31 January 2010

US Speeds Up Preparations for Iran War

Well, the NYT headline actually says "U.S. Speeding Up Missile Defenses in Persian Gulf", but we all know why the US is supplying "Missile Defenses" to Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Kuwait, and it's NOT the stated reason: "part of a coordinated administration strategy to increase pressure on Iran" or "also partly intended to counter the impression that Iran is fast becoming the most powerful military force in the Middle East, to forestall any Iranian escalation of its confrontation with the West if new sanctions are imposed. In addition, the administration is trying to show Israel that there is no immediate need for military strikes against Iranian nuclear and missile facilities, according to administration officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity."

The NYT almost had it though: "to forestall any Iranian escalation of its confrontation with the West if new sanctions are imposed." Just replace that phrase with 'to forestall any Iranian reactions to a US or Israeli attack'!

The US/UK/Israeli axis of evil has been winding up the threats in recents weeks and months, but the last few days have seen a massive propaganda effort, including by Blair at the Chilcott whitewash.

We have what The Hill calls a 'bipartisan group of senators' but which I call a group of bloodsucking crooks demanding "crippling sanctions" against Iran.

Another consummate liar and crook, Hillary Clinton has started threatening China over Iran, which is really quite the most hilarious a piece of chutzpah I think I've ever come across. Perhaps someone ought to remind her that China virtually owns the US, and could seriously hurt it, as the Chinese reaction to US arms sales to Taiwan showed just recently. Even more amusing when we consider how she went pleading to Chinese just last February "to continue buying US Treasury bonds"

Back to Iran; the latest threats from the best Congress money can buy are now to Iran's fuel suppliers. Note how the Washington Post Propaganda Pamphlet explains how this is "aimed at pressuring Tehran to give up its nuclear program". Bullshit! We have seen in the 1990's in Iraq how sanctions were used to destroy an entire country (and in particular its water supply) while killing half a million children in one of the most brutal West-imposed genocides of recent times. But for the US 'the price was worth it'.

Apart from the "deployment of new defenses against possible Iranian missile attacks in the Persian Gulf," the US is also "placing special ships off the Iranian coast...Aegis cruisers on patrol in the Persian Gulf at all times. Those cruisers are equipped with advanced radar and antimissile systems designed to intercept medium-range missiles.". Note that this buildup is merely "defensive" by nature! Why do they need defences? Does anyone who is NOT a raving lunatic really think that Iran will start a war of aggression on the rest of the Gulf states? Or is it much more likely that if Iran was attacked by Israel or the US (the same thing), it would retaliate targeting US military installations in the Gulf states mentioned?

And note the capabilities of the Aegis Cruisers: "Built to be employed in support of Carrier Battle Groups, Amphibious Assault Groups, as well as interdiction and escort missions, their mission is two-fold. First, to prevent the employment of weapons against friendly forces by destroying enemy missiles, aircraft, submarines and surface ships. Second, to conduct offensive actions against the enemy through the employment of long range anti-ship and land attack missiles, and through naval gunfire support."

Lets have a look at those installations:






As the NYT reported in 2005 "the military has more than $1.2 billion in construction under way or on the drawing board to upgrade 16 air bases throughout the Middle East and Southwest Asia."

Gen. David Petraeus, head of the U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM), stated: “[T]he countries of the Arabian Peninsula are key partners … CENTCOM ground, air, maritime, and special operations forces participate in numerous operations and training events, bilateral and multilateral, with our partners from the Peninsula. We help develop indigenous capabilities for counter terrorism; border, maritime, and critical infrastructure security; and deterring Iranian aggression. As a part of all this, our FMS [foreign military sales] and FMF [foreign military financing] programs are helping to improve the capabilities and interoperability of our partners’ forces. We are also working toward an integrated air and missile defense network for the Gulf. All of these cooperative efforts are facilitated by the critical base and port facilities that Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, the UAE [United Arab Emirates], and others provide for U.S. forces.”

For a more detailed look Nick Turse has an excellent  piece here:"Out of Iraq, Into the Gulf".

Even France is at it.

If Iran were attacked by either the US or Israel, Iran would be within its rights to retaliate. And retaliating against US bases would be competely logical and legitimate.

28 January 2010

The swine who sold us swine flu - Bryan Hemming

Here's something interesting for you to mull. Right since the first outbreak of swine flu in Mexico early last year I can't remember one pig being tested positive for it. I can't even recall any tests being done on pigs.

The transportation of live pigs and pork products from country to country has never been restricted or curtailed - as was the case with birds when avian flu broke out, and cows when CJD, and foot and mouth were around.

Pigs have never been slaughtered to prevent the disease spreading, as far as I know, nor have they been vaccinated with Tamilflu (now there's a golden opportunity Rumsfeld missed). So do pigs suffer from swine flu or don't they? And if they do, why can't we catch it from pigs now when someone must've caught it from a pig before?

Did I jump a page in the swine flu saga? Have I missed the report that discovered swine flu never came from pigs in the first place, or has someone been pulling my pisser? If swine flu came from pigs I'd expect to read about it somewhere, or if it didn't, I'd expect read that. Or to hear it called something else like donkey flu.

Of course, if it didn't come from swine it must have come from something else, like a biolab, for instance, as more and more people are beginning to suspect. So perhaps it came from swine after all.

The Daily Mail should be informed!

27 January 2010

The Kelly cover-up: Hutton blinks

Panicked by the reaction to his Dr. Kelly cover-up, Hutton blinked. According to the Guardian he now says:

"I requested that the postmortem report should not be disclosed for 70 years as I was concerned that the publication of that report would cause [Kelly's] daughters and his wife further and unnecessary distress," Hutton said.
"I consider that the disclosure of the report to doctors and their legal advisers for the purposes of legal proceedings would not undermine the protection which I wished to give."


More details here:

"'Much of the material in the post-mortem report had been given in oral evidence in public at the inquiry and substantial parts of that evidence had been set out in my report<" he said.
''However, I consider that the disclosure of the report to doctors and their legal advisers for the purposes of legal proceedings would not undermine the protection which I wished to give to Dr Kelly's family, provided that conditions were imposed restricting the use and publication of the report to such proceedings, and I have written to the Ministry of Justice to this effect.''

26 January 2010

Chris Hedges: Democracy in America Is a Useful Fiction

Yet another superbly accurate analysis from Chris Hedges. This man has an uncanny knack of putting into words exactly what I think, but can't put into words.

Thank you, Mr. Hedges.

Corporate forces, long before the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, carried out a coup d’état in slow motion. The coup is over. We lost. The ruling is one more judicial effort to streamline mechanisms for corporate control. It exposes the myth of a functioning democracy and the triumph of corporate power. But it does not significantly alter the political landscape. The corporate state is firmly cemented in place.
The fiction of democracy remains useful, not only for corporations, but for our bankrupt liberal class. If the fiction is seriously challenged, liberals will be forced to consider actual resistance, which will be neither pleasant nor easy. As long as a democratic facade exists, liberals can engage in an empty moral posturing that requires little sacrifice or commitment. They can be the self-appointed scolds of the Democratic Party, acting as if they are part of the debate and feel vindicated by their cries of protest.
Much of the outrage expressed about the court’s ruling is the outrage of those who prefer this choreographed charade. As long as the charade is played, they do not have to consider how to combat what the political philosopher Sheldon Wolin calls our system of “inverted totalitarianism.”
Inverted totalitarianism represents “the political coming of age of corporate power and the political demobilization of the citizenry,” Wolin writes in “Democracy Incorporated.” Inverted totalitarianism differs from classical forms of totalitarianism, which revolve around a demagogue or charismatic leader, and finds its expression in the anonymity of the corporate state. The corporate forces behind inverted totalitarianism do not, as classical totalitarian movements do, boast of replacing decaying structures with a new, revolutionary structure. They purport to honor electoral politics, freedom and the Constitution. But they so corrupt and manipulate the levers of power as to make democracy impossible.
Inverted totalitarianism is not conceptualized as an ideology or objectified in public policy. It is furthered by “power-holders and citizens who often seem unaware of the deeper consequences of their actions or inactions,” Wolin writes. But it is as dangerous as classical forms of totalitarianism. In a system of inverted totalitarianism, as this court ruling illustrates, it is not necessary to rewrite the Constitution, as fascist and communist regimes do. It is enough to exploit legitimate power by means of judicial and legislative interpretation. This exploitation ensures that huge corporate campaign contributions are protected speech under the First Amendment. It ensures that heavily financed and organized lobbying by large corporations is interpreted as an application of the people’s right to petition the government. The court again ratified the concept that corporations are persons, except in those cases where the “persons” agree to a “settlement.” Those within corporations who commit crimes can avoid going to prison by paying large sums of money to the government while, according to this twisted judicial reasoning, not “admitting any wrongdoing.” There is a word for this. It is called corruption.
Corporations have 35,000 lobbyists in Washington and thousands more in state capitals that dole out corporate money to shape and write legislation. They use their political action committees to solicit employees and shareholders for donations to fund pliable candidates. The financial sector, for example, spent more than $5 billion on political campaigns, influence peddling and lobbying during the past decade, which resulted in sweeping deregulation, the gouging of consumers, our global financial meltdown and the subsequent looting of the U.S. Treasury. The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America spent $26 million last year and drug companies such as Pfizer, Amgen and Eli Lilly kicked in tens of millions more to buy off the two parties. These corporations have made sure our so-called health reform bill will force us to buy their predatory and defective products. The oil and gas industry, the coal industry, defense contractors and telecommunications companies have thwarted the drive for sustainable energy and orchestrated the steady erosion of civil liberties. Politicians do corporate bidding and stage hollow acts of political theater to keep the fiction of the democratic state alive.
There is no national institution left that can accurately be described as democratic. Citizens, rather than participate in power, are allowed to have virtual opinions to preordained questions, a kind of participatory fascism as meaningless as voting on “American Idol.” Mass emotions are directed toward the raging culture wars. This allows us to take emotional stands on issues that are inconsequential to the power elite.
Our transformation into an empire, as happened in ancient Athens and Rome, has seen the tyranny we practice abroad become the tyranny we practice at home. We, like all empires, have been eviscerated by our own expansionism. We utilize weapons of horrific destructive power, subsidize their development with billions in taxpayer dollars, and are the world’s largest arms dealer. And the Constitution, as Wolin notes, is “conscripted to serve as power’s apprentice rather than its conscience.”
“Inverted totalitarianism reverses things,” Wolin writes. “It is politics all of the time but a politics largely untempered by the political. Party squabbles are occasionally on public display, and there is a frantic and continuous politics among factions of the party, interest groups, competing corporate powers, and rival media concerns. And there is, of course, the culminating moment of national elections when the attention of the nation is required to make a choice of personalities rather than a choice between alternatives. What is absent is the political, the commitment to finding where the common good lies amidst the welter of well-financed, highly organized, single-minded interests rabidly seeking governmental favors and overwhelming the practices of representative government and public administration by a sea of cash.” 
Hollywood, the news industry and television, all corporate controlled, have become instruments of inverted totalitarianism. They censor or ridicule those who critique or challenge corporate structures and assumptions. They saturate the airwaves with manufactured controversy, whether it is Tiger Woods or the dispute between Jay Leno and Conan O’Brien. They manipulate images to make us confuse how we are made to feel with knowledge, which is how Barack Obama became president. And the draconian internal control employed by the Department of Homeland Security, the military and the police over any form of popular dissent, coupled with the corporate media’s censorship, does for inverted totalitarianism what thugs and bonfires of books do in classical totalitarian regimes.
“It seems a replay of historical experience that the bias displayed by today’s media should be aimed consistently at the shredded remains of liberalism,” Wolin writes. “Recall that an element common to most 20th century totalitarianism, whether Fascist or Stalinist, was hostility towards the left. In the United States, the left is assumed to consist solely of liberals, occasionally of ‘the left wing of the Democratic Party,’ never of democrats.”
Liberals, socialists, trade unionists, independent journalists and intellectuals, many of whom were once important voices in our society, have been silenced or targeted for elimination within corporate-controlled academia, the media and government. Wolin, who taught at Berkeley and later at Princeton, is arguably the country’s foremost political philosopher. And yet his book was virtually ignored. This is also why Ralph Nader, Dennis Kucinich and Cynthia McKinney, along with intellectuals like Noam Chomsky, are not given a part in our national discourse.
The uniformity of opinion is reinforced by the skillfully orchestrated mass emotions of nationalism and patriotism, which paints all dissidents as “soft” or “unpatriotic.” The “patriotic” citizen, plagued by fear of job losses and possible terrorist attacks, unfailingly supports widespread surveillance and the militarized state. This means no questioning of the $1 trillion in defense-related spending. It means that the military and intelligence agencies are held above government, as if somehow they are not part of government. The most powerful instruments of state power and control are effectively removed from public discussion. We, as imperial citizens, are taught to be contemptuous of government bureaucracy, yet we stand like sheep before Homeland Security agents in airports and are mute when Congress permits our private correspondence and conversations to be monitored and archived. We endure more state control than at any time in American history. 
The civic, patriotic and political language we use to describe ourselves remains unchanged. We pay fealty to the same national symbols and iconography. We find our collective identity in the same national myths. We continue to deify the Founding Fathers. But the America we celebrate is an illusion. It does not exist. Our government and judiciary have no real sovereignty. Our press provides diversion, not information. Our organs of security and power keep us as domesticated and as fearful as most Iraqis. Capitalism, as Karl Marx understood, when it emasculates government, becomes a revolutionary force. And this revolutionary force, best described as inverted totalitarianism, is plunging us into a state of neo-feudalism, perpetual war and severe repression. The Supreme Court decision is part of our transformation by the corporate state from citizens to prisoners.
Chris Hedges, a Pulitzer Prize-winning correspondent, writes a column published every Monday on Truthdig. His latest book is “Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle.”

Lord Hutton's Murder Cover up - Further Revelations

The Guardian today has some interesting further revelations on what appears to be Lord Hutton's criminal attempts to distort the justice system by covering -up the murder of Dr. David Kelly. (See "Lord Hutton confirms Dr. David Kelly was murdered")

Firstly, Hutton made the ruling back in 2003 and secondly, according to the Guardian "freedom of information experts say there appear to be strong grounds for the legal challenges. "If Lord Hutton was not carrying out a statutory inquiry, I can't immediately see what power he had to order that these records be closed," said Maurice Frankel, Director of the Campaign for Freedom of Information."

Interestingly, and again this news was kept very low profile, several colleagues of Kelly (including at Porton Down) also died in mysterious circumstances.

Almost a year after Kelly was murdered, his colleague and "chief scientist for chemical and biological defence at Porton Down" (Kelly was Director of the Microbiology Division), Dr Paul Norman, was killed when the Cessna 206 he was piloting crashed shortly after taking off from Dunkeswell Airfield in Devon. It was officially decalred an 'accident' at the inquest. Although "Accident investigators failed to trace the exact cause of the engine failure", the Telegraph report  states that he "was an internationally-known expert on weapons of mass destruction and his death has been linked to other experts, including Dr David Kelly, by conspiracy theory websites." The Mail, however, reported that accident investigators had indicated that the accident "may have been caused by the pilot switching to an empty tank of fuel".

Dr. David Kelly had links to three other top microbiologists whose deaths have left unanswered questions. One was Vladimir Pasechnik: This is an extract of the NYT obituary:
"Dr. Vladimir Pasechnik, a senior Soviet biologist whose defection in 1989 alerted Western intelligence to the scope of Moscow's clandestine efforts to adapt germs and viruses for military use, died on Wednesday in Wiltshire, England. He was 64 and lived in a nearby village.
The cause was a stroke, said Dr. Christopher J. Davis of Great Falls, Va., formerly in British intelligence.
It was Dr. Pasechnik who provided a first glimpse of Biopreparat, a network of secret laboratories, each focused on a deadly agent. His revelations were confirmed in 1992 with the defection to the United States of Dr. Ken Alibek, the No. 2 scientist for the program."

The Kelly murder has also been linked to the Anthrax scare in the US and the death of FBI suspect Bruce Ivins - also in suspicious circumstances - by Edward Jay Epstein in the Wall Street Journal yesterday in his OpEd piece "The Anthrax Attacks Remain Unsolved": Bruce Ivins' suicide "as Eric Nadler and Bob Coen show in their documentary "The Anthrax War," was one of four suicides among American and British biowarfare researchers in past years".

Here are some clips from the film:

The Man Who Knew Too Much? from Field Agent C on Vimeo.

Anthrax War on Sky News 7/11/09 from Field Agent C on Vimeo.

View the next one here as I can't embed it.

Confronting Doctor Death from Field Agent C on Vimeo.

Another one here.

Doctor Alibek and Ukraine's Mystery Illness from Field Agent C on Vimeo.

The Ghost of Frank Olson from Field Agent C on Vimeo.

Inside the Vault. from Field Agent C on Vimeo.


Scotland Yard is preparing to use the controversial “kettling” tactic at anti-war demo on Friday

Hopefully, the organisers of the anti-war demonstration planned for Friday's appearance of Bliar at the Chilcott Enquiry, Stop the War Coalition, have studied police tactics at these events and have thought up ways to counter them.

According to the Times today, "Scotland Yard is preparing to use the controversial “kettling” tactic in which protesters are enclosed within police cordons for many hours...senior officers say that it is the safest and most effective way of controlling large and volatile crowds in built-up areas.
The police operation will be overseen by a Gold Commander based at the Special Operations Room in Lambeth that will have live footage of the area immediately surrounding the QEII centre. Dozens of officers will be on duty outside the centre, with Territorial Support Group officers nearby with their full riot equipment."

25 January 2010

Israeli Minister: 'Israel is a very racist society'

Very unusual for Israeli monsters ministers to admit anything, but here we have it, in black and white and from the Jerusalem Post no less. The problem is she wasn't talking about  Israeli attitudes to Palestinians. But about Israeli attitudes to 'immigants from Ethiopia'! The Palestrinians aren't even human for the vast bulk of Israeli society, merely drugged cockroaches or two-footed animals.

"In a recent survey, Israelis were asked which sector of the population they would most like to have as neighbors. The results gave veteran Israelis the top grade, followed bynew immigrants from the US, immigrants from France, immigrants from the former Soviet Union and lastly immigrants from Ethiopia. The same results were found when people were asked which population group they would be happy to have their children go to school with, and also which people they would like their children to marry.
"We are racist. Israel is a very racist society. I know what olim have gone through over the past 20 years."

24 January 2010

Lord Hutton confirms Dr. David Kelly was murdered

Hutton has confirmed that Dr David Kelly was murdered.

That is the only possible reading of his extraordinary decision to order "that medical records in the case be kept secret for 70 years,"

Note that in the link, the Independent article has nothing to do with the Kelly affair but is stuck in the middle of the article.

MSN have a fuller article: "70-year gag on Kelly death evidence":

"Evidence relating to the death of Government weapons inspector David Kelly is to be kept secret for 70 years, it has been reported.
A highly unusual ruling by Lord Hutton, who chaired the inquiry into Dr Kelly's death, means medical records including the post-mortem report will remain classified until after all those with a direct interest in the case are dead, the Mail on Sunday reported.
And a 30-year secrecy order has been placed on written records provided to Lord Hutton's inquiry which were not produced in evidence.
The Ministry of Justice said decisions on the evidence were a matter for Lord Hutton. But Liberal Democrat MP Norman Baker, who has conducted his own investigations into Dr Kelly's death, described the order as "astonishing".
Dr Kelly's body was found in woods close to his Oxfordshire home in 2003, shortly after it was revealed that he was the source of a BBC report casting doubt on the Government's claim that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction capable of being fired within 45 minutes.
An inquest was suspended by then Lord Chancellor Lord Falconer, who ruled that Lord Hutton's inquiry could take its place. But in the event, the inquiry focused more on the question of how the BBC report came to be broadcast than on the medical explanation for Dr Kelly's death.
Lord Hutton's report in 2004 concluded that Dr Kelly killed himself by cutting an artery in his wrist. But the finding has been challenged by doctors who claim that the weapons inspector's stated injuries were not serious enough.
One of the doctors seeking a full inquest, former assistant coroner Michael Powers, told the Mail on Sunday he had seen a letter from the legal team of Oxfordshire County Council explaining the unusual restrictions placed by Lord Hutton on material relating to his inquiry.
The letter states: "Lord Hutton made a request for the records provided to the inquiry, not produced in evidence, to be closed for 30 years, and that medical (including post-mortem) reports and photographs be closed for 70 years."
Dr Powers asked: "Supposedly all evidence relevant to the cause of death has been heard in public at the time of Lord Hutton's inquiry. If these secret reports support the suicide finding, what could they contain that could be so sensitive?"

This not only means that Kelly was murdered, it means that Lord Hutton is a criminal. He is responsible for the cover-up of a murder. 


"Last night, the Ministry of Justice was unable to explain the legal basis for Lord Hutton’s order."

23 January 2010

Straw Lies to the Chilcott Enquiry

One just has to read Craig Murray's post at his blog "Jack Straw's Biggest Lie":

"I was a British Ambassador at the time of the events covered by the Iraq Inquiry. I know many of the witnesses and a great deal of the background. I can therefore see right through the smooth presentation. Jack Straw was the smoothest of all - but he told lie after lie.
Straw's biggest and most important lie goes right to the heart of the question of whether the war was legal. Did UN Security Council Resolution 1441 provide a legal basis for the invasion, or would a second resolution specifically authorising military action have been required?"

Read the rest at Craig's blog.

22 January 2010

Securing Disaster in Haiti

For one of the best analyses on what is really happening in Haiti go no further than the excellent HaitiAnalysis.com blog:

Today there is a brilliant piece by Peter Hallward: "Securing Disaster in Haiti".

Flashing Lights!

Thanks to Bryan Hemmings for sending me a link to a Times article today,  "Head of ATSC 'bomb detector' company arrested on suspicion of fraud".

Mediaeval-sounding Simon de Bruxelles informs:

"The boss of a British company that has sold million of dollars worth of “bomb detectors” to Iraq’s security forces has been arrested on suspicion of fraud.
Jim McCormick, 53, the managing director of ATSC which is based in a former dairy in Sparkford, Somerset, has been questioned by detectives from Avon and Somerset Police after a complaint that he misrepresented the devices.
In November, Mr McCormick, a former Merseyside police officer, told The Times that his devices, which consist of little more than a telescopic antenna on a molded plastic handle, are able to detect explosives in the same way as a dowsing rod finds water.
Thousands of the devices are in use at military and police check points across Baghdad where they are used to search vehicles and pedestrians for explosives. In recent months hundreds of people have died after car bombers were able to penetrate the security cordon supposed to protect the centre of the Iraqi capital."

The first mention of this I can find was back on 03 November 2009 in the NYT in an article titled "Iraq Swears by Bomb Detector U.S. Sees as Useless":

"The small hand-held wand, with a telescopic antenna on a swivel, is being used at hundreds of checkpoints in Iraq. But the device works “on the same principle as a Ouija board” — the power of suggestion — said a retired United States Air Force officer, Lt. Col. Hal Bidlack, who described the wand as nothing more than an explosives divining rod.
Still, the Iraqi government has purchased more than 1,500 of the devices, known as the ADE 651, at costs from $16,500 to $60,000 each. Nearly every police checkpoint, and many Iraqi military checkpoints, have one of the devices, which are now normally used in place of physical inspections of vehicles.
The suicide bombers who managed to get two tons of explosives into downtown Baghdad on Oct. 25, killing 155 people and destroying three ministries, had to pass at least one checkpoint where the ADE 651 is typically deployed, judging from surveillance videos released by Baghdad’s provincial governor. The American military does not use the devices. “I don’t believe there’s a magic wand that can detect explosives,” said Maj. Gen. Richard J. Rowe Jr., who oversees Iraqi police training for the American military. “If there was, we would all be using it. I have no confidence that these work.”
The Iraqis, however, believe passionately in them. “Whether it’s magic or scientific, what I care about is it detects bombs,” said Maj. Gen. Jehad al-Jabiri, head of the Ministry of the Interior’s General Directorate for Combating Explosives.
Dale Murray, head of the National Explosive Engineering Sciences Security Center at Sandia Labs, which does testing for the Department of Defense, said the center had “tested several devices in this category, and none have ever performed better than random chance.”
On Tuesday, a guard and a driver for The New York Times, both licensed to carry firearms, drove through nine police checkpoints that were using the device. None of the checkpoint guards detected the two AK-47 rifles and ammunition inside the vehicle.
During an interview on Tuesday, General Jabiri challenged a Times reporter to test the ADE 651, placing a grenade and a machine pistol in plain view in his office. Despite two attempts, the wand did not detect the weapons when used by the reporter but did so each time it was used by a policeman.
“You need more training,” the general said."

The story was picked up by Ben Goldacre in the Comment is Free section (not the news section, note) on 14 November 2009, before de Bruxelles picked it up in two articles on 28 November 2009.

One wonders why it took so long to arrest this man and why he's only been arrested for "suspicion of fraud by misrepresentation". Surely he and his company share the blame for all the deaths caused by bombs having passed through roadblocks where the ADE 651 was used? A manslaughter charge at the very least please!

Getting back to de Bruxelles report today, the best comes at the end:

"The Times tested the flimsy device which has no electronic components and no working parts and was unable to detect a paper bag containing fireworks from a few feet away. ATSC’s sales literature claims the device can detect minute quantities of explosives at up to one kilometre, or three kilometres from the air.
Mr McCormick told The Times that his device was being criticised because of its crude appearance.
He added: “We have been dealing with doubters for ten years. One of the problems we have is that the machine does look a little primitive. We are working on a new model that has flashing lights.”
A police source said: “We are satisfied the bomb detectors don’t work.”"

Underb the MSM Radar, Peru: Garcia closes TV station

Yet more news that flies under the radar of the mainstream media news. The funny thing is though, that if it was Venezuela or Ecuador or Bolivia or Nicaragua or Cuba it would be headline news. As it's Peru under fatty-boy right wing pro-US Alan Garcia, there's no news worth reporting. Otto over at IKN
calls it: "The stinking hypocrisy of English language media coverage in South America"
However, there is news, even though they won't report it: Alan Garcia has closed the Amazon community TV channel based in Yurimaguas: Radio Oriente.

Their crime? According to the Instituto de Prensa y Sociedad (Press & Society Institute) in Lima (funded by both the NED and Soros at one time or another):

"On 15 January 2010, the Ministry of Transport and Communications (MTC) cancelled Televisión Oriente's operating license. The TV station used a VHF frequency to operate in the city of Yurimaguas, Loreto region, in northeastern Peru.

This decision was made after the MTC verified, during a technical inspection in 2005, that the TV station had not operated during its first 12 trial months.

Geovanni Acate, a journalist and Radio y Televisión Oriente's director, explained to IPYS that the station started proceedings to obtain a license in the 1990s and that during Alejandro Toledo's government, when the permit was granted, the station did not have the financial resources needed to buy TV broadcasting equipment."

IPYS then go on to say that the Ministry issued "an authorisation certificate" in April 2006, "confirming it complied with all legal requisites and allowing it to operate."

And further, that in its 2007 inspection the Minsitry "found that Televisión Oriente, which belongs to Yurimaguas's Apostolic Vicariate, had four authorized antennas with a "good quality signal". Acate added that the TV station is up to date in all its payments to the MTC for TV broadcasting."

IPYS continue: "Roberto Pereira, a lawyer with the firm Pereira & Associates, who is an expert in freedom of expression related issues, said "it is a clear case of abuse of official control, that constitutes an attack on against freedom of expression. Five years after the MTC verified the alleged lack of compliance with obligations particular to the installation and trial period, it decides to cancel the TV station's licence when it currently operates within all legal requirements. The MTC accuses the station of not complying with legal deadlines when it's the MTC itself that has failed to comply with them. The inspection that should have taken place within the three months that followed the end of the installation and trial period was carried out more than a year later.

Acate believes the measure is an attempt to silence the radio station.

IPYS noted that Acate is facing a legal case for Radio y Televisión Oriente's coverage of the Amazonian communities' protests in May 2009.

IKN also reported last October here that Acate had received threats ."According to Acate, the authors of the threats are presumably police agents of the DIROES special operations unit."

And there we have the real crime, Radio Oriente covered the Bagua massacre last year. At the time "Interior minister, Mercedes Cabanillas, publicly threatened to close La Voz de Bagua and Radio Oriente, for their alleged “support” for violence against security forces after demonstrations last June by the indigenous population protesting mining rights granted to multinationals on ancestral lands....
In another such case, Alejandro Carrascal Carrasco, editor of the weekly Nor Oriente in Bagua, was sentenced on 12 January to one year in prison for “defamation“.
According to RSF Mr. Carrascal Carrasco is paying the consequences of having reported in favor of the protesting indigenous population."

Will Mr Rory Carroll get on his horse after drinking his milk and report something about this?


The President of the Peruvian Congressional Investigation, Guido Lombardi of the National Unity Party, which is investigating what happened in Bagua has announced that he will also be investigating 'in detail the cancellation of the television license by VHF Radio Yurimaguas East."

UPDATE II - 25/1/10

Thank you BBC. You have proved me right.  They have zero coverage on the Peru tv station closed while afford headline coverage to western bogeyman Chavez.

21 January 2010

Haiti Earthquake - Chavez Conspiracy Theory? You decide.

According to Russia Today, quoting from Spanish newspaper ABC's article yesterday, "Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez has once again accused the United States of playing God. But this time it’s Haiti’s disastrous earthquake that he thinks the U.S. was behind. Spanish newspaper ABC quotes Chavez as saying that the U.S. navy launched a weapon capable of inducing a powerful earthquake off the shore of Haiti. He adds that this time it was only a drill and the final target is … destroying and taking over Iran."

Seperately, over at Globalresearch.com, Michel Chossudovsky has an article "A Haiti Disaster Relief Scenario Was Envisaged by the US Military One Day Before the Earthquake":

"A Haiti disaster relief scenario had been envisaged at the headquarters of US Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) in Miami one day prior to the earthquake.
The holding of pre-disaster simulations pertained to the impacts of a hurricane in Haiti. They were held on January 11. (Bob Brewin,  Defense launches online system to coordinate Haiti relief efforts (1/15/10) -- GovExec.com, complete text of article is contained in Annex)
The Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA), which is under the jurisdiction of the Department of Defense (DoD), was involved in organizing these scenarios on behalf of US Southern Command.(SOUTHCOM).
Defined as a "Combat Support Agency", DISA has a mandate to provide IT and telecommunications, systems, logistics services in support of the US military. (See DISA website: Defense Information Systems Agency).
On the day prior to the earthquake, "on Monday [January 11, 2010], Jean Demay, DISA's technical manager for the agency's Transnational Information Sharing Cooperation project, happened to be at the headquarters of the U.S. Southern Command in Miami preparing for a test of the system in a scenario that involved providing relief to Haiti in the wake of a hurricane." (Bob Brewin, op cit, emphasis added) 
The Transnational Information Sharing Cooperation project (TISC) is a communications-information tool which  "links non-government organizations with the United States [government and military] and other nations for tracking, coordinating and organizing relief efforts".(Government IT Scrambles To Help Haiti, TECHWEB January 15, 2010).
The TISC is an essential component of the militarization of emergency relief. The US military through DISA oversees the information - communications system used by participating aid agencies. Essentially, it is a communications sharing system controlled by the US military, which is made available to approved non-governmental partner organizations. The Defense Information Systems Agency also "provides bandwidth to aid organizations involved in Haiti relief efforts."
There are no details on the nature of the tests conducted on January 11 at SOUTHCOM headquarters. 
DISA's Jean Demay was in charge of coordinating the tests. There are no reports on the participants involved in the disaster relief scenarios.
One would expect, given DISA's mandate, that the tests pertained to simulating communications. logistics and information systems in the case of a major emergency relief program in Haiti.
The fundamental concept underlying DISA's Transnational Information Sharing Cooperation project (TISC) is  to "Achieve Interoperability With Warfighters, Coalition Partners And NGOs" (Defense Daily, December 19, 2008)
Upon completing the tests and disaster scenarios on January 11, TISC was considered to be, in relation to Haiti, in "an advanced stage of readiness". On January 13, the day following the earthquake, SOUTHCOM took the decision to implement the TISC system, which had been rehearsed in Miami two days earlier: 
"After the earthquake hit on Tuesday [January 12, 2010], Demay said SOUTHCOM decided to go live with the system. On [the following day] Wednesday [January 13, 2010], DISA opened up its All Partners Access Network, supported by the Transnational Information Sharing Cooperation project, to any organization supporting Haiti relief efforts.
The information sharing project, developed with backing from both SOUTHCOM and the Defense Department's European Command, has been in development for three years. It is designed to facilitate multilateral collaboration between federal and nongovernmental agencies.
Demay said that since DISA set up a Haiti Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief Community of Interest on APAN on Wednesday [the day following the earthquake], almost 500 organizations and individuals have joined, including a range of Defense units and various nongovernmental organizations and relief groups. (Bob Brewin, Defense launches online system to coordinate Haiti relief efforts (1/15/10) -- GovExec.com emphasis added)
DISA has a Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) Field Office in Miami. Under the Haiti Disaster Emergency Program initiated on January 12, DISA's mandate is described as part of a carefully planned military operation: 
"DISA is providing US Southern Command with information capabilities which will support our nation in quickly responding to the critical situation in Haiti," said Larry K. Huffman, DISA's Principal Director of Global Information Grid Operations. "Our experience in providing support to contingency operations around the world postures us to be responsive in meeting USSOUTHCOM's requirements."

DISA, a Combat Support Agency, engineers and [sic] provides command and control capabilities and enterprise infrastructure to continuously operate and assure a global net-centric enterprise in direct support to joint warfighters, National level leaders, and other mission and coalition partners across the full spectrum of operations. As DoD's satellite communications leader, DISA is using the Defense Satellite Communications System to provide frequency and bandwidth support to all organizations in the Haitian relief effort. This includes Super High Frequency missions that are providing bandwidth for US Navy ships and one Marine Expeditionary Unit that will arrive shortly on station to provide medical help, security, and helicopters among other support. This also includes all satellite communications for the US Air Force handling round-the-clock air traffic control and air freight operations at the extremely busy Port-Au-Prince Airport. DISA is also providing military Ultra High Frequency channels and contracting for additional commercial SATCOM missions that greatly increase this capability for relief efforts. (DISA -Press Release, January 2010, undated, emphasis added)

In the immediate wake of the earthquake, DISA played a key supportive role to SOUTHCOM, which was designated by the Obama administration as the de facto "lead agency" in the US Haitian relief program. The underlying system consists in integrating civilian aid agencies into the orbit of an advanced communications information system controlled by the US military.
"DISA is also leveraging a new technology in Haiti that is already linking NGOs, other nations and US forces together to track, coordinate and better organize relief efforts" (Ibid)"

 UPDATE 22 Jan 2010:

Thanks to Joe Emersberger over at the Media Lens Message Board for pointing out::

"The spanish newspaper artcile that supposedly quoted Chavez (but doesn't) is here


The article begins by saying that the "anti-American government of Venaulea has displayed its habitual paranoia" by accusing the US of causing Haiti's earthquake.

ABC articie then quotes an article which was published of the website of a Venezuelan state television Channel


To state the obvious, quotung a BBC article is not the same as quoting Gordon Brown or even stating the general views of his goverment.

The VUVE article is shoddy journalism becasue it only cites sources that appear to justify its sensational headline and does not explore opposing view - the mirror image of journalism one finds in the international press about Venezuela - as this episode demonstrates.

In fact, the link in the ABC article to the VIVE website takes one to a VIVA page with nothing but headlines.

The actual VIVE report is here, but makes no mention at all of Chavez or any member of the Venezuelan government having said anything at all about this, it doesn't mention how it came to read the report at all, and as Joe correctly points out, quoting a report on the BBC or Spanish state owned broadcaster TVE isn't the same as quoting the British or Spanish governments or their respective Heads of Government.

N.B. Interestingly, since posting this article, this website has been visited by the "Naval Ocean Systems Center,  Washington, District Of Columbia, United States".

Their mission statement reads:

"1. Mission. The mission of the Naval Ocean Systems Center is to be the principal Navy RDT&E Center for command control, communications, ocean surveillance, surface- and air-launched undersea weapons systems, and submarine arctic warfare.
2. Functions. As a major Navy R&D Center, NOSC is primarily oriented toward research, development, and product improvement but may perform functions across the complete life cycle of a particular program or system. Major functional capabilities include: a. Basic research. b. Exploratory development. c. Advanced development. d. Assessment of science and technology base. e. Mission analysis. f. Concept exploration and system demonstration/validation. g. Full-scale engineering development. h. Engineering in support of production. i. Test and evaluation. j. Major RDT&E facility management. k. User services and support to operating forces including product improvement."

20 January 2010

The Guantánamo “Suicides”: A Camp Delta sergeant blows the whistle

Kidnap, torture, murder, cover-up. The crimes of the Bush Administration continue under Obama. The United States is a criminal state.

Here is Scott Horton's account in Harper's of yet more immorality coming out of Guantamo. What is extraordinary is there are human beings who defend this twisted demented behaviour.

Read the whole thing here.. And Horton's follow-up here.

Also check-out Horton's interview with Keith Olbermann:

16 January 2010

Bin Laden Found!

Last night, I was watching the evening news on Spanish TV1 and there was a news item about how the FBI had released digitally enhanced photos of bin Laden, as the Times put it: "showing how he might look today; one in his traditional outfit, the other showing him with trimmed beard and Western clothing."

 Here is the Spanish news report:



Well, imagine my surprise when I saw the photo of how he might look today with the beard shaved off. "I know that guy!" I said to my wife. "So that's where he's been hiding all this time. Its Gaspar Llamazares!"

Gaspar Llamazares is the IU left wing Spanish deputy and ex leader.

As the Telegraph reported:

"Using sophisticated digital enhancement techniques, forensic artists at the FBI’s laboratory in Quantico, Virginia have age progressed old photos of the 18 most wanted terrorist suspects.
"It is our hope that these digitally enhanced images will help someone recognise these terrorist suspects and then contact the Rewards for Justice program with information that leads to their apprehension," said Robert Eckert, assistant director for Diplomatic Security’s Threat Information and Analysis Directorate, which oversees the Rewards for Justice program.
"These new images are powerful examples of how advances in technology and science can be used to help find and bring to justice wanted persons,” said Louis E. Grever, Executive Assistant Director for the FBI's Science and Technology Branch.
“The FBI has and will continue to apply cutting-edge forensic, biometric, and technical capabilities to our most challenging cases. Together with our many partners, both here and abroad, we now call on the public to help us locate and take into custody those who threaten us," he added."

Dicho y hecho as we say in Spain - said and done. My e.mail was sent off to the FBI:

"I know where bin Laden is, thanks to your new digitally enhanced photos. He's going under an assumed name and living in Spain. He has managed to work himself into a Spanish political party and is representing the damn Commies. His new name is Gaspar LLamazares ex leader of the IU party.

I claim my $25 million reward.

Imagine my disappointment when I found out the "sophisticated digital enhancement techniques", "advances in technology and science" and "cutting-edge forensic, biometric, and technical capabilities" are in fact a bit of photo-shopping of a pic from Google Images!

  (the guy on the right is Llamazares)

Llamazares thought the whole thing was a joke at first, but when he realised it wasn't he started to take it seriously because, 'FBI errors affect citizens' security'. Llamazares also commented on the piss 'poor standards of US intelligence agencies'...

Llamazares has now said he wouldn't deam of traveling to the US again as he fears he could suffer "difficulties". In commentaries to Spanish National Radio (RNE) he said "La seguridad de Bin Laden no peligra, la mía sí" - "Bin Laden's security isn't in danger, mine is"

Llamazares was most probably thinking "Of all the faces in all the world and they have to use mine!"

Or as Cayo Lara actual leader of IU said:

'Of 6 billion inhabitants on this planet, and they had to choose Llamazares' photo to use as part of a new portrait of the most wanted terrorist in the world'
("Entre 6.000 millones habitantes que tiene el planeta, han tenido que elegir la fotografía de Llamazares para formar parte del retrato del terrorista más buscado del mundo".)

Stop Press:

Could it actually be Spanish TV chef Karlos Arguiñano??

13 January 2010

Reply to 'The Censor' Oliver Kamm: "the cause of jihadist rage against our side is not what we have done but what we are"

Oliver Kamm has now taken to censoring his blog. He has refused to publish my comments to his latest piece of facile, shallow opinion. Here they are anyway:

Kamm: "the cause of jihadist rage against our side is not what we have done but what we are...As Osama bin Laden stated on 23 February 1998..."

But, Mr Kamm, ObL wrote in his "letter to the American people" and published in the Observer on 30 November 2002:

"we form our reply based on two questions directed at the Americans:
"(Q1) Why are we fighting and opposing you?
Q2)What are we calling you to, and what do we want from you?
As for the first question: Why are we fighting and opposing you? The answer is very simple:
(1) Because you attacked us and continue to attack us.
a) You attacked us in Palestine:
(b) You attacked us in Somalia; you supported the Russian atrocities against us in Chechnya, the Indian oppression against us in Kashmir, and the Jewish aggression against us in Lebanon.
(c) Under your supervision, consent and orders, the governments of our countries which act as your agents, attack us on a daily basis;
d) You steal our wealth and oil at paltry prices because of you international influence and military threats. This theft is indeed the biggest theft ever witnessed by mankind in the history of the world.
(e) Your forces occupy our countries; you spread your military bases throughout them; you corrupt our lands, and you besiege our sanctities, to protect the security of the Jews and to ensure the continuity of your pillage of our treasures.
(f) You have starved the Muslims of Iraq, where children die every day. It is a wonder that more than 1.5 million Iraqi children have died as a result of your sanctions, and you did not show concern. Yet when 3000 of your people died, the entire world rises and has not yet sat down.
(g) You have supported the Jews in their idea that Jerusalem is their eternal capital, and agreed to move your embassy there. With your help and under your protection, the Israelis are planning to destroy the Al-Aqsa mosque. Under the protection of your weapons, Sharon entered the Al-Aqsa mosque, to pollute it as a preparation to capture and destroy it. "
See also articles:

"a mood of resentment toward America and its behavior around the world has become so commonplace in their countries that it was bound to breed hostility, and even hatred."
But the ultimate put-down to Mr Kamm's wild theory comes from Mike Scheuer, former head of the CIA's bin Laden Unit, and author of Imperial Hubris, when he was still in the CIA, in which this topic comes up again and again. A quote:

"the genesis, dimensions, and threat of the bin Laden problem...is knowable for anyone who takes the time to read and ponder a representative sample of relevant open-source literature. The conclusions a fair-minded individual would fraw from this endeavour would, I believe include the following...bin Laden was precise in telling America the reason's he is waging war on us. None of the reasons have anything to do with our freedom, liberty, and democracy, but everything to do with U.S. policies and actions in the Muslim world...Indeed, the United States, and its policies and actions, are bin Laden's only indispensable allies....Given that these easy-to-reach conclusions can be drawn from materials found in the public library, and on the internet, Americans should wonder why their political, intelligence, military and media leaders have not made them. The answer, I believe, lies in another point made by Robert Baer: "I know enough about the way Washington worked to know that when it did not like the some piece of informationit did everything in its power to discredit the messenger," he wrote in See No Evil."
(from Imperial Hubris, Anonymous -Mike Scheuer, Preface, pp. x-xi)

Rather similar to Mr Kamm's own modus operandi..."

I'm not the first however. Another person who occasionally posts on the Media Lens message board, 'macky' was "blocked by Kamm long before I started posting here, simply for once having the temerity to provide Hansard references when challenged to by Kamm, on Galloways’ record on opposition to Saddam. It sort of spoilt the little petulant & puerile anti-Galloway piece he had just written"

Another, who goes by the name of 'rippon', also wrote:

"I have apparently been barred from commenting on Oliver Kamm's blog.

Despite repeated attempts, he declines to publish my comment.

Although I disagree with the principle he espouses (that I should declare my 'membership' of Media Lens), I have nevertheless prefaced my comment with the parenthetical remark: "(I am a member of Media Lens.)"

Despite this, he still declines to publish my comment.

Does any other 'member' of ML find that this applies to them?

Kamm has replied to me that he is "not able to post" +his+ views at Media Lens.

I have sought (but not received) clarification on this from both ML and Kamm: Is Kamm not free (as free as me) to post on this message board?

[NB. The Editors of Media Lens confirmed: "Thanks Rippon. Kamm has not been prevented from posting here. Best Eds "]

Here is Kamm's e-mail to me in which he tries to explain his decision:

"Dear Mr Sketchley,

Thank you for posting comments at TimesOnline. As I've said to your comrades, I welcome contributions from Media Lensers, but I'm now turning my previous requests into a requirement. I'd be grateful if you would preface your remarks with the information that you're a member of Media Lens and that this is an organisation that denies the genocide at Srebrenica. As Media Lens members post assiduously on my bog, this is a mere courtesy to my regular readers to alert them to the provenance of these views.

Oliver Kamm
Leader Writer & Columnist

Mr.Kamm is a class A liar.

12 January 2010

Chris Hedges: Wall Street Will Be Back for More

If any of you who come across this blog find time to read anything at all, then please click on the links here and read Pulitzer-Prizewinner Chris Hedges' latest article on corporations , and bookmark his weekly column over at truthdig.com. You won't regret it. Chris Hedges comments in this article are spot on, as anyone who has worked in one of these corporations knows, and full of sense and sensitivity:

"Corporations, which control the levers of power in government and finance, promote and empower the psychologically maimed. Those who lack the capacity for empathy and who embrace the goals of the corporation—personal power and wealth—as the highest good succeed. Those who possess moral autonomy and individuality do not. And these corporate heads, isolated from the mass of Americans by insular corporate structures and vast personal fortunes, are no more attuned to the misery, rage and pain they cause than were the courtiers and perfumed fops who populated Versailles on the eve of the French Revolution. They play their games of high finance as if the rest of us do not exist. And it is a game that will kill us."

Read the rest over at truthdig.