Obama Administration Confirms Threat In Binyam Mohamed’s Case

Unless Miliband is forging this shit, anyway Glenn Greenwald for the full monty and PDF here.

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Bush Spied On Blair

I suppose this gives Anthony the chance to claim he only lied Britain into war because George would have blown the details of his ‘Garry Glitter’ parties or something. Not that really we need another reason to despise the former PM and new multi-millionaire ‘peace’ envoy.

A former communications intercept operator says U.S. intelligence snooped on the private lives of two of America’s most important allies in fighting al Qaeda: British Prime Minister Tony Blair and Iraq’s first interim president, Ghazi al-Yawer.

David Murfee Faulk told ABCNews.com he saw and read a file on Blair’s “private life” and heard “pillow talk” phone calls of al-Yawer when he worked as an Army Arab linguist assigned to a secret NSA facility at Fort Gordon, Georgia between 2003 and 2007.

Last month, Faulk and another former military intercept operator assigned to the NSA facility triggered calls for an investigation when they revealed U.S. intelligence intercepted the private phone calls of American journalists, aid workers and soldiers stationed in Iraq.

Faulk says his top secret clearance at Ft. Gordon gave him access to an intelligence data base, called “Anchory,” where he says he saw the file on then-British prime minister Tony Blair in 2006. (ht2 AtLargely)

That Didn’t Take Long

at a joint press conference with US President George Bush, Prime Minister Gordon Brown said it took troop numbers to their “highest level” – to keep up pressure on the Taleban.

British troop numbers in Afghanistan will increase to a new high of more than 8,000 by next spring, Defence Secretary Des Browne has told MPs.

To Be Or Not B-2

A B-2 stealth bomber aircraft has crashed in a US air force base on the island of Guam in the Pacific. The two pilots operating the aircraft escaped unhurt, the US media reported. The aircraft was deployed to Andersen air force base in Guam from Whiteman air force base in the US state of Missouri, where a fleet of stealth bombers are based.Thomas Czerwinski, of the Pacific air forces public affairs office, said the pilots and the bomber had been in Guam since October 5. He said: “We can’t say anything about the specific mission they were on or why they are flying.”

He said that four B-2 bombers have been stationed at Andersen as part of a continuous defence presence in Guam since March 2004, connected with the US-led “war on terror”.

Guam is owned by the US, therefore the country would not need the permission of host nations to launch military operation from the island.

Ok, first, sorry about that title. I have included that last line about Guam being owned by the US, well if you consider centuries of colonial theft, sweatshop labour & sex slave trafficking…”owns”. Then yeah, it owns Guam. Now this bomber crash tells us some interesting things about this ‘glorified refuelling base’ becoming a far more important satellite of the Empire’s war machine as previously mentioned here.

The build-up in Guam is expected to cost $15 bn, with almost two-thirds of it going towards relocating 8,000 marines from the US base in Okinawa, Japan. But the base in Guam, the United State’s most western territory, is not reliant on support from a foreign country, like those in Japan and South Korea.

The US outpost will see a whole array of the latest military hardware including nuclear-powered Trident submarines which can fire Tomahawk cruise missiles and unmanned Global Hawk spy aircraft. By next year, the base will receive the latest state-of-the-art F-22 fighter jets, reflecting Guam’s strategic defence position in a volatile part of the world. Analysts say the Guam build-up was all about a “message of deterrent through strength” directed at North Korea and China, which has been almost doubling its military spending in recent years.

It is also part of the Northern Mariana Islands (120 miles north of Guam), the GOP’s favourite kiddie prostitute & lobbying holiday destination-

The Northern Mariana Islands have also come into the news recently due to their connection to the scandals involving Jack Abramoff and allegedly former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay. As a direct result of lobbying by Abramoff and associates, the Northern Mariana Islands received special federal subsidies. As well, Congressman Bob Ney allegedly received free trips to the Northern Mariana Islands from Abramoff, in violation of federal law. The Northern Marianas Islands are also the site of another controversy involving Rep. John Doolittle (R-CA), Jack Abramoff, and Rep. Richard Pombo (R-CA) and the alleged links to the Saipan Garment Manufacturers Association and the Northern Mariana Islands, role in stopping legislation aimed at cracking down on sweatshops and sex shops” on the islands in 2001.

The Northern Marianas Islands allegedly harbor the most abusive labor practices of anywhere in the United States. According to the progressive think tank American Progress Action Fund, “Human ‘brokers’ bring thousands there to work as sex slaves and in cramped sweatshop garment factories where clothes (complete with ‘Made in U.S.A.’ tag) have been produced for all the major brands.

Freedom & Democrcay™! Of course ones thoughts do immediately turn to what would stealthy B2 bombers be needed for, the Iraq resistance don’t have particularly good Anti-Aircraft weapons, who might the Empire be threatening? Who has numerous facilities that a unipolar sphere of influence in the Middle East desiring hyperpower would want to target? And they have numerous AA batteries protecting them? Who is being set up for an attack by sanctions (to weaken the target) and -yellow cake is to Iraq as the laptop of death is to…

To be honest given the belligerence and bloodthirsty desires of the Bush imperium and there was no loss of life this represents some good news. A first strike weapon of aggression has been totalled and has cost the military industrial thingamabobs at least $1.2 billion to replace. Result!

PS. News of the new Kuwait base and more at Mahatma X Files.

PPS. The best ejector seats come from the Russian K 36D by Zvezda Research I am told, which aren’t in B2’s (ACES II apparently) but were being adopted for future use until the US picked UK’s Martin Baker which are arguably not as good but politically more ‘comfortable’. We used to have an old ejector seat at home (Martin Baker) but sadly it was deactivated so no chance of shooting ourselves into the air for spine compressing fun, talk about overprotective parents! (Strangely there was a Martin Baker at school but he was not connected to aerial egress technology, his dad was an organist, make up your own jokes).

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Dark Actors, Dirty Deeds

These aren’t connected as far as I know but they indicate traces of a secret state growing in influence and activity.

An ex-police officer who allegedly bugged an MP’s visit to a jailed constituent said the Met Police put him under “significant pressure” to do so. Former Thames Valley Police officer, Mark Kearney, who faces charges over leaking stories, said he had felt it was not justified to bug MP Sadiq Khan.

Former sergeant Mr Kearney was an intelligence officer working at Woodhill Prison where Babar Ahmad was being held, facing extradition to the US. Mr Ahmad faces no charges in the UK but the US suspects him of running websites supporting the Taleban and Chechen rebels, hence the extradition request.

The BBC has also learnt that officials in the Home Office and Ministry of Justice were told in December that a Labour MP had been bugged – but the justice secretary and home secretary had not been told.

Oh really? Well that conveniently saves their careers doesn’t it…this is a tip of a very dirty iceberg. The current US extradition agreement means no evidence whatsoever is required by the UK from the US to do the empire’s bidding, they could ask for any citizen and our state will lock you up and ship you off stateside. Good doggie.

And this weird case which shows no signs of justifying it, yet is being held in secret-

Yam denies murder, burglary and fraud. The case, to be held in private because of a gagging order for national security reasons, continues.

Yesterday Geoffrey Robertson QC, defending Yam, admitted his client had used Chappelow’s identity, but said he was innocent of his murder in May 2006. He said Chappelow was killed by an unknown male, possibly from a gang led by an Albanian and two “henchmen” from China and probably Malaysia.

Yam has told the police that these were the men who passed on Chappelow’s cheques and bank cards to allow him to commit the identity theft, the court heard. Much of the trial today will be heard in closed court, Robertson said.

“This is not a normal case, far from it,” he said. “Every other case in this building, almost every trial in this country is held in open court. In this case the crucial evidence will be heard in private … it is a case where the truth about Yam must never be known to the press or the public.

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The Secret Atrocity- UK War Crime Cover Up Fails

The High Court today lifted a gagging order stopping the media reporting allegations of torture and brutality by British troops in Iraq.  Soldiers are said to have captured 31 Iraqis following an ambush in May 2004 before killing 22 and leaving only nine injured survivors after detaining them at military headquarters in Abu Naji. However reporting restrictions imposed earlier on by the court have now been lifted following a petition by several national newspapers and the BBC.

It has been claimed the men were seized by the British Army following a firefight on the road from Amara to Basra, near Majar al-Kabir in south-east Iraq. Iraqi families and survivors are seeking compensation and a ruling at a High Court hearing, due to start in the near future, that the Government is legally obliged to set up an independent inquiry into the incident. Death certificates to go before the court are said to state that corpses of Iraqis rounded up showed signs of “mutilation” and “torture”.

Lawyers investigating the allegations say the testimonies of five witnesses to the events “combine to give a harrowing account of what took place”. The Ministry of Defence has denied there was evidence of wrongdoing by soldiers, including the deliberate mutilation of corpses.

Lawyers Phil Shiner and Martyn Day of Leigh Day are representing the Iraqis. They travelled out to Istanbul earlier this month to meet with some of the alleged survivors and the other witnesses to the events. Mr Shiner said today: “The testimonies of these five men taken over five days in Istanbul by myself and Martyn contain shocking material and combine to give a harrowing account of what took place. I have never heard such evidence in nearly 30 years of being a solicitor.”

Martyn Day said: “Phil and I are clear that what took place in Majar is of massive consequence not just for the British Army and the British Government but for the British people. Today is the first step in ensuring what happened in Majar is brought out into the open.”

The fresh allegations of brutality by UK forces come after it was announced that no one will be held responsible for the killing of Iraqi civilian Baha Mousa who was beaten to death in Army custody five years ago. The decision was branded a shameful indictment of the way politicians, the military and its prosecuting authority dealt with the tragic case. And now the MoD faces further pressure after it failed to keep secret these new alllegations of abuse by British troops.

The gagging order blocked the naming of any of the Iraqi claimants, or the telling of their stories, until a final decision was taken on whether there will be any criminal prosecutions against any soldiers. The ban was imposed last December by Lord Justice Thomas, sitting with Mr Justice Silber, after the Ministry of Defence confirmed the possibility of criminal prosecutions.

Lord Justice Thomas said “adverse publicity” arising from the civil High Court case would be “highly undesirable”. But today, in an extraordinary judicial clash of views, another senior judge, Lord Justice Moses – also sitting with Mr Justice Silber – overturned the ban “in its entirety”. He ruled there was “ample material” to support the proposition that the proceedings to be brought in the High Court should be “in the public domain”, and ample authority “for the good reasons why that should be so”.

The MoD had wanted to keep secret the names of the Army regiments allegedly involved. But Lord Justice Moses ruled there was no basis for keeping secret the names of those who were subject to investigation. The possibility of there being any prosecution was “far too remote”, said the judge, and there was certainly no statutory prohibition on the publication of names.

Mr Justice Silber said: “For the reasons given by (Lord Justice Moses), I agree with him.” The BBC’s Panorama programme, which is preparing an item on the Majar incident, welcomed today’s ruling. Deputy editor Frank Simmonds said: “Panorama is very pleased with the judgment as it clears the way for a more constructive dialogue with the MoD on matters of clear public interest.”

During the hearing, Lord Justice Moses said it was “barmy” that it had taken so long for the military authorities to investigate what had happened at Majar in 2004. He said: “It is not fair on them (the soldiers) as well as on everybody else.”

Jonathan Swift, appearing for the MoD, said fresh investigations had become necessary as a result of the witness statements made by the Iraqi claimants in the pending High Court hearing. He said he was only seeking to uphold the gagging order in so far as it prohibited the naming of the regiments involved. The judge said: “It is not the way it works. If you are right then it is one rule for the MoD and another rule for the ordinary citizen.”

Mr Swift said he was not suggesting there should be different rules for different categories, but a no-names order was necessary in the present case “on a precautionary basis” because possible criminal proceedings could be undermined by publicity.

But the judge said: “There is nothing unusual in this case in relation to the disclosure of the identity of someone who is being investigated and where there remains the possibility of future criminal proceedings.” There was no basis for an order that there should not be disclosure of those who were subject to investigation.

So the cover up has failed, what else remains hidden by the establishment? This is war, this always happens. This is what was chosen, this is why Blair must be prosecuted.

(i) Planning, preparation, initiation or waging of a war of aggression or a war in violation of international treaties, agreements or assurances;  {Nuremberg Tribunal defined Crimes against Peace}

Gulag Friday! Six Years Of Gitmo & Binyam Mohamed Update

The American Civil Liberties Union are marking this with a renewed campaign to close down the gulag on rented Cuban land-

I pledge to join with over 550,000 ACLU members and supporters to declare that the unlawful and un-American prison at Guantánamo Bay must be closed.

I affirm my commitment to the American values of justice and liberty for all. I believe in the core values enshrined in the U.S. Constitution – that no person should be subjected to the use of torture, or cruel treatment, or indefinite and arbitrary detention. I call for the U.S. government to CLOSE GUANTÁNAMO.

Meanwhile I have had response from the UK government regarding Binyam Mohamed‘s illegal incarceration there. I wrote to David Miliband but it appears the replying duties have been passed to the Counter Terrorism Department (which sort of assumes his guilt as a terrorists does it not? Hmmm) although I prefer to think about it as the terrorism counter-

Have you got a six pack of Bin Ladens? In chrome with the rubber handles?

-You’ll have to ask at the terrorism counter, we only do insurgents and garden furniture in this department.

Do you know if they’ve got any ‘lyrical terrorists’ in?

-Do you know the product code?

Yeah, 1 9 8 4 I think.

-Tracy, do you know if they’ve got any LT84’s in? What? Oh no, they had a delivery yesterday but it was all Hizbullah & Hamas bath towels if you ask they should be able to order some.

Thank -you.

Anyway the reply went as follows-

Thank you for your email of 18 December to the Foreign Secretary about Mr Binyam Mohammed.  I have been asked to reply.

Due to significant security concerns, the US Government is not presently inclined to agree to his release and return to the UK.  We continue to discuss Mr Mohammed’s case with the US and will continue to keep your family and legal representatives appraised of any developments.

Best regards 

And it was from a Mr. Nicolas Jankowski who with a bit of googling I found is the minion who gets to answer lots of these letters and in the past has been a bit more forthright (-ish):

Nicolas Jankowski wasn’t so shy.

He wouldn’t comment on Hicks’s case because, as he reminded me, there was an appeal before the courts on the lad’s citizenship application. He then proceeded to drop a huge bucket on the entire Guantanamo Bay process, describing it as unacceptable and reminding me that Tony Blair had already said it should be closed.

He said the British Government continued to raise humanitarian concerns about detentions at Guantanamo Bay with the US authorities and would continue raising the concerns and work with the US to resolve the issues.

Jankowski further pointed to the necessity of continued engagement by the US with the International Committee of the Red Cross, the United Nations and others on the issue of Guantanamo Bay. He said the British Government “noted” the assurances given by the US Government on the issue of detainee treatment more widely and quoted the confirmation of the Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, that the US respected the rules of international law, including the UN’s Convention on Torture.

Although still very diplomatic and erm taking Rice’s word the Bush administration respects international law? A bit like taking Peter Sutcliffe’s word he respects women. Anyways, “Due to significant security concerns, the US Government is not presently inclined to agree to his release and return to the UK.” He is so FCO, so British. But here’s the point, this ‘security’ excuse has become the cover-all brand over any and all government wrongdoing and in a democratic state it simply is not acceptable, it is a meaningless use of words to not actually give a reason while appearing to do so. It is not a justification for kidnap, torture and endless imprisonment outside of any recognised legal system. That’s pretty well much what I will write back to Nic with and he can diplomatically and wearily reply.

One thought emerges though, if a Democratic President does not end Gitmo and the other gulag/ ghost sites what do we do? I mean I know a lot of good hearted Americans are getting very caught up in the pomp and ceremony of the process to choose which millionaire pre-approved by the establishment gets to be King or Queen, and domestically a Democrat would be a nice change (less creationism in schools maybe) but in foreign -war on terror- policy I’m having a lot of trouble seeing much of a difference. What do you do when the President turns out to be the same betrayal the Democratic Congress & Senate have proved? Is it getting close to idiot cliché time -Someone who keeps doing the same thing in the same way, but expects different results? Or should that be saved for 2015 when the force in Iraq is drawn down to just 60,000 or so?

Ps. This is the address to write to Binyam Mohamed who is mentally disintegrating, the letters are delayed and even destroyed by the authorities but maybe a letter to him is more useful in some karmic sense than bothering weary civil servants who give out the same excuses for years, I don’t know-

Binyam Mohamed
ISN 1458
Camp Delta
US Naval Base Guantánamo Bay
Washington, DC 20355
USA