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...