowing what that reasoning is.

In his speech, Ahmadinejad declares that Zionism is the West's apparatus of political oppression against Muslims. He says the "Zionist regime" was imposed on the Islamic world as a strategic bridgehead to ensure domination of the region and its assets. Palestine, he insists, is the frontline of the Islamic world's struggle with American hegemony, and its fate will have repercussions for the entire Middle East.

Ahmadinejad acknowledges that the removal of America's powerful grip on the region via the Zionists may seem unimaginable to some, but reminds the audience that, as Khomeini predicted, other seemingly invincible empires have disappeared and now only exist in history books. He then proceeds to list three such regimes that have collapsed, crumbled or vanished, all within the last 30 years:

(1) The Shah of Iran- the U.S. installed monarch
(2) The Soviet Union
(3) Iran's former arch-enemy, Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein

In the first and third examples, Ahmadinejad prefaces their mention with Khomeini's own words foretelling that individual regime's demise. He concludes by referring to Khomeini's unfulfilled wish: "The Imam said this regime occupying Jerusalem must vanish from the page of time. This statement is very wise". This is the passage that has been isolated, twisted and distorted so famously. By measure of comparison, Ahmadinejad would seem to be calling for regime change, not war."

Consequently there are no implications of mass killing at all. The crucial point is not the wipe away argument, but what is to be wiped away, the "regime". An example: Does the US recognise the " regime" in Cuba? No. Would it like the "regime" in Cuba to cease to exist? Of course. Does this mean the US wants to see Cuba " wiped off the map"? Of course not, although there is no doubt it would like to see Castro and his "regime" " wiped off the map"!
Both your colleague Jonathan Steele and Prof Cole have stated:

"The fact that he compared his desired option - the elimination of "the regime occupying Jerusalem" - with the fall of the Shah's regime in Iran makes it crystal clear that he is talking about regime change, not the end of Israel. As a schoolboy opponent of the Shah in the 1970's he surely did not favour Iran's removal from the page of time. He just wanted the Shah out."

"Calling for a regime to vanish is not the same as calling for people to be killed. Ahmadinejad has not to my knowledge called for anyone to be killed. If Ahmadinejad is a genocidal maniac who just wants to kill Jews, then why are there 20,000 Jews in Iran with a member of parliament in Tehran? Couldn't he start at home if that was what he is really about? "

I believe that in fact you know this as you wrote back in December: "Mr Ahmadinejad has called for Israel to be "wiped off the map" and has said its inhabitants should go to Europe or Alaska", even though you state to me "He believes passionately that Israel should cease to exist, by whatever means"

You are not being consistent. Why should he suggest the inhabitants move to Europe if he wanted to annihilate them?

Prof Juan Cole sums it all up thus: "He is hostile to Israel. He'd like to see regime change (apparently via a referendum on the shape of the government ruling over geographical Palestine, in which all "original" residents of any religion would get a vote). Calling for a referendum on the dissolution of a government is not calling for genocide. Ahmadinejad also says he has no objection to a Jewish state in and of itself, he just thinks it should be located in, say, German territory set apart for the purpose, rather than displacing Palestinians from their homes. He may be saying unrealistic things; he is not advocating killing Jews qua Jews, or genocide...(Ahmadinejad) compares his call for an end to the Zionist regime ruling over Jerusalem to the Western call for the dissolution of the old Soviet Union. Was Ronald Reagan inciting to genocide when he called for an end of the Soviet regime?"

Finally, you state "The aim here, I think, is to trigger some sort of diversionary debate suggesting Mr Ahmadinejad has been systematically misrepresented by the western media."

Yet the historical record shows that misrepresenting our 'enemies' leaders is just one part of a process designed to 'prepare public opinion' for war. Another part is falsifying a WMD crisis. Please watch the video linked to here:

And an irresponsible media which repeats this spin without challenge or scrutiny contributes to the misrepresentation and thus to the war.

You quoted an article in your second e-mail to me "Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad launched a new attack on Israel yesterday, calling it "a rotten, dried tree" that could be knocked over by "a single storm".

Again, taken alone, out of context you can make any statement sound threatening, thus misrepresenting the essence of what was being said. However taken in context we see that, in fact, it is quite the opposite (take note of the last sentence):

""Peace and harmonious relations can only be based on towhid, human dignity and justice. Oppressions and aggressions are not compatible with human dignity and justice.

The Zionist regime is a clear example of oppression and its fundamental nature represents actual and permanent threat. The very purpose behind the establishment of this regime was to put in place a permanent threat in the region. Therefore, the continued existence of this regime is premised on the persistence of this threat. It will have no existence without threat and aggression and it is not inherently capable to survive in an atmosphere of peace and tranquility. Even if it manages to remain in one square meter of the Palestinian land, it will continue to be a threat to the region.

"Take a good look at the bullying powers of the world. When it comes to supporting the Zionist regime, they recognize no red line and boundaries for justice, human rights and human dignity. The usurper Zionist regime is the meeting point of the injustices and brutalities of the corrupt bullying powers.

"Only a government chosen by the people can resolve the problem of Palestine and the people of the region. The right to govern belongs to all people of Palestine and they must decide the governing model of their choice and elect their own officials.

"For this purpose, there must be an opportunity for all genuine Palestinians; be they Muslims, Christians, or Jews, residing in Palestine or in Diaspora, to participate in a referendum to decide the political system of their choice and elect their leaders.

"In other words, the only rational way which is compatible with the generally recognized international norms is holding of a referendum for all genuine Palestinians. " The supporters of the Zionist regime prefer to remain silent in face of this reasonable proposition. But I tell them that regardless of what they desire, the Zionist regime is falling apart .

"The young tree of resistance in Palestine is blooming and blooms of faith and desire for freedom are flowering. "The Zionist regime is a decaying and crumbling tree that will fall with a storm .

Today even the inhabitants of the occupied Palestine, especially the African and Asian settlers are living in ain, poverty and discontent. "I tell the governments supporting the Zionist regime to open the doors to the prisons in the occupied Palestine and allow the refugees and displaced Palestinians to return to their homeland and summon the usurpers of the Palestinian lands.

"If you still consider yourself indebted to them, then find a proper place for them in your own territories, if not call upon them to return to their countries of origin to live like their forefathers."

My only concern is that another illegal war is on the cards, I am doing what little I can to prevent it.

Yours Sincerely