bliar

I’M SURE EVERYTHING WILL BE FINE NOW

Climate change, tipping points, oil spill, radiation… all on the way to being fixed because according to the London Evening Standard, Tony is finally on the case.

Well, they use some interesting words. They don’t say “Tony Blair is set to turn his attention toward the serious environmental problems the world now faces. This comes following on from his success in bringing peace to the middle-east, prosperity in all of the UK and a fair and just society”. They don’t say that, as much as Saint Tony of The Church of You-Can-Question-My-Policy-But-Not-My-Motives would have liked them to. What they said was this…

“Tony Blair is set to earn millions of pounds advising an American businessman on how to make money from tackling climate change.

The former prime minister will be paid at least £700,000 a year to act as a “strategic adviser” to Khosla Ventures, a venture capitalist firm founded by Indian billionaire Vinod Khosla.”

Furthermore, if the Standard is right about this, then this not-at-all philanthropic gesture should be viewed in the context of a more pressing crisis that the bLIAR must solve…

He has told friends he needs £5 million a year to fund his lifestyle.

Tony, who has also secretly been a member of The Church of You-Could-Question-My-Motives-But-That-Really-Just-Means-You-Are-Trying-To-Be-Nasty-And-Obstructive for years had this to say…

“Solving the climate crisis is more than just a political agenda item; it’s an urgent priority that requires innovation, creativity and ambition.”

This is presumably the kind of innovation and blue sky thinking that consistently supported more coal and nuclear plants and oversaw a huge airport expansion program. Also, the environmental problems caused by invading countries on false pretexts are to be investigated in a government report that is due to give its findings when everyone is too busy dying of toxic poisoning and skin cancer to notice.

Finally, it is rumouored that Tony is set to join the The Church of I-Don’t-Give-Two-Sideways-F*cks-If-You-Question-My-Motives-Because-I-Am-Stinking-Rich.

YOU WON’T FIND THIS IN THE DAILY MAIL

John Pilgers latest article tells some harsh truths…

The military has created a wall of silence around its frequent resort to barbaric practices, including torture, and goes out of its way to avoid legal scrutiny.

Five photographs together break a silence. The first is of a former Gurkha regimental sergeant major, Tul Bahadur Pun, aged 87. He sits in a wheelchair outside 10 Downing Street. He holds a board full of medals, including the Victoria Cross, the highest award for bravery, which he won serving in the British army.

He has been refused entry to Britain and treatment for a serious heart ailment by the National Health Service: outrages rescinded only after a public campaign. On 25 June, he came to Downing Street to hand his Victoria Cross back to the Prime Minister, but Gordon Brown refused to see him.

The second photograph is of a 12-year-old boy, one of three children. They are Kuchis, nomads of Afghanistan. They have been hit by Nato bombs, American or British, and nurses are trying to peel away their roasted skin with tweezers. On the night of 10 June, NATO planes struck again, killing at least 30 civilians in a single village: children, women, schoolteachers, students. On 4 July, another 22 civilians died like this. All, including the roasted children, are described as “militants” or “suspected Taliban”. The Defence Secretary, Des Browne, says the invasion of Afghanistan is “the noble cause of the 21st century”.

The third photograph is of a computer-generated aircraft carrier not yet built, one of two of the biggest ships ever ordered for the Royal Navy. The £4bn contract is shared by BAE Systems, whose sale of 72 fighter jets to the corrupt tyranny in Saudi Arabia has made Britain the biggest arms merchant on earth, selling mostly to oppressive regimes in poor countries. At a time of economic crisis, Browne describes the carriers as “an affordable expenditure”.

The fourth photograph is of a young British soldier, Gavin Williams, who was “beasted” to death by three non-commissioned officers. This “informal summary punishment”, which sent his body temperature to more than 41 degrees, was intended to “humiliate, push to the limit and hurt”. The torture was described in court as a fact of army life.

The final photograph is of an Iraqi man, Baha Mousa, who was tortured to death by British soldiers. Taken during his post-mortem, it shows some of the 93 horrific injuries he suffered at the hands of men of the Queen’s Lancashire Regiment who beat and abused him for 36 hours, including double-hooding him with hessian sacks in stifling heat. He was a hotel receptionist. Although his murder took place almost five years ago, it was only in May this year that the Ministry of Defence responded to the courts and agreed to an independent inquiry. A judge has described this as a “wall of silence.”

A court martial convicted just one soldier of Mousa’s “inhumane treatment”, and he has since been quietly released. Phil Shiner of Public Interest Lawyers, representing the families of Iraqis who have died in British custody, says the evidence is clear — abuse and torture by the British army is systemic.

Shiner and his colleagues have witness statements and corroborations of prima facie crimes of an especially atrocious kind usually associated with the Americans. “The more cases I am dealing with, the worse it gets,” he says. These include an “incident” near the town of Majar al-Kabir in 2004, when British soldiers executed as many as 20 Iraqi prisoners after mutilating them. The latest is that of a 14-year-old boy who was forced to simulate anal and oral sex over a prolonged period.

“At the heart of the US and UK project,” says Shiner, “is a desire to avoid accountability for what they want to do. Guantanamo Bay and extraordinary renditions are part of the same struggle to avoid accountability through jurisdiction.” British soldiers, he says, use the same torture techniques as the Americans and deny that the European Convention on Human Rights, the Human Rights Act and the UN Convention on Torture apply to them. And British torture is “commonplace”: so much so, that “the routine nature of this ill-treatment helps to explain why, despite the abuse of the soldiers and cries of the detainees being clearly audible, nobody, particularly in authority, took any notice.”

Unbelievably, says Shiner, the Ministry of Defence under Tony Blair decided that the 1972 Heath government’s ban on certain torture techniques applied only in the UK and Northern Ireland. Consequently, “many Iraqis were killed and tortured in UK detention facilities”. Shiner is working on 46 horrific cases.

A wall of silence has always surrounded the British military, its arcane rituals, rites and practices and, above all, its contempt for the law and natural justice in its various imperial pursuits. For 80 years, the Ministry of Defence and compliant ministers refused to countenance posthumous pardons for terrified boys shot at dawn during the slaughter of the First World War. British soldiers used as guinea pigs during the testing of nuclear weapons in the Indian Ocean were abandoned, as were many others who suffered the toxic effects of the 1991 Gulf War. The treatment of Gurkha Tul Bahadur Pun is typical. Having been sent back to Nepal, many of these “soldiers of the Queen” have no pension, are deeply impoverished and are refused residence or medical help in the country for which they fought and for which 43,000 of them have died or been injured. The Gurkhas have won no fewer than 26 Victoria Crosses, yet Browne’s “affordable expenditure” excludes them.

An even more imposing wall of silence ensures that the British public remains largely unaware of the industrial killing of civilians in Britain’s modern colonial wars. In his landmark work Unpeople: Britain’s Secret Human Rights Abuses, the historian Mark Curtis uses three main categories: direct responsibility, indirect responsibility and active inaction.

“The overall figure [since 1945] is between 8.6 and 13.5 million,” Curtis writes, “Of these, Britain bears direct responsibility for between four million and six million deaths. This figure is, if anything, likely to be an underestimate. Not all British interventions have been included, because of lack of data.” Since his study was published, the Iraq death toll has reached, by reliable measure, a million men, women and children.

The spiraling rise of militarism within Britain is rarely acknowledged, even by those alerting the public to legislation attacking basic civil liberties, such as the recently drafted Data Communications Bill, which will give the government powers to keep records of all electronic communication. Like the plans for identity cards, this is in keeping what the Americans call “the national security state”, which seeks the control of domestic dissent while pursuing military aggression abroad. The £4bn aircraft carriers are to have a “global role”. For global read colonial. The Ministry of Defence and the Foreign Office follow Washington’s line almost to the letter, as in Browne’s preposterous description of Afghanistan as a noble cause. In reality, the US-inspired NATO invasion has had two effects: the killing and dispossession of large numbers of Afghans, and the return of the opium trade, which the Taliban had banned. According to Hamid Karzai, the west’s puppet leader, Britain’s role in Helmand Province has led directly to the return of the Taliban.

The militarizing of how the British state perceives and treats other societies is vividly demonstrated in Africa, where ten out of 14 of the most impoverished and conflict-ridden countries are seduced into buying British arms and military equipment with “soft loans.” Like the British royal family, the British Prime Minister simply follows the money. Having ritually condemned a despot in Zimbabwe for “human rights abuses” — in truth, for no longer serving as the west’s business agent – and having obeyed the latest US dictum on Iran and Iraq, Brown set off recently for Saudi Arabia, exporter of Wahhabi fundamentalism and wheeler of fabulous arms deals.

To complement this, the Brown government is spending £11bn of taxpayers’ money on a huge, privatized military academy in Wales, which will train foreign soldiers and mercenaries recruited to the bogus “war on terror”. With arms companies such as Raytheon profiting, this will become Britain’s “School of the Americas,” a center for counter-insurgency (terrorist) training and the design of future colonial adventures.

It has had almost no publicity.

Of course, the image of militarist Britain clashes with a benign national regard formed, wrote Tolstoy, “from infancy, by every possible means — class books, church services, sermons, speeches, books, papers, songs, poetry, monuments [leading to] people stupefied in the one direction”. Much has changed since he wrote that. Or has it? The shabby, destructive colonial war in Afghanistan is now reported almost entirely through the British army, with squaddies always doing their Kipling best, and with the Afghan resistance routinely dismissed as “outsiders” and “invaders”. Pictures of nomadic boys with NATO-roasted skin almost never appear in the press or on television, nor the after-effects of British thermobaric weapons, or “vacuum bombs,” designed to suck the air out of human lungs. Instead, whole pages mourn a British military intelligence agent in Afghanis tan, because she happens to have been a 26-year-old woman, the first to die in active service since the 2001 invasion.

Baha Mousa, tortured to death by British soldiers, was also 26 years old. But he was different. His father, Daoud, says that the way the Ministry of Defence has behaved over his son’s death convinces him that the British government regards the lives of others as “cheap”. And he is right.

WRONG

Sometimes it is helpful to get a reminder of what ‘wrong’ actually means…

dictionary.com describes it as – 1.not in accordance with what is morally right or good: a wrong deed.

from the bbc

Bush to hail Iraq war ‘success’

President Bush 18/3/08

Mr Bush’s Iraq policy has proved deeply unpopular at home

US President George W Bush is due to deliver an upbeat assessment of the war in Iraq in a speech marking the fifth anniversary of the invasion. In his address at the Pentagon, Mr Bush is expected to defend the decision to go to war, and say the fight is one America can and must win.

He is also likely to argue that Iraq would descend into chaos should the US pull its forces out of the country.

The speech comes amid growing disenchantment with the war in the US.

Mr Bush will go on the offensive against critics of the war, accusing them of exaggerating its financial cost.

He is also expected to say that if the US does not “stay the course” in Iraq, it will become a haven for terrorists who could attack America.

And he will highlight the “surge” policy of the past year – the deployment of thousands of extra US troops in Baghdad and surrounding provinces, and the subsequent fall in levels of violence.

U PO KYIN TO LECTURE AT YALE

Tony bLIAR is to lead some classes at Yale University on Faith™ and globalisation($).

Now aside from the further proof that the man has no shame whatsoever, this put me in mind U Po Kyin, a character from the Orwell novel Burmese Days.

U Po Kyin was a corrupt and scheming magistrate in the days of the British Empire. He tried to deceive and steal from both the population of his own country and that of the invaders.  He believed that by using some of his misappropriated wealth to construct pagodas he would do his karma no end of good and therefore be reincarnated as at least some sort of noble beast like a male elephant, which he ranked above being reincarnated as a woman.

At least the pagodas U Po Kyin might have built had he not died without his karma being improved might have had some architectural quality to them. With bLIAR preaching faith and globalisation we are only likely to get nuclear missiles with ‘blessed are the meek‘ written on them and a new piety section in the prefabricated Walmarts that are likely to spring up everywhere.

As he lectures his students I wonder if he will remember the part of the bible about the only time Jesus got extremely angry and threw the money-lenders out the temple or the bit about thou shalt not kill.

ROME IN THE TIME OF THE CHAKA DEMUS & PLIERS

I once turned down a totally free, all expenses paid trip to Rome.

I was 17 years old and still at a catholic school, though I had long given up any interest in the religion and had in fact come to resent it because of a number of things that had happened. [1]

The occasion I was being offered the trip to Rome for was one of the Scottish catholic archbishops being made into a cardinal. The catholic schools in Glasgow each had to send two students as representatives.

Even though I had never shown any interest in the religion I was asked to go to represent the school. A possible reason is that a girl I was friendly with at the time was selected as the female representative and she suggested me. Another is that they were trying to ‘wow’ me into it (you know, the majesty of Rome and the Vatican and everything).

I did consider it briefly (free trip to Rome after all) but quickly decided against it and recommended a good friend of mine instead, who duly went.

I remember everyone being nonplussed with my decision.

‘Why are you turning this down?’

‘Cos I think it is a lot of horse shite.’

‘Free trip to Rome ya tit.’

etc

Since then I have been locked into a cycle of being happy that I did the right thing morally and refused to go on some junket because I didn’t believe in the whole thing and thinking I was stupid for turning down the trip, especially because I haven’t been there since.

The second feeling was exacerbated by the tales of the holiday my friend told me. It turned out to be mostly sightseeing and free or cheap wine and champagne with only a little bit of religion thrown in. Maybe I could just have ignored the religion stuff and seen a bit of the world?

The odd thing is that a lot of the people who were saying I should just hang the religion and take the trip for the sake of the trip were religious people. An ex-girlfriend of mine was aghast and couldn’t see why I didn’t just go. I would have thought that people who actually believe in these things would have been happy that I made the correct moral choice and gave the trip to someone who would appreciate it more and not be tempted to stand at the back and shout ‘rubbish’ all the way through the ceremony.

Apparently not.

However, I have had the chance to do my fair share of travelling since then so it doesn’t seem so bad now.

Also, some of the pronouncements of the man that was made into a Cardinal have made me very happy about my decision.

Cardinal Thomas Winning was a man who thought that discrimination against gays was “not unjust” and that homesexuality is a “a disorder… that’s got to be… dealt with”. He also made another amount of bizarre and intolerant statements that made me glad of my decision not to attend.

Oh, and Tony Blair liked him too, so I obviously did the right thing.

[1] One of the things that had happened was that at my cousin’s confirmation a different bishop stood up and made his little speech which included a disgusting section about abuse. There had been a child abuse scandal involving the church, which he admitted was a bad thing. However, he said that far worse than this was ‘spiritual abuse’ of a child, which he defined as not bringing the child up to be a proper catholic.

Every parent in the room was furious and I waited for the meet and greet bit at the end and gave him a piece of my mind, which, being a bishop he certainly didn’t seem used to.

“UNLIKE YOU, WE HAVE NO ILLUSIONS”

An excellent article from John Pilger in the Guardian

Left for dead by New Labour, liberal Britain must urgently fight back

Blair and his cult have wrecked the very beliefs millions thought they were voting for. The time for direct action is now

The former Murdoch retainer Andrew Neil has described James Murdoch, the heir apparent, as a “social liberal”. What strikes me is his casual use of “liberal” for the new ruler of an empire devoted to the promotion of war, conquest and human division. Neil’s view is not unusual. In the murdochracy that Britain has largely become, once noble terms such as democracy, reform, even freedom itself, have long been emptied of their meaning. In the years leading to Tony Blair’s election, liberal commentators vied in their Tonier-than-thou obeisance to such a paragon of “reborn liberalism”. In these pages in 1995, Henry Porter celebrated an almost mystical politician who “presents himself as a harmoniser for all the opposing interests in British life, a conciliator of class differences and tribal antipathies, a synthesiser of opposing beliefs”. Blair was, of course, the diametric opposite.

As events have demonstrated, Blair and the cult of New Labour have destroyed the very liberalism millions of Britons thought they were voting for. This truth is like a taboo and was missing almost entirely from last week’s Guardian debate about civil liberties. Gone is the bourgeoisie that in good times would extend a few rungs of the ladder to those below. From Blair’s pseudo-moralising assault on single parents a decade ago to Peter Hain’s recent attacks on the disabled, the “project” has completed the work of Thatcher and all but abolished the premises of tolerance and decency, however amorphous, on which much of British public life was based. The trade-off has been mostly superficial “social liberalism” and the highest personal indebtedness on earth. In 2007, reported the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, the United Kingdom faced the highest levels of inequality for 40 years, with the rich getting richer and the poor poorer and more and more segregated from society. The International Monetary Fund has designated Britain a tax haven, and corruption and fraud in British business are almost twice the global average, while Unicef reports that British children are the most neglected and unhappiest in the “rich” world.

(more…)

A FACT

I can’t remember who I got this from so thanks to whoever it was but I just wanted to reprint it…

Price of a share of Halliburton stock:

March 19, 2003: $20.50
March 18, 2007: $64.12 (adjusted for a split in 2006)

Who stands to benefit from Iraq? Well, as if you didn’t know, there is one of your answers.

I also heard that many of the contracts in Iraq are awarded on a cost plus basis. That means that however badly a given contractor messes things up they still get their costs back plus a percentage on top of that. This is why the price of simple things seems mysteriously high.

CLASS IS STILL THE ISSUE

Pilger’s Latest From the New Statesman6 Sept 2007
In his latest column for the New Statesman, John Pilger describes the parallel worlds of the great ‘unmentionable’, class, in modern Britain: in the streets and in the media.A state of parallel worlds determines almost everything we do and how we do it, everything we know and how we know it. The word that once described it, class, is unmentionable, just as imperialism used to be. Thanks to George W Bush, the latter is back in the lexicon in Britain, if not at the BBC.

Class is different. It runs too deep; it allows us to connect the present with the past and to understand the malignancies of a modern economic system based on inequity and fear. So it is seldom spoken about publicly, lest a Goldman Sachs chief executive on multimillions in pay or bonuses, or whatever they call their legalised heists, be asked how it feels to walk past office cleaners struggling on the minimum wage.

Just as elite power seeks to order other countries according to the demands of its privilege, so class remains at the root of our own society’s mutations and sorrows. In recent weeks, the killing of an 11-year-old Liverpool boy and other tragedies involving children have been thoroughly tabloided. Interviewing Keith Vaz, chairman of the House of Commons home affairs select committee, one journalist wondered if “we” should go out and deal personally with our vile, mugging, stabbing, shooting youth. To this, the nodding Vaz replied that the problem was “values”.

The main “value” is ruthless exclusion, such as the exile of millions of young people on vast human landfills (rubbish dumps) called housing estates, where they are forearmed with the knowledge that they are different and schools are not for them. A rigid curriculum, a system devoted to testing child-ren beyond all reason, ensures their alienation. “From the age of seven,” says Shirley Franklin of the Institute of Education, “20 per cent of the
nation’s children are seen, and see themselves, as failures . . . Violence is an expression of hatred towards oneself and others.” With the all-digital world of promise and rewards denied them, let alone a sense of belonging and esteem, they move logically to the streets and crime.

And yet, since 1995, actual crime in England and Wales has fallen by 42 per cent and violent crime by 41 per cent. No matter. The “violence of youth” is the accredited hysteria. A government led for a decade by a man whose lawless deceit helped cause the violent deaths of perhaps a million people in Iraq invented an acronym – Asbo – for a campaign against British youth, whose prospects and energy and hope were replaced by the “values” expressed by Keith Vaz and exemplified by Goldman Sachs and the current imperial adventures in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Take Afghanistan, where the irony is searing. In less than seven years, the Anglo-American slaughter of countless “Taliban” (people) has succeeded in spectacularly reviving an almost extinct poppy trade, so that it now supplies the demand for heroin on Britain’s poorest streets, where enlightened drug rehabilitation is not considered a government “value”.

Parallel worlds require other elite forms of exclusion. At the Edinburgh Television Festival on 24 August, the famous BBC presenter Jeremy Paxman made a much-hyped speech “attacking” television for “betray[ing] the people we ought to be serving”. What was revealing about the speech was the attitude towards ordinary viewers it betrayed. According to Paxman, “while the media and politicians feel free to criticise each other, neither has the guts to criticise the public, who are presumed never to be wrong”.

In fact, ordinary people are treated in much of the media as invisible or with contempt, or they are patronised. Two honourable exceptions were the GMTV presenters cited and mocked by Paxman for their humanity in standing up for an ex-soldier denied proper treatment by the National Health Service. Paxman called for a more “sophisticated” and “honest” approach that accepted the public’s approval of low taxes — taxes that are not rationed when it comes to propping up hugely profitable private finance initiatives in the Health Service or squandered on waging war, regardless of the public’s objections.

Not once in his speech did Paxman refer to Iraq, nor did he tell us why Blair was never seriously challenged on that bloodbath in a broadcast interview. That the BBC had played a critical role in amplifying and echoing Blair’s and Bush’s lies was apparently unmentionable. The coming attack on Iran, led again by propaganda filtered through broadcasting, is from the same parallel world, also unmentionable.