French Colonialists Not Done Yet

They also said the closure of French bases in Africa was misguided, as the continent was certain to see European military intervention in the coming decade.

The serving officers said the new defence policy was, above all, a cost-cutting exercise. They criticised the plans to slim down the army to an operational force of 88,000 personnel, saying the conflicts on the future would demand more ground troops.

Their certainty is eerie…But as they go down a neoliberal shock treatment path such acquisitive colonialism might well be on the cards. Expect France’s enviable Gini index to rise as the haves, get more. As a US admiring workaholic corporate technocrat tells FranceEnough thinking, already. Roll up your sleeves.”

The second thing, which is actually a real process that we went through, is to try to remove the obstacles to growth. To that end, President Sarkozy has an interesting process. He gives his Ministers a big job to do, so you’re so overwhelmed by the job. For instance, it is the first time ever that there is a Ministry of Economy, Finance and Employment; that had never occurred before. Then he appoints a commission with some very competent people, with a chairman to make additional proposals so that the Prime Minister who is overwhelmed with work has actually somebody at his sides saying “Hey! You forgot something, you should do this, do that, you should add to the list”. That’s actually a great way to stimulate thinking – I’ll come to the innovation and the creativity in a minute- that’s almost putting corporate methods into public life and government actions, by having those consultants on the side, to suggest what pretty much everybody knows, except it needs to be a little more refined; the mission is quite specific by having those consultants on the side to make additional suggestions.

Now what does that remind me of?

Another Right Wing Terror Plot With Little Media Attention

“The comrade arrested was mart88 yes the yorkshire organiser of the BPP.I know him quite well and have seen the nail bombs the police talk about on webcam, there are instructions on the internet on how to make them and belive me they are very simple.I just wish martyn could of let the bombs off down the local mosque before he was arrested, he has done time before and wont have a problem doing it again.This kind of activism is whats needed comrades, HAIL MARTYN AND HAIL COMBAT 18 NO SURRENDER, NO RETREAT 1488 “

a Nazi forum via Indymedia.

D-Notice, Lenin & The Yorkshire Ranter have this, the BBC report (and they aren’t many others) says-

A man who wanted to save Britain from “multi-racial peril” made nail bombs to further his cause through terror attacks, a court has heard. Martyn Gilleard, 31, “admired Nazism” and had links to white supremacist organisations, a jury at Leeds Crown Court was told.

Officers also discovered “potentially lethal bladed weapons”, 34 bullets for a 2.2 calibre firearm and printouts from the internet about committing acts of terrorism, Mr Edis said. These included instructions on how to make a bomb and how to poison someone to death, he added.

The jury heard how other material found at the flat revealed Mr Gilleard was “a man of white supremacist groupings” and had an agenda similar to the National Socialists, or Nazis. Describing the contents of one document written by Mr Gilleard, Mr Edis said: “He had come to decide that it was time to stop talking and start acting.

Unsurprisingly the tabloid press have not embarked on panic mongering about the threat of fascist terror from white people. After all there isn’t a country full of them our -white- elites want to other and invade…

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Culture For ‘Em- The Shortest Night

No that isn’t my house, it’s the wee cottage next door currently for sale for an unearthly amount (second home owners, bah!). Anyway, shot by my fair hands and… erm a Sony DV cam, had to site it indoors as bad weather was on the way, this years midsummer night (and yes, I did dream!). Throughout June it never really gets dark here and minus light polluting street lamps you can actually see that (even if the camera is not quite sensitive enough to register the glowing horizon, some long exposure still shots might be in order at some point). The occasional flashes on the left are a lighthouse caught irregularly by the time lapsed shutter.

Meanwhile battening down the hatches (rare my arse!) and even the fast things are slow now.

SOFA- Colonial Charter Drafting Began Almost 5 Years Ago

Documents obtained by the National Security Archive under the Freedom of Information Act indicate that the U.S. started drafting the agreement in November 2003.  While information available in the heavily redacted copies that were provided does not specifically address such hot-button, present-day issues as the number and location of bases, or control of airspace, these preliminary planning documents show that from the outset U.S. aspirations for conducting military operations based in Iraq were essentially without limit.

The Bush administration had initially hoped to see the security pact accepted by an interim Iraqi Governing Council that it itself had appointed.  The documents outline a number of “red lines” that the Defense Department and the Central Command considered crucial during the early planning, including unlimited authority to conduct military operations; the “absolute” prerogative to detain, interrogate and intern Iraqis; the right to establish its own rules of engagement; complete freedom of movement entering, departing, and within Iraq; full immunity for U.S. forces and contractors; immunity from international tribunals; and exemption from inspections, taxes, and duties.

The U.S. sought in 2003 and seeks in 2008 the prerogative to use Iraqi land and facilities, unconditional immunity for Coalition military forces and contractors, and virtually unlimited freedom of action.  The administration wanted the Security Agreement to be approved by the U.S.-appointed Iraqi Governing Council by March 31, 2004, before establishment of an interim Iraqi government in late June 2004 and the election of a Transitional National Assembly in January 2005.

Lots more detail here.

Friday! Jam- Symptomless Coma

Brought to mind by Chalmers Johnson on Our ‘Managed Democracy’ by Sheldon S. Wolin.

“Our thesis … is this: it is possible for a form of totalitarianism, different from the classical one, to evolve from a putatively ‘strong democracy’ instead of a ‘failed’ one.”

And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead

(Reuters) – New estimates of war deaths in 13 nations including Vietnam, Ethiopia and Bangladesh show that previous counts vastly understated the lives lost to war in the past half century, researchers said on Thursday. The new estimates relied on data from nationally representative population surveys done by the U.N. World Health Organization in these countries earlier this decade to calculate death tolls in wars waged from 1955 to 2002.

In most of the countries, this method pointed to much higher loss of life than broadly cited media estimates of the various war death counts had shown, the researchers said. For example, the method indicated 3.8 million Vietnamese died in the protracted fighting in Vietnam, mostly from 1955 to 1975, compared to previous estimates cited by the researchers of 2.1 million. Christopher Murray of the University of Washington said the findings, published in the British Medical Journal, suggest standard ways of tracking war deaths using media, eyewitness and combatant accounts tend to underestimate deaths, particularly in smaller wars. Ziad Obermeyer of Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, another of the researchers, said accurate estimates of death tolls during wartime are extremely difficult to make. He also said the findings undercut the idea that the advent of modern weapons like “smart bombs” had made war less lethal.

But…

The study did not look at war dead in Iraq or Afghanistan.

Because that is a topical example of ruling elites and their media chums hiding corpses from view. Although also rather pathetically even people who claim anti-war positions still refuse to use Lancet or Orb figures, I think because they simply can’t get past their nationalistic ego of we can’t be as evil as those… others. Yeah, because no one ever told themselves that as they stuffed people into gas chambers…

Naked Lunch

Nearly four decades after the four biggest Western oil companies were expelled from Iraq by Saddam Hussein, they are negotiating their return. By the end of the month, Royal Dutch Shell, BP, Exxon Mobil and Total will sign agreements with the Baghdad government, Iraq’s first with big Western oil firms since the US-led invasion in 2003.

The deals are for repair and technical support in some of the country’s largest oilfields, the Oil Ministry in Baghdad said yesterday. The return of “Big Oil” will add to the suspicions of those in the Middle East who claimed that the overthrow of Saddam was secretly driven by the West’s desire to gain control of Iraq’s oil. It will also be greeted with dismay by many Iraqis who fear losing control of their vast oil reserves.

The companies have the option of being paid in cash or crude oil for the deals, each of which will reportedly be worth $500m (£250m). For Iraq, the agreements are a way of accessing foreign expertise immediately, before the Iraqi parliament passes a controversial new hydrocarbons law.

But they mean that the four oil companies, which originally formed the Iraq Petroleum Company to exploit Iraqi oil from the 1920s until the industry’s nationalisation in 1972, will be well-placed to bid for contracts for the long-term development of these fields. The oilfields affected are some of the largest in Iraq, from Kirkuk in the north to Rumaila, on the border with Kuwait. Although there is oil in northern Iraq, most of the reserves are close to Basra, in the far south.

The nationalisation of Iraq’s oil is one the few acts of Saddam Hussein’s long years in power which is still highly popular, and Iraqi members of parliament are fearful of anything that looks like back-door privatisation in the interests of foreigners.

UK Number 1!

Britain was the world’s biggest arms seller last year, accounting for a third of global arms exports, the Government’s trade promotion organisation said.

UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) said that arms exporters had added £9.7 billion in new business last year, giving them a larger share of global arms exports than the United States.

“As demonstrated by this outstanding export performance, the UK has a first-class defence industry, with some of the world’s most technologically sophisticated companies,” Digby Jones, the Minister for Trade and Investment, said.

Digby does like the shade of scarlet his hands are,

The US is still the world’s biggest exporter over the past five years, with $63 billion in total arms exports. Britain was second with $53 billion and Russia third with $33 billion.

But as the Raytheon 9 have shown stopping war crimes at the weapon making source is a much better idea for a growth industry.

5 War Criminals

  • David Addington
  • Timothy E. Flanigan
  • Alberto Gonzales
  • William J. Haynes II
  • John Yoo

The quintet of lawyers, who called themselves the “War Council,” drafted legal opinions that circumvented the military’s code of justice, the federal court system and America’s international treaties in order to prevent anyone — from soldiers on the ground to the president — from being held accountable for activities that at other times have been considered war crimes.

H. CON. RES. 362 -Calling For The Naval Blockade of Iran

H.Con.Res. 362, new resolution introduced on May 22, 2008 by Representatives Gary Ackerman (D-NY) and Mike Pence (R-IN), is raising controversy in Washington and across the country.  There is a particular clause that some many fear is tantamount to declaring that the President should pursue a naval blockade against Iran, which would be an act of war.

The bill was introduced just prior to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee Annual Policy Meeting and urging co-sponsorship is one of AIPAC’s central legislative asks.  They are currently circulating a letter in support of H.Con.Res. 362 and the Senate companion, S.Res. 580.

According to the House leadership, this resolution is going to “pass like a hot knife through butter” before the end of June on what is called suspension — meaning no amendments can be introduced during the 20-minute maximum debate.  It also means it is assumed the bill will pass by a 2/3 majority and is noncontroversial.  As of June 18, the bill already has 169 co-sponsors.  If and when the bill is voted on suspension, there will be a roll call vote and AIPAC will use how members voted on the resolution in the lead up to the elections.

When Representative Dennis Kucinich introduced articles of impeachment against Vice-President Cheney, and then against President Bush, one of his key accusations was that the Bush Administration has tried to lead the United States into war with Iran. So you might have thought that Members of Congress who signed on to the impeachment crusade shared Rep. Kucinich’s critique of U.S. saber-rattling towards Iran.

If you thought that, you might want to think again. The evidence is, shall we say, mixed. Representative Robert Wexler, who has made support of impeachment a signature issue, has signed on to a House resolution promoted by AIPAC that appears to endorse a naval blockade of Iran. A naval blockade would, of course, be an act of war. If not sanctioned by the UN Security Council – and there is no reason to believe that it would be – it would be a war crime. The resolution makes no mention of seeking Security Council approval.

As well as AIPAC the American Jewish Committee is working to get this resolution passed but they do not mention the part that would enable a Naval Blockade, they call it an urgent effort—economic, political, and diplomatic—to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.

If it were just that it would not have this key part buried in the penultimate paragraph of the resolution –

(3) demands that the President initiate an international effort to immediately and dramatically increase the economic, political, and diplomatic pressure on Iran to verifiably suspend its nuclear enrichment activities by, inter alia, prohibiting the export to Iran of all refined petroleum products; imposing stringent inspection requirements on all persons, vehicles, ships, planes, trains, and cargo entering or departing Iran; and prohibiting the international movement of all Iranian officials not involved in negotiating the suspension of Iran’s nuclear program; and

Just Foreign Policy have a form to write to your representative (if a citizen of the American Empire) and wake them up to this and ask them not to support the resolution. Click Here.

Burma Birthday

A team from the Department for International Development has returned from a trip to Burma’s Irrawaddy delta region, the area worst affected by cyclone Nargis. Their photographs show the scale of the devastation wreaked by the storm six weeks ago.

It’s also Aung San Suu Kyi’s birthday, in her 13th year of detention.

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Now Will Torture Be Called Torture?

“There is no longer any doubt that the current administration committed war crimes,” [retired U.S. Major Gen.] Taguba says. “The only question is whether those who ordered torture will be held to account.”

And read what Stephen Soldz has found

In many cases they patched up detainees to facilitate additional torture:

“[W]hen the doctor had finished treating him, “I heard the doctor say ‘continue’ (to the interrogators)”, p. 21.

The cases where medical personnel were “helpful” are just as disturbing:

““[The doctor] helped me … he told the soldiers, ‘If you go on torturing him in this way, he will die’,” p. 85.

Not surprisingly, detainees did not report psychologists consulting in interrogations (SOP called for these psychologists to not identify themselves, an interesting ethical issue in itself). But treatment psychologists were perceived to be collaborating with interrogators:

“Haydar indicated, however, that he suspected the psychologists shared information with the soldiers,” p. 48.

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Axis of Spin

(AFP) — The US Treasury Department on Wednesday froze the US assets of what it said were a pair of Venezuela-based supporters of Hezbollah. They are Ghazi Nasr al Din and Fawzi Kan’an, along with two travel agencies owned and controlled by Kan’an, the department said.

“It is extremely troubling to see the Government of Venezuela employing and providing safe harbor to Hezbollah facilitators and fundraisers. We will continue to expose the global nature of Hezbollah’s terrorist support network, and we call on responsible governments worldwide to disrupt and dismantle this activity,” said Adam Szubin, Director of the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC).

Bingo! America gets two for the price of one smears Venezuela with how eveel Hezbollah are (to them and their nation-as-military-footprint Israel) as both show as little enthusiasm as possible for the truce with Hamas. Of course as terrorism goes 1.2 million killed in Iraq is sort of the world leader, so yes I call on responsible governments worldwide to disrupt and dismantle this activity!

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Shock Horror! Torturers Also Lie

Grass still green, water still wet, whatever next will it take the establishment years to acknowledge what the rest of us have known for ages? Any thoughts on ursine defaecation geography? And -as ever- it is torture not “harsh interrogation techniques” you mealy mouthed WaPo motherfuckers.

A Senate investigation has concluded that top Pentagon officials began assembling lists of harsh interrogation techniques in the summer of 2002 for use on detainees at Guantanamo Bay and that those officials later cited memos from field commanders to suggest that the proposals originated far down the chain of command, according to congressional sources briefed on the findings.

The sources said that memos and other evidence obtained during the inquiry show that officials in the office of then-Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld started to research the use of waterboarding, stress positions, sensory deprivation and other practices in July 2002, months before memos from commanders at the detention facility in Cuba requested permission to use those measures on suspected terrorists.

The reported evidence — some of which is expected to be made public at a Senate hearing today — also shows that military lawyers raised strong concerns about the legality of the practices as early as November 2002, a month before Rumsfeld approved them. The findings contradict previous accounts by top Bush administration appointees, setting the stage for new clashes between the White House and Congress over the origins of interrogation methods that many lawmakers regard as torture and possibly illegal.

“Some have suggested that detainee abuses committed by U.S. personnel at Abu Ghraib in Iraq and at Guantanamo were the result of a ‘few bad apples’ acting on their own. It would be a lot easier to accept if that were true,” Sen. Carl M. Levin (D-Mich.), chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, wrote in a statement for delivery at a committee hearing this morning. “Senior officials in the United States government sought out information on aggressive techniques, twisted the law to create the appearance of their legality, and authorized their use against detainees.”

Hicham Yezza Interviewed By The BBC

Video clip is here and is well worth watching, the text story is here. This is the man our state tried to railroad and deport without any due process, I don’t believe it is a coincidence he was also an active anti war protester and editor of a leftist magazine. Our government was not just pursuing an iniquitous immigration policy it was in the act of silencing dissent using the oppressive machinery  and bureaucracy of the state. A war of aggression is called the supreme crime, from which all others flow, we are now living the truth of that. Rendition, torture, ethnic cleansing, chemical weapons, corrupt media, rising fascism and racism. This was the can of worms willingly opened by many who chose not to know better. The information was out there and the lessons of history as always are there for any to see but the criminals are multimillionaires, pundits, peace envoys. They are still in charge and persecuting the truth tellers, they tried with Hicham, there was resistance. And there will continue to be. They came for Hicham Yezza and We Spoke Out.

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