War On Terror

On The World Scene – 1

One of the more common arguments given in support of the Union is that an independent Scotland would not be able to project itself onto the world scene the way the UK does.

619“Hopefully not” would be my answer so here is a little series on how the UK projects itself in some cases around the world. Do you enjoy being part of this? This is from the Guardian…

Reprieve files for judicial review over export of British drone parts to US

Campaign group brings challenge on behalf of Pakistani villager, claiming UK companies should be denied licences to sell abroad

The export of British-manufactured parts for American drones used in clandestine CIA strikes in Pakistan is facing a legal challenge from the campaign group Reprieve. The London-based human rights organisation is to apply for a judicial review of the way in which the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) operates government export controls.

It is bringing the action on behalf of Malik Jalal, an elder of the Manzar Kel tribe who lives in Waziristan. His region of north-west Pakistan has been attacked repeatedly by US drones, known officially as “unmanned aerial vehicles” (UAVs), targeting Taliban and al-Qaida supporters.

Human rights groups says that Pakistani villagers are the main victims of the US drone programme, which is directed by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).

According to Reprieve, a tribal gathering in the area was struck by a drone in March 2011 and 50 people were killed; several of Jalal’s relatives were among the injured.

“As a result of the UAV strikes, Malik Jalal and others residing in the area live in constant fear,” Reprieve wrote in a letter to BIS.

Furthermore, last week on the site of the human rights group that are bringing the action, this was posted…

The British government is refusing to grant visas to three Pakistani drone strike victims, including Noor Khan, who is suing the UK over its role in intelligence-sharing with the CIA. All three men had been invited to speak at a Parliamentary meeting on drones that was scheduled to take place today. Last week, the Rehman family – whose grandmother was killed in a drone strike – travelled to the US to speak at a Congressional hearing having been grantedvisas.

Confusion Reigns

According the the Scotsman and many other news outlets William Hague will say that the drive for Scottish Independence is met with “bafflement” as you go around the world.

Now we might choose to look at this in a couple of ways. _991063_hague300The first is that it is simply being misreported and the correct story is that it is William Hague himself, and how he could ever be in a position of power, that is met with bafflement.

That would be too obvious though, so I won’t say it (oops, must have been those 14 pints).

The second is that it is far from being true. I tend to travel around quite a bit and reactions range from “I thought you were already independent” to “yeah, good luck to you”. My friends that have jobs that move them around a lot also tell me similar stories. Occasionally people ask if we can afford it. When it is explained how we can, the reaction is usually “well, why aren’t you independent already?”.

All that said, the more interesting parts of the speech, which is being reported uncritically in many news outlets before it has been made (a bit of judicious leaking or just agenda-setting?),  come later.

As so much of the Better Together campaign so far, it is a mix of own-trumpet-blowing without substantive facts and largely unveiled threats. Let’s take two more little pieces…

The first is talking about world reaction to the UK…

They speak in awe of our institutions, our civil service and our legal systems. They admire the richness and diversity of our culture, language, history, sport and traditions…

ukDo you remember the old joke about the Queen thinking the world smells of fresh paint because everywhere she goes someone has just been putting a new coat on everything? Well how do you think people react when a foreign dignitary comes to town?

A second way to look at that would of course be to suggest that even if those institutions are/were the bastions of quality and fairness (which is an idea I have serious doubts about) that Hague seems to think, or wants to pretend that he thinks, his government is doing the best it can to destroy all those institutions as quickly as possible.

Don’t worry though, England may have lost its health service, but the UK has got a “nudge” unit as compensation.

Saving the best for last however, here is the threat

In the address in Edinburgh, Mr Hague will also warn that an independent Scotland would lose access to Britain’s expertise in intelligence and security services if it decided to vote “yes” next year.

So… a Government whose avowed intention is to combat terror and that supposedly likes peace in the world, even if it has always had an extremely odd way of showing it, will hang its friendly neighbour out to dry.

Scots, don’t you feel reassured that the UK just loves you? Don’t you want to stay as part of such a non self-aggrandising and philanthropic organisation?




Back in April
I suggested that we should do a little pre-emptive strike and come up with the title for Bush’s memoirs.

Now that it is out with the title Decision Points we can look back at some of the best ones that were posted here, on opednews and on Twitter.

Looking back is what Bush is doing and apparently his low point was when Kanye West called him a racist. That means his low point was not when all those people in New Orleans died unnecessarily on his watch or the possible million people that were killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. Nope, those things don’t count. Someone calling him a name was much worse apparently.

Anyway, here we go and let’s not forget that the most honest title would be War Criminal …

Detonation Point – Tom K

How I Won a War Without Knowing Shi’ite from Shinola or Mein Humpf – Jay Farrington

I, George Bush, Symbol of America – Daniel Geery

A President’s Race to the Historical Bottom – Charles Klaer

The next few I forgot or lost who. Most of them were myself and friends….

Far From the Maddened Crowd

Diary of A. Hole, Mental Age 5 and a half

Bleats, Shoots and Leaves

War Criminal

Dick Cheney and The Half-Dumb Dunce

Minority Report –  The Curmudgeon

Vendetta: A Son’s tale


This piece from Gil Scott-Heron is well worth the listen, particularly today when there will be so much other political theatre with the Milliband thing. This type of theatre is often designed to obfuscate what is really going and has been going on for centuries.

Lyrics are below if you need them.

Back when Eisenhower was the President,

Golf courses was where most of his time was spent.

So I never really listened to what the President said,

Because in general I believed that the General was politically dead.

But he always seemed to know when the muscles were about to be flexed,

Because I remember him saying something,

mumbling something about a Military Industrial Complex.

Americans no longer fight to keep their shores safe,

Just to keep the jobs going in the arms making workplace.

Then they pretend to be gripped by some sort of political reflex,

But all they’re doing is

paying dues to the Military Industrial Complex.

The Military and the Monetary,

The Military and the Monetary,

The Military and the Monetary.

The Military and the Monetary,

get together whenever they think its necessary,

They turn our brothers and sisters into mercenaries,

they are turning the planet into a cemetery.

The Military and the Monetary, use the media as intermediaries,

they are determined to keep the citizens secondary,

they make so many decisions that are arbitrary.

We’re marching behind a commander in chief,

who is standing under a spotlight shaking like a leaf.

but the ship of state had landed on an economic reef,

so we knew he was going to bring us messages of grief.

The Military and the Monetary,

were shielded by January and went storming into February,

Brought us pot bellied generals as luminaries,

two weeks ago I hadn’t heard of the son of a bitch,

now all of a sudden he’s legendary.

They took the honour from the honourary,

they took the dignity from the dignitaries,

they took the secrets from the secretary,

but they left the bitch an obituary.

The Military and the Monetary,

from thousands of miles away in a Saudi Arabian sanctuary,

had us all scrambling for our dictionaries,

cause we couldn’t understand the fuckin vocabulary.

Yeah, there was some smart bombs,

but there was some dumb ones as well,

scared the hell out of CNN in that Baghdad hotel.

The Military and the Monetary,

they get together whenever they think its necessary,

War in the desert sometimes sure is scary,

but they beamed out the war to all their subsidiaries.

Tried to make So Damn Insane a worthy adversary,

keeping the citizens secondary,

scaring old folks into coronaries.

The Military and the Monetary,

from thousands of miles in a Saudi Arabian sanctuary,

kept us all wondering if all of this was really truely, necessary.

We’ve got to work for Peace,

Peace ain’t coming this way.

If we only work for Peace,

If everyone believed in Peace the way they say they do,

we’d have Peace.

The only thing wrong with Peace,

is that you can’t make no money from it.

The Military and the Monetary,

they get together whenever they think its necessary,

they’ve turned our brothers and sisters into mercenaries,

they are turning the planet, into a cemetery.

Got to work for Peace,

Peace ain’t coming this way.

We should not allow ourselves to be mislead,

by talk of entering a time of Peace,

Peace is not the absence of war,

it is the absence of the rules of war and

the threats of war and the preparation for war.

Peace is not the absence of war,

it is the time when we will all bring ourselves closer to each other,

closer to building a structure that is unique within ourselves

because we have finally come to Peace within ourselves.

The Military and the Monetary,

The Military and the Monetary,

The Military and the Monetary.

Get together whenever they think its necessary,

they’ve turned our brothers and sisters into mercenaries,

they are turning parts of the planet, into a cemetery.

The Military and the Monetary,

The Military and the Monetary,

We hounded the Ayatollah religiously,

Bombed Libya and killed Quadafi’s son hideously.

We turned our back on our allies the Panamanians,

and saw Ollie North selling guns to the Iranians.

Watched Gorbachev slaughtering Lithuanians,

We better warn the Amish,

they may bomb the Pennsylvanians.

The Military and the Monetary,

get together whenever they think its necessary,

they have turned our brothers and sisters into mercenaries,

they are turning the planet, into a cemetery.

I don’t want to sound like no late night commercial,

but its a matter of fact that there are

thousands of children all over the world

in Asia and Africa and in South America who need our help.

When they start talking about 55 cents a day and 70 cents a day,

I know a lot of folks feel as though that,

thats not really any kind of contribution to make,

but we had to give up a dollar

and a half just to get in the subway nowadays.

So this is a song about tommorrow

and about how tommorrow can be better. if we all,

“Each one reach one, Each one try to teach one”.

Nobody can do everything,

but everybody can do something,

everyone must play a part,

everyone got to go to work, Work for Peace.

Spirit Say Work, Work for Peace

If you believe the things you say, go to work.

If you believe in Peace, time to go to work.

Cant be wavin your head no more, go to work.


Today is the anniversary of the Guernica bombings where German and Italian fascist forces killed hundreds of people in the Basque town in  the first large scale aerial bombing attack in history.

The story of this event is known to most people. What is less well-known is something that happened more recently.

The above picture is Picass0’s famous work depicting the scene. This work is reproduced in the United Nation’s building in New York and when Colin Powell made his bulls**t speech at the UN , which he later described as “not his finest moment” (oh well that’s fine then), the painting was covered so that it wasn’t in the background.

Diplomats later told journalists that the Bush administration had “leaned on” UN officials to cover it up.


The BBC today carried this story…

Fallujah doctors report rise in birth defects

Doctors in the Iraqi city of Fallujah are reporting a high level of birth defects, with some blaming weapons used by the US after the Iraq invasion.

They are reporting this only several years after independent journalists, medical organisations and several websites have been saying the same thing. Even other mainstream media sources reported it long ago. Nevertheless, I suppose we must conclude that only 4 or 5 years off the pace is an improvement for the BBC.

However, they managed to report the story without once saying “depleted uranium” or “white phosphorus”. They instead preferred to use more neutral phrases like “the highly sophisticated weapons the US troops used in Fallujah six years ago.”