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

Brown Rejects No 10 Website Petition For Public Inquiry Into 7/7 bombings

Just got the email, yet another No. 10 petition ignored, clearly these things are designed to give the illusion of particpatory democracy, use up that energy, misdirect it and thus protect the unaccountable intentions of the establishment, here is what the official response says-

Thank you for signing the e-petition about 7 July bombings.

The Government understands the feelings of the survivors and relatives of those killed in the 7 July bombings. Our aim is to ensure that other families do not suffer the hurt, loss and pain caused by such attacks and that is why the protection of our people against future attack remains our top priority.

The Government remains of the opinion that a public inquiry is not required into the events of the 7 July 2005. There are processes currently underway which will address many aspects of the 7 July attacks:

Criminal proceedings in connection to the bombings have been brought and pursued. Three people have recently been charged with conspiracy to cause explosions and are currently awaiting trial. The police investigation into the 7 July 2005 bombings continues.
The inquests into the deaths of all those who died have yet to take place. Proceedings stand adjourned because of the criminal proceedings outlined above.
At the end of the Crevice trial in April 2007, the Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC) were asked by the Prime Minister to re-appraise themselves of the information at their disposal – in particular, in relation to new information that emerged during the Crevice trial.
It remains the case that there was no prior intelligence that an attack was to be carried out on 7 July 2005. I can reassure you that the Police and Security Service would have done everything possible to prevent such an attack had any such intelligence been available. As highlighted by the Crevice investigation, the threat we face is complex. The presence of Shehzad Tanweer and Mohammad Siddique Khan in the periphery of the investigation of 2004 shows the scale and complex nature of the real and serious threat we face.

Well fuck you very much, not only do they deny an inquiry they use the refusal as a chance to peddle their misinformation. So let us now conclude:- bullshit rejection of a public inquiry has backfired. This only increases the calls for a public enquiry for accountability and for the government to admit their support of Bush’s murderous imperial adventurism put us in this danger. After that; remorse, apologies and making it right, a public enquiry is but one part of that. That would be for a government that was democratically accountable to us citizen’s, that it doesn’t happen tells you about the real dynamic of power that exists. And that’s a poisonous harvest to be sowing.

Update: Davide Simonetti who proposed the petition has a full breakdown at The Nether World (he kindly put a link to me but this is not mere polite reciprocating, he knows his stuff) of the government’s response and picks it apart lie for lie, obfuscation for obfuscation. There is no good way of turning down an inquiry but of the many ways it could be done this burbling pol speak nonsense is by far the worse. NuLabour excel at this corporate bilge-speak, somehow the gravity of the issue does not impinge on them, shameless bullshitting shiny suited wankers. And all the way through, that popular corporate myth of good faith, as if everyone was trying to be the best public servant they could be, not the responsibility evading, warmongering, mendacious little careerist establishment toerags they actually are.

Work For The Secret Police Or Else…

 I continued saying that in the event of a successful attack in the UK, it was not possible to predict the government’s reaction. It was quite possible that he could find himself swept up in a further round of detentions. He did, however, have a choice…

 …he could either continue as at present, with the risks that entailed, or he could start a new life with a new identity, new nationality, money to set himself up in business and to provide for his family, and an opportunity to move to a Muslim country where his children could be brought up away from the bad influences in western society.

I again returned to the choice he had: if he chose to help us by providing details of all his activities and contacts, we would assist him to create a new life for himself and his family. I told him that I did not expect him to give me an immediate answer, it was an important decision and he needed to think carefully about it. 

-MI5 & Special Branch to Jamil el-Banna a few days before CIA agents kidnapped him.

When he turned our secret police down, he was kidnapped by US operatives and spent 5 years in Gitmo. Just remind me again about our wondrous ‘free’ society. So now he is back in the UK, guess what? The government is fucking him over again-

A UK resident released by the US from Guantanamo Bay has been granted bail after appearing in court under a Spanish extradition warrant. Magistrates are considering whether to extradite Jamil El-Banna to Spain to face allegations of terror offences.

A Metropolitan Police spokesman said he had not been charged under UK law, but the European Arrest Warrant, issued on behalf of the Spanish authorities, meant it was their duty to arrest him and present him to court.

His lawyer, Edward Fitzgerald QC said there would be massive issues as to the lapse of time over extradition and his human rights. Protesters against his detention gathered outside court. Among them was Liberal Democrat Sarah Teather, MP for Mr El-Banna, who described Spain’s move as “extremely distasteful and very insensitive”.

Earlier, Clive Stafford Smith, another of Mr El-Banna’s lawyers, accused the government of lying about the three men’s release.

“To do this when they are so close to home and their families, I think, is reprehensible,” he said. “It would have been fine if that was what they [the government] had told us was going to happen. I have no problem with them questioning my clients but they lied.”

He said he had previously tried to encourage a Spanish extradition request as a means of getting the men out of Guantanamo, but said the authorities in Madrid had never showed any interest.

“For quite a long time, we tried to get the Spanish to demand their release because we thought it was an elegant way to get them out of Guantanamo. The Spanish weren’t interested,” he told BBC Two’s Newsnight.

In 2002 he agreed our secret services were unlike Egypt’s-

Anas asked me to repeat who we were and I said that I was from the Security Service – Scotland Yard? he queried; so I explained that Andy was from Scotland Yard and that I was from the mukhaberaat [Arabic for secret police] although it was important for him to understand that we were not like the mukhaberaat in most Arab countries. He immediately agreed with this comment. 

Not any more. And the involvement of our spooks is not, shall we say, writ large in stories about him, funny that. So imagine for a moment MI5 and special branch roll up to your place and put the hard word on you, what protections from them and the CIA do you have? You have none. That is tyranny, that is a police state. Merry Christmas suckers. The war of terror continues apace.

I Read The News Today, Oh Boy

So war pimps go on holiday, an Israeli delegation travels to the US in a bid to persuade the country that Iran still seeks nuclear weapons. Russia delivers the first shipment of atomic fuel for Iran’s Bushehr power station, that’s POWER STATION. While back home IDF snatch squads are intruding into besieged Gaza and kidnapping politicians and intellectuals looking like a coordinated action with the aid talks that will reward Abbas over Hamas and there is Blair and some very free market reforms while Oxfam hits the zionist nail on the head-

The PA pledges both to cut government spending and reform Palestinian institutions. Some 70% of the aid is for budget support (including the salaries of more than 150,000 state employees) and 30% for development. 

Scepticism about the benefits of aid is deep-rooted: despite receiving $10bn in international funds since the formation of the PA after the Oslo agreement in 1993, Palestinians are getting poorer; 65% now live below the poverty line. Per capita GDP in 2006 was 40% less than in 1999, on the eve of the second intifada. Eighty percent of Palestinians are dependent on aid. Oxfam points out that millions of dollars of aid is already being lost due to Israeli policies. The economics won’t work, critics chorus, unless the politics change.

Turkey says the US opened air space for their bombing raid on Kurdish Northern Iraq, the US denies it, clearly ‘keep it schtum’ didn’t translate to Turkish. While a nightmare authoritarian state Judge Dredd would be proud of emerges-

U.S. forces in Iraq soon will be equipped with high-tech equipment that will let them process an Iraqi’s biometric data in minutes and help American soldiers decide whether they should execute the person or not, according to its inventor…The labs – collapsible, 20-by-20-foot units each with a generator and a satellite link to a biometric data base in West Virginia – will let U.S. forces cross-check data in the field against information collected previously that can be used to identify insurgents. These labs are expected to be deployed across Iraq in early 2008. 

Yeah read that again, ‘papiere bitte?’ Oh look you’re on the hit list, blam. Heart and minds people, hearts and minds. At least we turned tail and skedaddled. In the ‘Homeland’ strong words for the torturers-

“We want to hold the community accountable for what’s happened with these tapes. I think we will issue subpoenas…You’ve got a community that’s incompetent. They are arrogant. And they are political. And I think that we’re going to hold [CIA director] Mike Hayden accountable.”

Except that came from a Republican, bang up job you ‘opposition’ dems, at least there is some resistance to the secret police and Cindy Sheehan: Impeach Pelosi for collaboration with Bush administration on torture.

Shock Doctrine: Gazprom in Russia, corporatocracy accomplished-

Gazprom has almost everything – its own cities, its own airline, and even its own private army. It has nearly half a million employees, and the chairman of the board seems set to become the next president of Russia. Now, the biggest subsidiary of Kremlin Inc wants new headquarters to reflect its importance in the new Russia, and wants to build it in St Petersburg, home town of President Vladimir Putin, the chairman of the board, Dmitry Medvedev, Russia’s probable next president, and Alexei Miller, Gazprom’s CEO.

And is it the 12th century again?

The pursuit of profit produced inequality and contemporaries bewailed the breakdown of community and family. Finally, there was a crisis of authority in 12th-century Europe, with the church and nobility riddled with corruption and a revolution in government as it sought to expand its power into its subjects’ lives.

 How did our 12th-century forebears deal with all this insecurity and dramatic change? They invented a persecution society, one that systematically identified whole categories of people and then set about exterminating, subjugating or segregating them. Just as the origins of modern Europe and its global expansion can be tracked back to the momentous political and economic changes of the 12th century, so can its corollary, a state built to persecute minorities, which has intermittently characterised Europe’s history ever since. 

Persecution? Riot and now hunger strike at immigration detention center, Google news count? 8 stories, so a quiet persecution-

This morning there were claims the disturbance was started when staff went in to remove a man from his cell. Inmates became angry at his treatment and Bob Hughes, of the group Campaign to Close Campsfield, said CCTV cameras and lights had been broken. Inmates were now on hunger strike, he added.

Police have only said so far there was an “ongoing incident”. At the centre there are several fire engines, a heavy police presence, what appear to be prison-style riot officers in black uniforms and shields and paramedics. Some staff from the centre are reportedly being turned away from work this morning.

And John Pilger on…the shared values of …consensus building?

..the British-American Project for the Successor Generation (BAP), set up in 1985 with money from a Philadelphia trust with a long history of supporting right-wing causes. Although the BAP does not publicly acknowledge this origin, the source of its inspiration was a call by President Reagan in 1983 for “successor generations” on both sides of the Atlantic to “work together in the future on defense and security matters.”

The BAP rarely gets publicity, which may have something to do with the high proportion of journalists who are alumni. Prominent BAP journalists are David Lipsey, Yasmin Alibhai-Brown, and assorted Murdochites. The BBC is well represented. On the popular Today program, James Naughtie, whose broadcasting has long reflected his own transatlantic interests, has been an alumnus since 1989. Today’s newest voice, Evan Davis, formerly the BBC’s zealous economics editor, is a member. And at the top of the BAP Web site home page is a photograph of the famous BBC broadcaster Jeremy Paxman and his endorsement. “A marvelous way of meeting a varied cross-section of transatlantic friends,” says he. 

The BAP’s British “alumni” are drawn largely from new Labor and its court. No fewer than four BAP “fellows” and one advisory board member became ministers in the first Blair government. The new Labor names include Peter Mandelson, George Robertson, Baroness Symons, Jonathan Powell (Blair’s chief of staff), Baroness Scotland, Douglas Alexander, Geoff Mulgan, Matthew Taylor, and David Miliband. Some are Fabian Society members and describe themselves as being “on the left.” Trevor Phillips, chair of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, is another member.

 On the U.S. board is Diana Negroponte, the wife of John Negroponte, Bush’s former national security chief notorious for his associations with death-squad politics in central America. He follows another leading neocon, Paul Wolfowitz, architect of the invasion of Iraq and discredited head of the World Bank. Since 1985, BAP “alumni” and “fellows” have been brought together courtesy of Coca-Cola, Monsanto, Saatchi & Saatchi, Philip Morris, and British Airways, among other multinationals. Nick Butler, formerly a top dog at BP, has been a leading light.

The Murdoch Press Wakes Up To King George

Now that rich fraudsters and conservatives are the subject of King George’s imperial arrogance the Times gets excited-

AMERICA has told Britain that it can “kidnap” British citizens if they are wanted for crimes in the United States. A senior lawyer for the American government has told the Court of Appeal in London that kidnapping foreign citizens is permissible under American law because the US Supreme Court has sanctioned it.

Of course the way it is reported they focus on Britain, but in fact the empire claims this right globally and the piece has this lovely line-

Until now it was commonly assumed that US law permitted kidnapping only in the “extraordinary rendition” of terrorist suspects.

Er no, nice try though at normalising that outrage as an ol’ timey tradition we are all used to and bored of, and now the history bit-

extraordinary rendition is an updated form of “rendition to justice,” first secretly authorized in 1986 by President Reagan in National Security Decision Directive 207, which formalized U.S. policy to fight terrorism. It came into being, they say, because the U.S. in the 1980s did not have valid extradition treaties with countries that commonly housed terrorists or because those nations refused to give the suspects up. Under Reagan, they write, “it has never been suggested that the purpose of the program was to subject the detainees to torture or cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment. Once in the United States, the rendered individual would be treated like any other federal detainee awaiting trial.” Satterthwaite and Fisher said President George H.W. Bush authorized specific procedures for renditions in 1993 through National Security Directive 77. President Clinton, they noted, went further “emphasizing rendition as a key counter-terrorism strategy” and signing presidential decision directive PDD-39 on June 21, 1995, which stated, in part, “Return of suspects by force may be effected without the cooperation of the host government…” One outcome of the Clinton policy, the scholars write, was the rendition of Tal’at Fu’ad Qassim, an Egyptian national that had been granted asylum in Denmark and seized by the U.S. in Bosnia and transported to Egypt, where he was reportedly executed—the first known rendition by the U.S. of a victim to a third country with a record of torture. Between 1998 and 2000, the CIA rendered more than two dozen suspects, then-CIA Director George Tenet testified. In 2004, Tenet testified before Congress there had been more than 80 renditions prior to September 11, 2001.

Since 9/11, the scholars wrote, renditions have been used not to obtain jurisdiction over the suspects in order to prosecute “but instead to get an individual to talk.” Previous renditions that required approval by an inter-agency group that included the Departments of Justice and State, were now placed in the hands of the CIA, which could render suspects “without consultation.”

This new claim is probably more Federalist society style hijinks from the same fascists who invented the Bush unitary executive (dictatorship) wheeze. Probably somewhere they could also dig up a law that says the empire owns everyone’s blood and can at any time take it back or remove it from a person by any means it deems necessary. Which would explain a lot.

Corruption Pays

Oh no! Can you believe it, a public asset is sold off for peanuts to the private sector and the govt. shills who ran the deal become multi-millionaires and national defence becomes the property of corporations and…the Carlyle Group was involved. Who’d a thunk it?

The part-sale of QinetiQ was ordered by the Treasury in the late 1990s and led to government assets being snapped up by a US private equity company at an eighth of their value.

“The report will be highly critical of the whole process, in particular the over-incentives given to senior civil servants to privatise part of QinetiQ,”

“…both US research workers and British research workers funded from the public purse would resent the fruits of their work going to enrich individuals in a private company.”

Sir John Chisholm, chairman of QinetiQ – and also chairman of the Medical Research Council – and Graham Love, the chief executive, turned investments of £129,000 and £108,000 into assets worth £22m and £18m respectively when the firm was floated in 2006.

At the same time Carlyle, the private equity group, which bought a stake in QinetiQ for £42m in 2003, was able to sell at a £300m profit three years later.

What you have to ask yourself is, the politician’s (Brown!) who did this, whose interests do their actions serve? The public who were robbed, or the corporations who were enriched, ok not a hard question. So what do we do when our elected representatives have betrayed us and are working against us? Because y’know a vote every few years ain’t really cutting it. Meanwhile the US part of this deal is simply more of the same pattern of public funds and liabilities being harvested into private hands by means of the ‘defence’ industry and great big lovely wars which turn a loss for the public commons but a profit for the corporations. So again can you guess who the politician’s are serving? Is there still the death penalty for treason?

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Diego Garcia, The Death Star

In 1967 the UK began depopulating, ethnically cleansing the Chagos islands so it could lease the islands to the US for it to build a base. The Chagossians were shipped to Mauritius the British govt. paid the Mauritius authorities some hush money & the empire got to building its bases. Only this year after decades of fighting did the Chagossians get any justice, Diego Garcia remains verboten.

Diego Garcia is the largest of the Chagos islands and the base is crucial to the empire, warplanes flew from it on strike missions for both gulf wars against Iraq and again something stirs-

The US is secretly upgrading special stealth bomber hangars on the British island protectorate of Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean in preparation for strikes on Iran’s nuclear facilities, according to military sources. The improvement of the B1 Spirit jet infrastructure coincides with an “urgent operational need” request for £44m to fit racks to the long-range aircraft. That would allow them to carry experimental 15-ton Massive Ordnance Penetrator (MOP) bombs designed to smash underground bunkers buried as much as 200ft beneath the surface through reinforced concrete.

As usual the story includes the standard issue Iran! Nukes! FUD. So while you get some information the weak minded will have their paranoia and hence support for war subtly reinforced. This connected report- $87.8 million for further development of the Massive Ordnance Penetrator, or MOP, a conventional bomb designed to destroy hardened or deeply buried targets.- shows military industrial pork and preparedness always aids the war monger.

Not only is it a military cuckoo occupying the land rightfully belonging to the Chagos islanders it’s also a gulag once called ‘Camp Justice‘-

MPs on the all-party foreign affairs committee hope to find out if the reports that the CIA has a secret prison on the island are true. The MPs will scrutinise the allegations that the CIA has been holding al-Qaida and Taliban suspects on the island.

• Some form of American detention facility has existed on the island since at least 1983.

• Barry McCaffrey, a retired four-star American general who is now professor of international security studies at West Point military academy, has twice spoken publicly about the use of Diego Garcia to detain suspects.

• Dick Marty, a Swiss senator who led a Council of Europe investigation into the CIA’s use of European territory and airspace said he had received confirmation of the use of the island. He later said that he had received the assistance of some CIA officers during his investigation.

• A Gulfsteam executive jet, which has been linked by its registration number to several CIA prisoner operations is known to have flown from Washington to the island shortly after the capture of a leading al-Qaida suspect in September 2002.

• British officials re-designated a building on the island as a prison three months after the September 11 attacks.

• Inmates at Guantanamo say that fellow detainees have described being held, and beaten, on board prison ships.

• The United Nation’s special rapporteur on torture, Manfred Nowak, has said that he has heard from reliable sources that the US has held prisoners on ships in the Indian Ocean.

Michael Mukasey, current nomination for US Attorney General doesn’t know if water boarding is torture and therefore if it is illegal even though enemy perpetrators of this torture were jailed and some executed after WWII for using it. Many democrats are debating if this makes him a bad choice or can they accept it, hmmm, top law officer, torture isn’t torture hence legal, hmmm what could possibly be wrong with that…yeah let’s debate that a lot, we’re civilised…

Has the CIA been given the go ahead to use torture and torture-lite techniques in its black sites overseas? The answer which emerges from everything we’ve seen is: Yes. The techniques in question include waterboarding, long-time standing, hypothermia, sleep deprivation in excess of two days, the use of dogs to terrify detainees, sexual humiliation techniques, and psychotropic drugs. Each of these techniques is very clearly illegal and their use is punishable as a crime. So the question for Michael Mukasey is this: has the Justice Department yet again been roped into to giving assurances that these crimes are not crimes, or that they will not be prosecuted?

The latest historical comparison for Bush’s America is Hirohito’s reign (a royalist fascist era, hmmm)-

“US war criminality is justice institutionalised, as Japan’s once was,” Bix said. “In today’s America, torture is not only standard battlefield practice in the so-called war on terror. Torture is celebrated in American popular culture as evidenced by the popularity of ’24,’ a TV programme in which the hero confronts a ticking bomb scenario… designed to justify torture.”

Herbert Bix, who won the Pulitzer Prize in 2001 for his landmark biography of wartime emperor Hirohito, said he believed US aerial bombings and alleged use of torture in Afghanistan and Iraq constituted war crimes. “The current American rampage in Iraq and elsewhere, not to mention the Bush administration’s threats of war against Iran, so clearly replicates Imperial Japan during the period when its leaders willfully disregarded international law and pursued the diplomacy of force,”

Hopefully Diega Garcia is no Unit 731. After all they don’t need to do all that human vivisection again as they bought the research off the war criminals and gave them jobs, keeping things businesslike like the good guys should.

Blair For President?

As Davide Simonetti at Blairwatch puts it- For The Love Of God, NO!!

Tony Blair would be a “great candidate” for any big international job, Gordon Brown said today amid speculation over who would be the first president of the European council. It follows a claim in the Financial Times that Mr Blair was being “heavily promoted” for the job by the French president, Nicolas Sarkozy.

This would be a very empire friendly elite ruling the EU plus y’know that whole war criminal thing, is it that hard to distinguish between- should be in jail or hugely powerful President? Wow, that would make us really like America.

They’re Coming Across The Atlantic To Kill You

All three companies [UnitedHealth, Aetna and Humana] figure prominently in Michael Moore’s new film Sicko, a compelling indictment of the US health system – under which 18,000 Americans die a year because they are uninsured. Hardly the ideal players, you might think, to take a central role in the reform of the National Health Service.

But it is precisely these three corporations, along with 11 other private firms including KPMG, McKinsey and Bupa, that the government this month announced have been lined up to advise on or even take over the commissioning of the bulk of NHS services. Primary care trusts, which control most of the NHS’s £90bn budget, will now be encouraged to buy in advice from the 14 selected companies on health needs, contracts and local provision. Potentially, these corporations could take over the management of the heart of the NHS.

…a mixture of market dogma, business lobbying and a revolving door syndrome that saw Simon Stevens, former adviser to Tony Blair and a succession of New Labour health secretaries, move effortlessly on to become European president of UnitedHealth.

Of course ethically it is entirely consistent when your life is threatened to defend yourself, just because their rationale is choosing increased profit over life saving medical treatment doesn’t make them any less a threat to life than overt terrorism. Killing with a spread sheet in tasteful business attire in fact makes them a more insidious menace. We shall fight them on the beaches etc. Join the resistance.

Also, John Pilger on Sicko.