The blog is called ten percent because of what Kurt Vonnegut wrote when remembering Susan Sontag - She was asked what she had learned from the Holocaust, and she said that 10 percent of any population is cruel, no matter what, and that 10 percent is merciful, no matter what, and that the remaining 80 percent could be moved in either direction.-
And I'm writing it because I need the therapy and I lust for world domination.
The background from yesterday’s posthere(including Coughlin being told to fuck off by former colleagues who have as low an opinion of him as I do) . Now today via Cernig @ Atlargely–
Payvand– A complaint was issued today to the Press Complaints Commission concerning an article published in the Daily Telegraph on 12 September which claimed that enriched uranium has disappeared from Iran’s nuclear facility in Isfahan. Quoting an unnamed nuclear official the article, entitled ‘Iran renews nuclear weapons development’, alleged that nuclear material equivalent to that of six atomic bombs have disappeared from Isfahan and are believed to have been relocated to covert installations spotted by American spy satellites.
However the report of International Atomic Energy Agency published on 15th September states that there is no missing nuclear material and that “all nuclear material at the Uranium Conversion Facility in Isfahan remains under Agency containment and surveillance”. Responding to the Telegraph article, IAEA’s media head, Melissa Fleming, said that the allegations are “fictitious” and pointed out that “uranium is not enriched at Isfahan as the Telegraph story states but at the fuel enrichment plant in Natanz.”
The complaint issued today from the Westminster Committee on Iran, raises wider issues of media impartiality when reporting on Iran and raises concerns about the use of unnamed sources and sensationalist headlines. It also points out that the co-author of the piece, Con Coughlin, is none other than the journalist who, with the help of unnamed intelligence sources revealed link between the 9/11 hijacker, Mohammed Ata, and Iraqi intelligence which was latter proved to be inaccurate. On 24 January 2007, relying on an unnamed “European defence official” Coughlin alleged that North Korea is helping Iran prepare a nuclear weapons test. In December the Telegraph ran a headline article, also by Coughlin, claiming that Iran was “grooming Bin Laden’s successor”. Both stories were questioned by Middle East and military experts, and neither has since been substantiated. Jeremy Bowen, the BBC’s Middle East correspondent described the Bin Laden claims as “wholly implausible” and pointed out that Al Quaeda, a Sunni organisation would not be supported by the Shia administration in Iran.
That’s if you make any differentiation at all….anyways under this headline- How UK fights remote control war. The correspondent in …er… Nevada details how …er …American Reaper drones are flown from a USA base by a small contingent of RAF techs & ‘pilots’.
The BBC has been given an inside look at Britain’s latest weapon in the fight against insurgents in Afghanistan and Iraq, the Reaper.
Outside Creech Air Force Base sits the small town of Indian Springs with its gas station and Moe’s Trading Post, selling Native American souvenirs. But behind the barbed-wire fence are a series of hangars housing the Predators and Reapers as well as the all-important Ground Control Station which acts as a nerve centre wherever they are flying.
It is not just the US flying from here. In one corner of the base, the Royal Air Force ensign flutters in a light breeze, signalling the presence of 39 Squadron. Britain’s fleet is small. It did consist of two Reapers but one crashed in Afghanistan in April.
During our visit to the base, the British Ministry of Defence also confirmed the RAF is now arming its Reapers and has already used its weapons system.
And of course the money line-
But those in charge believe the vehicles offer particular advantages. “It’s not the weapons. It’s the persistence. It’s the unblinking eye – how long you can spend over the target,” explains Colonel Chris Chambliss, who commands the US fleet of Predators and Reapers. He believes the ability to conduct long surveillance of a target makes civilian casualties less likely when bombs are dropped.
Honestly, find me a slavering drool-fest over some new military tech by a starry eyed geeky reporter that doesn’t at some point convey that message. It is the moral justification armchair supporters need to claim just wars and believe we are the ‘good guys’. So where was the countervailing argument in this BBC piece….erm….testimony of drone attacks that killed civilians, human rights organisations position on armed drones…there is none, this is a boys and their remote control shiny toys wank session. So here from TomDispatch.com some balance-
“Assassinations by air” are, writes David Case in Mother Jones magazine, “a relatively new tactic in warfare.” By the beginning of 2006, however, U.S. Predator drones “bearing Hellfire missiles — the preferred weapon in decapitation [strikes] — had already hit ‘terrorist suspects overseas’ at least 19 times since 9/11.” Such strikes and other similar operations by air, land, and sea have been a crucial follow-on to the Bush administration’s proclamations, immediately after 9/11, that there would be no “safe havens” for terrorists on the planet, nor safety for those countries which housed them, inadvertently or otherwise. Within days of the destruction of the World Trade Center towers, Bush administration officials were already identifying up to 60 countries-cum-targets.
This aspect of the Bush Doctrine, of what the President likes to call staying “on the offensive,” when mixed with a couple of decades of “advances” in air warfare, including the development of sophisticated, missile-armed drones, “smart bombs,” “precision-guided munitions,” and the like, has resulted in a lethal globalizing brew of assassination and destruction. It recognizes neither boundaries, nor sovereignty across much of the planet. With all its “actionable” possibilities, it will surely be with us long after George W. Bush has left office.
Of course, those few nameless dead or wounded Somali civilians — swatted like so many flies and forgotten as quickly as flies would be — don’t faintly match up against the “dozens” of Iraqi civilian deaths that, according to Human Rights Watch, were caused by 50 decapitation strikes launched against the top officials of Saddam Hussein’s regime back in March 2003. (Not a single official was harmed.) Nor do they quite make it into the company of the “Afghan elders” being taken to President Hamid Karzai’s inauguration back in 2001, who were mistaken “for a Taliban group” and bombed, with 20 killed; nor the 30 or more guests at an Afghan wedding party back in 2002 blown away by 2,000-pound bombs after celebratory gunfire was evidently mistaken for an attack (no apologies offered); nor that wedding party in the Western desert of Iraq near the Syrian border wiped out in 2004 with 42 deaths, including 27 in one extended family, 14 children in all. They were, of course, taken for terrorists. (As U.S. Major General James Mathis put the matter in offering an explanation: “How many people go to the middle of the desert… to hold a wedding 80 miles from the nearest civilization?”) And these are just a few prominent cases, not including the civilians killed in periodic Predator and other strikes in Pakistani border areas, in Afghanistan, and elsewhere about whom no fuss is ever made — not here, anyway.
Frei is perturbed by the insularity of the Washington DC bubble, where government policy is drawn up in a highly-intellectual but not cosmopolitan environment. “In London, you walk down the Edgware Road and it’s like the West Bank, you walk down to Piccadilly Circus and you are surrounded by foreigners, you are steeped in international juices and in Washington you are not.”
So at least he acknowledges the beltway elite (at least in an interview) but why the West Bank comparison, what does this mean about his perception of ‘foreigners’? Is the other at home in a war zone?
The journalist has himself enjoyed the liberation of expressing himself in print. “Writing for television is an act of castration, essentially. Good television is about what you leave out, so you don’t use any adjectives and don’t describe what you can already see. It’s quite an unsatisfying form of writing because no-one ever remembers what you’ve written.”
Whoa there Matty, phallo-centric ego much?
He is convinced that the cause of war in Iraq was not oil but rather the President’s desire to settle a score with Saddam, and that the culprits for the current mess are Donald Rumsfeld for trying to “do Iraq on the cheap” and Condoleezza Rice for viewing that country as Germany in 1945 rather than “Germany in 1761, a post feudal tribal state split into different fiefdoms with a relatively low literacy rate and no industrial base”.
Like most of his media class he reduces geopolitical, imperial and cultural complexities to an elite soap opera and that literacy?
Hussein was returning to a very different school system from the one he left in 1975. Early in his rule, Saddam was credited with creating one of the strongest school systems in the Middle East. Iraq won a UNESCO prize for eradicating illiteracy in 1982. Literacy rates for women were among the highest of all Islamic nations, and unlike most Middle East school systems, Iraqi education was largely secular.
But, in the decade after the 1991 Gulf War, UNICEF estimates, school spending plummeted by 90 percent. Teachers’ salaries dropped to $6 a month and buildings deteriorated.
The US says Saddam starved the schools to spend money on his palaces, but many Iraqis say United Nations sanctions are to blame for crippling the school system
Quite apart from it being the supreme war crime not a ‘mess’ ‘on the cheap'(and did sanctions then Shock & Awe have something do to with that eradicated industrial base?) maybe faulty comparisons to European history betray the historical and cultural blindness, the tribalism inherent in the invaders …and their media partners.
Roger Alton, formerly editor of the Observer, will become editor of the Independent in June. Alton resigned from the Observer last year after rumours of a ’civil war’ with the Guardian. There were also allegations that, in 2002, the Observer had suppressed important testimony on Iraq’s alleged weapons of mass destruction (see below) even as it was publishing false stories from intelligence sources. It was claimed that Alton’s political editor, Kamal Ahmed, had helped Blair’s aides with one of their infamous “dodgy dossiers” on Iraq’s WMD – Ahmed also resigned.
It is a bitter irony that Alton will soon be editing the Independent, which opposed the Iraq war.
It’s great, you can be a warmongering crook who is wrong about everything, but have the right elite background-
Alton’s father was a distinguished Oxford don and that Alton was privately educated at Clifton College before attending Exeter College, Oxford.
…and suddenly your shit don’t stink, So the Indy’s correct antagonism towards the Iraq war is now to be under the control of this bloodthirsty ignorant toff. Fuck balls of hell fire!
Go to the media alert or below and tell The Independent what a colossal fucking mistake they are about to make and that it is not too late to reject Alton and get someone not implicit in war crime propaganda to run it.
Man I though Martin Kettle was a prick, but John Rentoul is some competition, Lord Haw Haw would be proud. The author of a hagiography of Blair and setting up straw man arguments and disingenuous faux ignorance to continue to claim success in Iraq. See Medialens. That alert archived soon here.
Excuse the broad strokes but that is how the Iraq fighting is being reported, the fighting which is the puppet government of the occupier attacking nationalist elements. Ok that’s simplified too but more valid than the bullshit raining down from the corporate media. The coverage invites the consumer to identify with the Maliki govt forces (and now as they are failing the US reinforcements). We’re being asked to cheer lead along the balkanisation of Iraq- Maliki being ordered to remove nationalist opposition ahead of ‘elections’, 5 years from now it will be separate ethnic regions, permanent US bases and a client regime being called a democracy.
And another thing (I really shouldn’t listen to the news) just how long have journalists known the UAE had forces in Afghanistan? After five years the BBC ‘reveals’ (in such glowing terms it really belongs in a b&w newsreel circa 1943) their deployment, what were they fucking invisible? Grrrrr.
Bush chooses torture and actively defends its use (with lies, illogic and obfuscation as befits a fascist of low intelligence) and thanks the torturers-
President Bush: “The fact that we have not been attacked over the past six-and-a-half years is not a matter of chance. It is the result of good policies and the determined efforts of individuals carrying them out. We owe these individuals our thanks, and we owe them the authorities they need to do their jobs effectively. We have no higher responsibility than stopping terrorist attacks. And this is no time for Congress to abandon practices that have a proven track record of keeping America safe.”
The UK government chooses to steal the money meant to save lives to fund warfare-
Money set aside to clear landmines and remove arms from conflict zones is t be raided to pay a private defence contractor to keep Tornado jets flying i Iraq, according to a confidential memo seen by the Guardian. The Ministry o Defence plans to pay BAE Systems from the multimillion-pound Conflict Preventio Fund – which covers projects such as destroying weapons in Bosnia and landmine in Mozambique – to subsidise the £5m-£10m cost of servicing each of the six planes.
The memo acknowledges there will be anger about the decision, which will attract “adverse comment from the unions”. It adds: “Defensive news briefs are being developed to counter adverse media comment.” (ht2 Chicken Yoghurt)
And corporate media chooses to portray a Presidential candidate who has enabled torture to pretend he is against it-
But another Senator McCain was on display this week, one who seemed to differ from the former prisoner of war who has made his signature issue out of opposing torture tactics by American interrogators. McCain voted against the bill to ban tactics such as waterboarding, saying he felt agencies like the CIA needed flexibility in terror investigations. Why has this received so little media attention?
None of these decisions were taken in desperation, no mitigating facts cushion these acts of evil. These are wealthy powerful people & institutions choosing to do terrible things. And to help you choose to help them, sit back, relax, be entertained.
Vanity Fair has obtained confidential documents, since corroborated by sources in the U.S. and Palestine, which lay bare a covert initiative, approved by Bush and implemented by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Deputy National Security Adviser Elliott Abrams, to provoke a Palestinian civil war. The plan was for forces led by Dahlan, and armed with new weapons supplied at America’s behest, to give Fatah the muscle it needed to remove the democratically elected Hamas-led government from power. (The State Department declined to comment.)
Some sources call the scheme “Iran-contra 2.0,” recalling that Abrams was convicted (and later pardoned) for withholding information from Congress during the original Iran-contra scandal under President Reagan. There are echoes of other past misadventures as well: the C.I.A.’s 1953 ouster of an elected prime minister in Iran, which set the stage for the 1979 Islamic revolution there; the aborted 1961 Bay of Pigs invasion, which gave Fidel Castro an excuse to solidify his hold on Cuba; and the contemporary tragedy in Iraq.(ht2 Lenin)
So one of the warmongering scum is going under cover of Disneyland news ‘humanitarian’ label to further manipulate events. As many people say and in fact just yesterdy Kris Kristofferson said it!
But Kristofferson gets in a parting shot about Iran-Contra and the war in Iraq. “Iran-Contra! We should have jailed all those guys for ever back then, and we wouldn’t be where we are right now – because it’s the same guys now, the same 20 guys!”
Which really now demonstrates the importance of impeachment, which clearly is not going to happen, you just have to look at the endless team sports coverage of the presidential candidates and all the space it is taking up, impeachment is forgotten. The same people will continue to cause death and misery and ludicrous falsehoods ascribing humanitarian motives to these blood stained imperial criminals will endlessly pour forth from the idiot mouths of their partner elites in the media. When these technocrats meet they do deals to enrich each other and impoverish us and they plot violence, in fact a good rule of thumb would be whenever one visits your region immediately leave (if you can) or arm yourself, hoard food and start digging a bomb shelter. Or as Disneyland news would put it (and of course assume you are wealthy or otherwise who needs a poor audience?)- Welcome the healing angels of peace, why not take up field sports with a beautiful antique shotgun, have a nice big family meal and finally do that gardening you always thought about! Now over to Candy for the weather, any word on that ‘thunder’ we heard about in Gaza?
2 March 2008, the Armed forces forcefully entered the offices of Radio Simba and took away three computers, audio mixer, a computer laptop, two Audiotape recorders, two digital cameras and four studio microphones. During the attack, the forces had beatenreporter Abdiaziz Hussein Hassan, who was in the Simba news studio. Yesterday, 1 March 2008, a rocket hit thebuilding of Radio Simba and destroyed the Radio’s archive.
Few minutes after the attack onSimba radio, the armed forces broke down the doors of Shabelle Radio, which isnear to offices of Simba Radio, and took two audio mixers and main computer fromthe production studio. When leaving from Shabelle Offices, forces orderedDirector of Shabele Muktar Mohamed Hirabe to go with them. Security Forces also visitedthe Horn Afrik Radio and ordered to shut down the radio, but did not take any equipment,according to Horn Afrik journalists.
The United States bombed a town in southern Somalia on Monday in a strike on suspected terrorists, United States defense officials told news agencies. Six people are reported dead.
Three missiles struck a building in Dobley, a town four miles from the border with Kenya, the Associated Press reported. Remnants of Somalia’s Union of Islamic Courts, an organization that ruled much of the southern part of the country until late 2006, reportedly took the town last week. The British Broadcasting Corporation is reporting that the missile strike killed six and wounded 20.
The above excerpt does what almost no other news outlet did, they said ‘suspected terrorists’ all others simply churned out the Pentagon’s line of Al Qaeda!!!!! And of course the context of the US backed invasion and the appalling humanitarian crisis it caused, hey who wants that when whizz bang missiles are to be had? So the pattern of the press being targeted and attacked then military action occurs is obscured by not relating the press attacks within the context of US involvement in Somalia, so the later action by the US seems unrelated. But journalists in America are reluctant to add 2 and 2 and state their government is killing journalists as a routine tactic of warfare and counter insurgency, they even imprison some without charge in various sites. In fact corporate hacks still act just as stenographers reprinting Pentagon claims as objective information, rather than become outraged they play along, or perhaps they are frightened by the killings. They would prefer a quiet (and affluent) life than to report the elephant in the room -Empire.
Update: The Pentagon Official who said it was Al Qaeda…Bryan Whitman, oh you know Bryan’s work, that video of Iranian boats ‘attacking’ US ships, all those off the record chats? So the hacks not only did a lazy job they repeat the claims of man already shown to be a great big fraud, which makes them either incredibly stupid or knowing conspirators. Hack motherfuckers.
The BBC’s Wall Street correspondent, Dharshini David, has quit the corporation to join Tesco’s communications team.
During her tenure, she covered the slump in global economic markets after September 11, the Worldcom and Enron scandals, and the collapse of the Argentinian economy.
So she won’t be reporting on any Tesco related scandals, back in the arms of the inner sanctum of the Church of the Free Market (not that mainstream corporate financial reporters are objective about capitalism). While Tesco’s dirty dealings are mostly verboten (why credit The Guardian -a competitor- while simultaneously pissing off a very major advertiser & cornerstone -unfortunately- of British life?) at least some MP’s paid attention-
MPs and Lords called for a crackdown on tax avoidance yesterday following the Guardian’s revelation that Tesco was using an elaborate corporate structure involving offshore tax havens which enables it to avoid paying what could be up to £1bn of tax on profits from sale of its UK properties.
Excerpt in The Independent from Nick Davies Flat Earth News How the spooks took over the news, worth reading. As has been pointed out, the Bush cabal could help us construct a lie then import it back into the US saying-well British intelligence said so, so it must be true! And of course we made up several on our own too.
In Britain, the Directorate of Targeting and Information Operations in the Ministry of Defence works with specialists from 15 UK psyops, based at the Defence Intelligence and Security School at Chicksands in Bedfordshire.
In the case of British intelligence, you can see this combination of reckless propaganda and failure of oversight at work in the case of Operation Mass Appeal. This was exposed by the former UN arms inspector Scott Ritter, who describes in his book, Iraq Confidential, how, in London in June 1998, he was introduced to two “black propaganda specialists” from MI6 who wanted him to give them material which they could spread through “editors and writers who work with us from time to time”.
After the book extract various hacks give their soundbite reactions, entertaining, funny how they get immediate right to reply. A tad …defensive?
Thanks to Chicken Backup I learned Suharto is dead, I hope there’s room for a big dancefloor over his grave. John Pilger-
In 1965, in Indonesia, the American embassy furnished General Suharto with roughly 5,000 names. These were people for assassination, and a senior American diplomat checked off the names as they were killed or captured. Most were members of the PKI, the Indonesian Communist Party. Having already armed and equipped Suharto’s army, Washington secretly flew in state-of-the-art communication equipment whose high frequencies were known to the CIA and the National Security Council advising the president, Lyndon B Johnson. Not only did this allow Suharto’s generals to co-ordinate the massacres, it meant that the highest echelons of the US administration were listening in.
The Americans worked closely with the British. The British ambassador in Jakarta, Sir Andrew Gilchrist, cabled the Foreign Office: “I have never concealed from you my belief that a little shooting in Indonesia would be an essential preliminary to effective change.” The “little shooting” saw off between half a million and a million people.However, it was in the field of propaganda, of “managing” the media and eradicating the victims from people’s memory in the west, that the British shone. British intelligence officers outlined how the British press and the BBC could be manipulated. “Treatment will need to be subtle,” they wrote, “eg, a) all activities should be strictly unattributable, b) British [government] participation or co-operation should be carefully concealed.”
Judging from the BBC obit, the whitewash is still going strong. Via Chicken Mark Curtis-
In early October 1965, a group of army officers in Indonesia led by Suharto took advantage of political instability to launch a terror campaign against the powerful Indonesian Communist party (PKI). Much of the killing was carried out by Islamist-led mobs promoted by the military to counter communist and democratic forces. Within a few months, nearly a million people lay dead, while Suharto removed President Ahmed Sukarno and emerged as ruler of a brutal regime that lasted until 1998.
The declassified files show that Britain wanted the Indonesian army to act and encouraged it to do so.
British policy was “to encourage the emergence of a general’s regime”, one intelligence official explained. Another noted that “it seems pretty clear that the generals are going to need all the help they can get and accept without being tagged as hopelessly pro-western, if they are going to be able to gain ascendancy over the communists”. Therefore, “we can hardly go wrong by tacitly backing the generals”.
What does the beeb say-
In 1965, a botched coup attempt eventually propelled him to power.
Exact details are sketchy, but on the morning of 1 October, six senior right-wing generals were captured and murdered. Suharto himself was not at home at the time, and was not caught up in the sweep.
As one of the few surviving top generals, Suharto played a key role in the political turmoil that followed.
Communist sympathisers were blamed for the killings. In a wave of retribution that swept across Indonesia, hundreds of thousands of apparent communists and leftists – as well as members of the envied Chinese community – were massacred.
Back to Pilger-
the Foreign Office opened a branch of its Information Research Department (IRD) in Singapore.
The IRD was a top-secret, cold war propaganda unit headed by Norman Reddaway, one of Her Majesty’s most experienced liars. Reddaway and his colleagues manipulated the “embedded” press and the BBC so expertly that he boasted to Gilchrist in a secret message that the fake story he had promoted – that a communist takeover was imminent in Indonesia – “went all over the world and back again”. He described how an experienced Sunday newspaper journalist agreed “to give exactly your angle on events in his article . . . ie, that this was a kid-glove coup without butchery”.
These lies, bragged Reddaway, could be “put almost instantly back to Indonesia via the BBC”.
With British-supplied Hawk jets and machine-guns, Suharto’s army went on to crush the life out of a quarter of the population of East Timor: 200,000 people. Using the same Hawk jets and machine-guns, the same genocidal army is now attempting to crush the life out of the resistance movement in West Papua and protect the Freeport company, which is mining a mountain of copper in the province. (Henry Kissinger is “director emeritus”.) Some 100,000 Papuans, 18 per cent of the population, have been killed; yet this British-backed “project”, as new Labour likes to say, is almost never reported.
I’m trying to get back into the swing of being an info freako and getting back up to speed on all that stuff happening on this earth planet-y thing. Certainly the Siege of Gaza is looming large in my thoughts and I think that will dominate the rest of the week for me, but… Just quickly something very, very fucking sick is happening. Reality TV began it, where sadistic voyeurism was encouraged and rewarded in viewers, now the once good BBC science program ‘Horizon’ is indulging the death penalty and torture. I saw a piece in the Radio Times with former Tory proto-fascist Michael Portoillo talking about his edition which sought to see if there was humane way to execute people, bearing in mind this is a person in favour of the death penalty. Korova rightly called this out-
Besides, as I said above, the terms ‘humane’ and ‘execution’ do not even belong in the same breath. Quite frankly, I find it deeply offensive to find a programme on the BBC that suggests that execution is acceptable and we just need to seek out a ‘humane’ way of doing it.
The BBC – supporting the executioner.
Now Horizon is doing a show on sensory deprivation (with a celebrity comedian!), a well researched torture technique, they innocently claim it to be about- what does it do to a person? There is no shortage of literature on the subject (will they quote from the CIA’s torture manuals I wonder?) and even if they suppose this program demonstrates what an effective ‘interrogation’ technique it is for making people say what you want them to say and acts as a warning, to ask the question is to presuppose there is real debate about this method of torture. There is none, only war criminals are pretending it’s an open question (and the American Psychological Association, which I guess makes them liable too), this is realtime education in exactly how societies perpetrate great evils, hope the producers are proud. It is also no coincidence that the series is increasingly funded in conjunction with an American broadcaster, this has been going a while and it has lead to lighter weight less demanding programs paced to take advantage of commercial breaks. In short Horizon has been going downhill for a while and now it is playing the Alan Dershowitz game of saying how awful something is, but if you wanted to do it, here’s how. A nadir if you will of ratings grabbing stunts replacing serious scientific documentary making and now more sinisterly it is part of the false debate on torture, marked by its newspeak use of the term ‘interrogation’. In fact what it most reminds me of is intelligent design advocates claiming there is huge debate (or as they say ‘controversial’ to connote any issue where the facts are known but they conflict with powerful groups intentions), which is ironic for a science program, oh except, is that going to be their next show?
Thanks to a comment from Naj, indeed this is hilarious, now the NYT reports the Pentagon itself is sniffing a wrong un, looks like the pro- Iran attack neo-con cabal are a: hugely incompetent (I mean come on, you could do a better job in iMovie, which might explain it, maybe they are stuck on pc’s those poor war pimping bastards) and b: the establishment are really not keen on the whole thing.
The list of those who are less than fully confident in the Pentagon’s video/audio mashup of aggressive maneuvers by Iranian boats near American warships in the Strait of Hormuz now includes the Pentagon itself. Unnamed Pentagon officials said on Wednesday that the threatening voice heard in the audio clip, which was released on Monday night with a disclaimer that it was recorded separately from the video images and merged with them later, is not directly traceable to the Iranian military.
All ships at sea use a common UHF frequency, Channel 16, also known as “bridge-to bridge” radio. Over here, near the U.S., and throughout the Mediterranean, Ch. 16 is used pretty professionally, i.e., chatter is limited to shiphandling issues, identifying yourself, telling other ships what your intentions are to avoid mishaps, etc.
But over in the Gulf, Ch. 16 is like a bad CB radio. Everybody and their brother is on it; chattering away; hurling racial slurs, usually involving Filipinos (lots of Filipinos work in the area); curses involving your mother; 1970’s music broadcast in the wee hours (nothing odder than hearing The Carpenters 50 miles off the coast of Iran at 4 a.m.)
On Ch. 16, esp. in that section of the Gulf, slurs/threats/chatter/etc. is commonplace. So my first thought was that the “explode” comment might not have even come from one of the Iranian craft, but some loser monitoring the events at a shore facility.
The commenter, who signed his posting “SWO officer,” went on to say, “I hope everybody exercises great caution here and doesn’t jump to conclusions.”
Hundreds of hotel rooms across Jerusalem have been booked for Bush’s group, as well as for the media and even Israeli officials, who fear they might not be able to make it home in the evenings.
Bush, who arrives on Wednesday for his first visit as president, will stay at the King David hotel. Eight truckloads of equipment have already arrived in advance of his two-night stay. All the hotel’s rooms will be taken by his entourage – tourists have had their bookings cancelled.
The security precautions, dubbed Operation Clear Skies by the Israeli security services, are immense. Roads around the hotel will be blocked, despite the huge traffic jams that will entail. A force of 10,500 police and security staff will be deployed and Bush will be flown in to the hotel by helicopter from the airport near Tel Aviv. “There will be so much security nobody will be able to get anywhere near the president,” said Micky Rosenfield, Israel’s police spokesman.
That would be the man often called by American chauvinists ‘the leader of the free world’, he is just so popular. And a real wit. The Gaza Siege continues-
Gaza Strip (AP) — With winter deepening, Gazans will be forced to live without lights and electric heaters for eight hours a day because Israel has cut fuel supplies to the territory’s only electric plant in half, Gaza’s top energy official warned Sunday.
Gaza Strip (AP) — The Israeli army stepped up a broad offensive in the Gaza Strip starting Thursday and killed at least 11 Palestinians in a 24-hour period after militants fired a rocket that struck deep into Israel.
And the air war in Iraq breaks cover-
US warplanes have dropped more than 18,000kg of bombs on more than 40 targets in the southern outskirts of the capital, Baghdad. The US military said in a statement on Thursday that the intensive bombing by B-1 bombers and F-16 fighter jets on the village of Arab Jabour was aimed at al-Qaeda targets. However, a local Sunni tribal leader told Al Jazeera that many civilians were feared dead and 300 families had fled after the offensive began earlier in the week.
And even with a WHO death estimate much lower (but larger than Iraq Body Count, ahem) than the John Hopkins University/Lancet figures, the empire says ‘not us guv, it woz the Eye-Racks wot dun it’-
The White House said it had not seen the study but blamed “extremist” elements for the deaths. Tony Fratto, a White House spokesman, said: “The unmistakable fact is that the vast majority of these deaths are caused by the wilful, murderous intentions of extremists committed to taking innocent life. It is also beyond dispute that more Iraqi citizens would be condemned to death and oppression if they were abandoned by America and our coalition partners.”
‘Beyond dispute’ erm, wow with only two words he went from annoying bullshitting coward and war criminal to cruising for a bruising. Hey Tony! Wanna dispute how painful being repeatedly kicked in the balls is? Cos I heard you kind of assume total falsehoods as facts so maybe it doesn’t hurt at all in your universe of lies, you can call it a great step forward for faith base science if you like, I’ll call it a chance to borrow some steel plated rigger boots. Deal?
PS. The BBC take Bush’s criticism of the Lancet study as a definitive condemning word on it and do not mention it was accepted by the UK government internally even as they publicly trashed it and the methodology is accepted and used in many other conflict zones where…not coincidentally the figures suit elite interests.
Curiously, Aaronovitch wrote in 2006 of how “up to three million might have died in the Congo over the past decade”. (Aaronovitch, ‘A debate of the deaf poisoning young minds,’ The Times, November 21, 2006)
The figure of 3 million dead was provided by the leading epidemiologist, Les Roberts, who also conducted the 2004 and 2006 Lancet studies on Iraq using the same methods, producing the figures that Aaronovitch described as “absurd”.