Sunday, December 25, 2005

Merry Christmas

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Italy probes US marine for murder in Iraq

ROME (Reuters) - Italian magistrates have placed a U.S. marine under official investigation for murder over the killing of an Italian agent in Iraq earlier this year, judicial sources said on Thursday.

Intelligence officer Nicola Calipari was shot dead at an improvised U.S. checkpoint on a road near Baghdad in March as he was accompanying an Italian hostage to safety.

Italy and the United States held a joint inquiry into the incident, but they failed to agree joint conclusions and instead issued conflicting reports. While the U.S. military exonerated its troops of any blame, Rome said nervous, inexperienced American soldiers and a badly executed road block were at the root of the shooting.

In the meantime, Italy's independent judiciary have pushed ahead with their own probe and have carried out forensic tests on the car Calipari was traveling in when he came under fire.

Source Reuters

Agent 'W' in 'Get Smarter' ( Must Watch Animation )

Another classic animation from Mark fiore . This time he looks at the claims of internal spying in the U.S.



You can watch it here Here

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Americans ' tortured me ' Saddam claims

Saddam Hussein has been beaten and tortured by the Americans, he has alleged at his trial in Baghdad. "I have been beaten on every place of my body, and the signs are all over my body," he told the court.





A White House spokesman dismissed the accusation, calling it "preposterous", AFP news agency reported. Saddam Hussein is on trial over the killing of 148 people in the Iraqi Shia village of Dujail in 1982. He denies responsibility for the deaths.

Several times during his outburst, the sound feed to the television coverage being seen across Iraq was muted, the BBC's Quil Lawrence reports from Baghdad.

This has been seen as an attempt to keep Saddam Hussein from upstaging the testimony of the witnesses who claimed today that they were tortured at the hands of the former regime, he says.

The prosecution gave little credence to the former president's claim he had been tortured, saying he was being held in an air-conditioned room when some of Baghdad had no power.

Chief prosecutor Jaafar Mousawi said the claims would be investigated and that he would ask for Saddam Hussein to be transferred to Iraqi custody if there was any truth to them.

Iraq's former leader had appeared to accept the court proceedings in the morning after boycotting an earlier sitting, calling the court "unjust". But late in the afternoon, he delivered a lengthy, rambling statement in which he claimed he and his co-defendants had been abused by their American jailers.

Watch a video of events in the court today including Saddam making this claim Here . (Video from the BBC , windows media player required)

Source : BBC

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Is President Bush a liar ? (Must Watch Video)

The 'New York Times’ eavesdropping story .

Was President Bush 'lying' then or is he 'lying' now ?

Either way it seems he is a liar.



Watch the five minute video Here (Windows media file )

Or Flash Presentation

My source : ICH

America kidnapped me

By Khaled El-Masri, KHALED EL-MASRI, a German citizen born in Lebanon, was a car salesman before he was detained in December 2003.




( LA Times ) THE U.S. POLICY of "extraordinary rendition" has a human face, and it is mine.

I am still recovering from an experience that was completely beyond the pale, outside the bounds of any legal framework and unacceptable in any civilized society. Because I believe in the American system of justice, I sued George Tenet, the former CIA director, last week. What happened to me should never be allowed to happen again.

I was born in Kuwait and raised in Lebanon. In 1985, when Lebanon was being torn apart by civil war, I fled to Germany in search of a better life. There I became a citizen and started my own family. I have five children.

On Dec. 31, 2003, I took a bus from Germany to Macedonia. When we arrived, my nightmare began. Macedonian agents confiscated my passport and detained me for 23 days. I was not allowed to contact anyone, including my wife.

At the end of that time, I was forced to record a video saying I had been treated well. Then I was handcuffed, blindfolded and taken to a building where I was severely beaten. My clothes were sliced from my body with a knife or scissors, and my underwear was forcibly removed. I was thrown to the floor, my hands pulled behind me, a boot placed on my back. I was humiliated.

Eventually my blindfold was removed, and I saw men dressed in black, wearing black ski masks. I did not know their nationality. I was put in a diaper, a belt with chains to my wrists and ankles, earmuffs, eye pads, a blindfold and a hood. I was thrown into a plane, and my legs and arms were spread-eagled and secured to the floor. I felt two injections and became nearly unconscious. I felt the plane take off, land and take off. I learned later that I had been taken to Afghanistan.

There, I was beaten again and left in a small, dirty, cold concrete cell. I was extremely thirsty, but there was only a bottle of putrid water in the cell. I was refused fresh water.

That first night I was taken to an interrogation room where I saw men dressed in the same black clothing and ski masks as before. They stripped and photographed me, and took blood and urine samples. I was returned to the cell, where I would remain in solitary confinement for more than four months.

The following night my interrogations began. They asked me if I knew why I had been detained. I said I did not. They told me that I was now in a country with no laws, and did I understand what that meant?

They asked me many times whether I knew the men who were responsible for the Sept. 11 attacks, if I had traveled to Afghanistan to train in camps and if I associated with certain people in my town of Ulm, Germany. I told the truth: that I had no connection to any terrorists, had never been in Afghanistan and had never been involved in any extremism. I asked repeatedly to meet with a representative of the German government, or a lawyer, or to be brought before a court. Always, my requests were ignored.

In desperation, I began a hunger strike. After 27 days without food, I was taken to meet with two Americans — the prison director and another man, referred to as "the Boss." I pleaded with them to release me or bring me before a court, but the prison director replied that he could not release me without permission from Washington. He also said that he believed I should not be detained in the prison.

After 37 days without food, I was dragged to the interrogation room, where a feeding tube was forced through my nose into my stomach. I became extremely ill, suffering the worst pain of my life.

After three months, I was taken to meet an American who said he had traveled from Washington, D.C., and who promised I would soon be released. I was also visited by a German-speaking man who explained that I would be allowed to return home but warned that I was never to mention what had happened because the Americans were determined to keep the affair a secret.

On May 28, 2004, almost five months after I was first kidnapped, I was blindfolded, handcuffed and chained to an airplane seat. I was told we would land in a country other than Germany, because the Americans did not want to leave traces of their involvement, but that I would eventually get to Germany.

After we landed I was driven into the mountains, still blindfolded. My captors removed my handcuffs and blindfold and told me to walk down a dark, deserted path and not to look back. I was afraid I would be shot in the back.

I turned a bend and encountered three men who asked why I was illegally in Albania. They took me to the airport, where I bought a ticket home (my wallet had been returned to me). Only after the plane took off did I believe I was actually going home. I had long hair, a beard and had lost 60 pounds. My wife and children had gone to Lebanon, believing I had abandoned them. Thankfully, now we are together again in Germany.

I still do not know why this happened to me. I have been told that the American secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, confirmed in a meeting with the German chancellor that my case was a "mistake" — and that American officials later denied that she said this. I was not present at this meeting. No one from the American government has ever contacted me or offered me any explanation or apology for the pain they caused me.

Secretary Rice has stated publicly, during a discussion of my case, that "any policy will sometimes result in errors." But that is exactly why extraordinary rendition is so dangerous. As my interrogators made clear when they told me I was being held in a country with no laws, the very purpose of extraordinary rendition is to deny a person the protection of the law.

I begged my captors many times to bring me before a court, where I could explain to a judge that a mistake had been made. Every time, they refused. In this way, a "mistake" that could have been quickly corrected led to several months of cruel treatment and meaningless suffering, for me and my entire family.

My captors would not bring me to court, so last week I brought them to court. Helped by the American Civil Liberties Union, I sued the U.S. government because I believe what happened to me was illegal and should not be done to others. And I believe the American people, when they hear my story, will agree.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

UK : Did Intelligence agencies have prior knowledge of 'London Underground' attack !

( The Times ) Spymasters warned Tony Blair before the July 7 suicide bombings that Al-Qaeda was planning a “high priority” attack specifically aimed at the London Tube.



A leaked four-page report by the Joint Intelligence Committee (JIC), which oversees all spying, is the first definitive evidence that the intelligence services expected terrorists to strike at the Underground.

The disclosure will fuel critics’ suspicions that Blair decided to rule out a public inquiry into the bombings last week because it could expose intelligence failings at the highest level.

The document, marked Top Secret and signed off by the heads of MI5, MI6 and GCHQ, the government eavesdropping centre, was based partly on the interrogation of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, Al-Qaeda’s then operations chief.

It stated: “The UK and its interests remain high in Al-Qaeda’s priorities . . . Plans have been considered to attack Heathrow, the London Underground and other targets.”

Ministers and senior security officials have insisted that there was no warning of an imminent attack ahead of the July 7 bombings, in which 56 people died.
While technically true, the leaked document dated April, 2003, will be seized on by critics to show that ministers failed to disclose that they knew Al-Qaeda was targeting the Tube.

A statement in September 2003 by the prime minister and Sir John Stevens, the then Metropolitan police commissioner, that a suicide attack was “inevitable”, did not name the Tube as a specific target.

The performance of MI5 has already been criticised because it lost track of Mohammad Sidique Khan, leader of the suicide gang, whom it placed under temporary surveillance 18 months before the bombings.

Officers judged that Khan was not an immediate threat to national security and decided to stop monitoring him.

Blair ruled out a public inquiry on the grounds that it would detract from the investigation into the July 7 bombs and the failed July 21 attacks.

The report dated April 2, 2003 is entitled International Terrorism: The Current Threat from Islamic Extremists. Mohammed, who organised the 9/11 attacks, had been arrested in Pakistan the previous month.

In a key passage it states: “The UK and its interests remain high in Al-Qaeda’s priorities. Interrogation of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and other detainees confirms this. “It shows that plans have been considered to attack Heathrow, the London Underground and other targets.”
The report adds that terrorist suspects with links to east Africa are under surveillance.

“We do not yet know the full nature of their activity, but they do not appear to be planning attacks here (some were questioned by the police).”

JIC documents are circulated to a small group of senior ministers. These include the home secretary, the foreign secretary and defence secretary as well as top civil servants in Whitehall.

The Tories demanded the government publish the whole JIC document and disclose what other intelligence there had been about threats to the Tube. Patrick Mercer, the party’s homeland security spokesman, said: “This leak underlines our demand for an independent inquiry.”

Cheney makes surprise visit to Iraq ( Utilizing the 'Last Throws' of his credibility ?)

US Vice-President Dick Cheney has made an unannounced visit to Iraq - his first since the 2003 US-led invasion. Mr Cheney praised Iraq's "tremendous" elections last week and was described by President Jalal Talabani as a "hero for liberating Iraq".



The visit was kept so secret that it is thought even the Talabani as a "hero for liberating Iraq".

Iraqi prime minister was not told beforehand. As one of the main advocates of the Iraq war, Mr Cheney has come under constant criticism by opponents. The trip - Mr Cheney's first since 1991 when he was defence minister in George Bush senior's administration - came on the same day that President George W Bush was to give a prime-time address on Iraq.

The vice-president flew around the Baghdad area in a pack of eight fast-moving Blackhawk helicopters with guns mounted on the sides, the Associated Press news agency reports.

It has been a difficult few months for the vice-president, culminating in the five criminal charges filed against his chief of staff Lewis Libby over the investigation into the leak of the name of CIA agent Valerie Plame.

Add to that Mr Cheney's recent humiliating failure to stop the Senate passing new guidelines for the treatment of detainees - and the vice-president no longer looks all-powerful.

Even the Democrats see him as a weakness worth exploiting, with Senate minority leader Harry Reid saying the vice-president was involved in the "manipulation of intelligence to sell the war in Iraq" and that America could do better.


This is Mr Cheney's first visit to Iraq since the war began ....

Saturday, December 17, 2005

The Iraq war by Numbers

There has been ....





$204.4 billion spent , thats the cost to the US of the war so far. The UK's bill up until March 2005 was £3.1 billion

2,339 Allied troops killed

98 UK troops killed

30,000 Estimated Iraqi civilian deaths

0 Number of WMDs found

8 per cent of Iraqi children suffering acute malnutrition

$35,819m World Bank estimated cost of reconstruction

53,470 Iraqi insurgents killed

67 per cent Iraqis who feel less secure because of occupation

$343 Average monthly salary for an Iraqi soldier. Average monthly salary for an American soldier in Iraq: $4,160.75

66 journalists killed in Iraq. Journalists killed during Vietnam war: 63

5 foreign civilians kidnapped per month

47 per cent Iraqis who never have enough electricity

20 casualties per month from unexploded mines

20 per cent Inflation rate 2005

25-40 per cent Estimated unemployment rate, Nov 2005

251 Foreigners kidnapped

70 per cent of Iraqi's whose sewage system rarely works

183,000 British and American troops are still in action in Iraq. There are 162,000 US troops and 8,000 British with 13,000 from other nations

90 Daily attacks by insurgents in Nov '05. In Jun '03: 8

82 per centIraqis who are "strongly opposed" to presence of coalition troops

15,955 US troops wounded in action


Of course many of these numbers are disputed but usually due to the estimates being too low , I dont vouch for any of these numbers. I am just printing them exactly as they appear in the source The Independent

Senate Rejects Extension of Patriot Act

WASHINGTON - The Senate on Friday rejected attempts to reauthorize several provisions of the USA Patriot Act as infringing too much on Americans' privacy and liberty, dealing a huge defeat to the Bush administration and Republican leaders.



In a crucial vote early Friday, the bill's Senate supporters were not able to get the 60 votes needed to overcome a threatened filibuster by Sens. Russ Feingold, D-Wis., and Larry Craig, R-Idaho, and their allies. The final vote was 52-47.

President Bush, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and Republicans congressional leaders had lobbied fiercely to make most of the expiring Patriot Act provisions permanent, and add new safeguards and expiration dates to the two most controversial parts: roving wiretaps and secret warrants for books, records and other items from businesses, hospitals and organizations such as libraries.

Feingold, Craig and other critics said that wasn't enough, and have called for the law to be extended in its present form so they can continue to try and add more civil liberties safeguards. But Bush, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist and House Speaker Dennis Hastert have said they won't accept a short-term extension of the law.

If a compromise is not reached, the 16 Patriot Act provisions expire on Dec. 31.

Iraq insurgents say election truce won't last

FALLUJA, Iraq, Dec 16 (Reuters) - Iraqi secular insurgents and Islamist militants said on Friday they would soon resume attacks on U.S. troops and their Iraqi allies, saying they had only observed an election truce to let fellow Sunni Arabs vote.


Both Saddam Hussein loyalists and religious militants said the insurgency would rage until U.S. troops leave Iraq.

"As long as the occupation exists along with those agents who brought it, we will continue our armed struggle," said Abu Muyasir, 52, a former member of Saddam's Baath party who is a local guerrilla leader in Falluja, west of Baghdad.

He said rebels would also remove politicians such as Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari, Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Chalabi and Abdul Aziz al-Hakim, a leader in the ruling Shi'ite bloc.

"This does not mean stopping our holy war activities. We promise the coming days will be tough on the Americans and their supporters in the Iraqi army," said a local 48-year-old leader in Muhammad's Army, an Iraqi group whose members once served in Saddam's intelligence services.

Source Reuters.

Domestic spying OK'd by president

WASHINGTON - President Bush signed a secret order in 2002 authorizing the National Security Agency to eavesdrop on U.S. citizens and foreign nationals in the United States, despite previous legal prohibitions against such domestic spying, sources with knowledge of the program said Thursday night.




The supersecretive NSA, which in the past has generally been forbidden from domestic spying except in narrow circumstances involving foreign nationals, has monitored the e-mails, telephone calls and other communications of hundreds, and perhaps thousands, of people under the program, the New York Times first disclosed Thursday night.

The aim of the program was to rapidly monitor the phone calls and other communications of people in the United States believed to have contact with suspected associates of al-Qaida and other terrorist groups overseas, according to two former senior administration officials.

Authorities, including former NSA director Gen. Michael Hayden, were worried that vital information could be lost in the time it took to secure a warrant from a special surveillance court, sources said.

But the program's ramifications also prompted concerns from some quarters, including from Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., and from the presiding judge of the surveillance court, which oversees lawful domestic spying, according to the New York Times.

The newspaper said it held off on publishing its story about the NSA program for a year after administration officials said its disclosure would harm national security.

The White House made no comment Thursday night. A senior official reached by telephone said the issue was too sensitive to talk about. None of several press officers contacted responded to telephone or e-mail messages.

Congressional sources familiar with limited aspects of the program would not discuss any classified details but made clear there were serious questions regarding the legality of the NSA actions.

Source : Here.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Watch Kidnap and Torture American Style ( Video )

Kidnap and Torture American Style follows the stories of terror suspects. Some of them are British residents, who have been snatched from streets and airports throughout the world before being flown to the Middle-East and Africa. In countries such as Syria and Egypt, they undergo agonising ordeals before being incarcerated, without ever facing an open trial.




Testimonies from those suspects allege that Britain has a key role in these shady operations from supplying intelligence information on which interrogations are based, to ordering their arrest and detention.

This is a must watch video (real player required)

Click here to watch

My source for this video
ICH

Did Ayatollah Sistani plays major role in Iraqi elections

BAGHDAD — There is an Arabic phrase that aptly describes Grand Ayatollah Ali Al Sistani's role in this week's elections: "Absent yet present." Sistani, who wields vast influence among Iraq's majority Shiites, has not publicly endorsed any candidates.





But there's little doubt of his choices — and why.

The Iranian-born cleric has issued a binding fatwa, or edict, instructing followers to vote in Thursday's parliamentary elections. He did not endorse any particular candidates, but his cryptic warning against "splitting the vote and risking its waste" suggested his support for major Shiite religious parties grouped in the United Iraqi Alliance. The Sunday fatwa urged Shiites to vote for those "who can be trusted with their principles and safeguard their high interests." By avoiding an explicit endorsement of the Shiite coalition, Sistani can give the appearance of staying above the political fray, sticking to his role as the spiritual mentor of Iraq's Shiites.

But the wording appears to be a subtle message to followers to vote for the alliance, made up of mostly loyal Shiite parties. "Typically, Sistani is being very, very clever," said Vali Nasr, an expert on Shiites who lectures on national security affairs at the US Naval Postgraduate School in Monterrey, California.

"Once he tells them to go out and vote, they know who to vote for and it's not the Kurds, the Sunnis or the secularists." A frail man in his mid-70s, Sistani has been a major influence on Iraq's political scene since the 2003 overthrow of Saddam Hussein's regime. That leverage has been at the heart of an ongoing and somewhat divisive debate on the role of the clergy in a post-Saddam Iraq where religious groups, both Sunni and Shiite, are shaping the nation's political future.

Sistani'a associates maintain that he sees himself as a father figure working for the interests of all Iraqis. But many, including secular Shiites, believe he is promoting Shiite interests with the aim of enshrining the community's place as Iraq's dominant political force.

The debate over the clergy's role was fuelled by Sistani's endorsement of the Shiite alliance in general elections held in January, a decision that helped the alliance emerge as the largest single bloc in the now-outgoing parliament.

That decision enraged the alliance's rivals, like former prime minister and secular Shiite Iyad Allawi, who has repeatedly warned that the clergy's involvement in politics could be the prelude to an Islamic state in Iraq.

Source : Here .

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Iraq : Voting starts and so do the bombs

Iraqis are electing their first full-term government since the US-led invasion in 2003 amid tight security.

A loud blast rocked the capital, Baghdad, shortly after the polls opened at 0700 local time.


Police said the blast was caused by a mortar landing near the heavily-fortified Green Zone, home to the Iraqi government and a number of Western embassies, the Associated Press reported.

In Mosul, a bomb killed a hospital guard and wounded two other people when it went off between a polling station and a hospital, Dr. Bahaaldin al-Bakri said. A mortar also landed near a polling station without causing any injuries, according to the U.S. military.

Reports of smaller explosions are also coming in from around the country

Backdroppin (must watch animation )

Another Classic Animation from Mark Fiore . This week we go back to the story of Iraq and the US debate about withdrawing the troops .

Watch it Here..

Putin defines Russia as defender of Islamic World

Russia is the most reliable partner of the Islamic world and most faithful defender of its interests, Russian President Vladimir Putin said in Chechnya’s capital Grozny. Putin unexpectedly visited the war-ravaged republic to speak in the local parliament that opened for its first sitting on Monday.




“Russia has always been the most faithful, reliable and consistent defender of the interests of the Islamic world. Russia has always been the best and most reliable partner and ally. By destroying Russia, these people (terrorists) destroy one of the main pillars of the Islamic world in the struggle for rights (of Islamic states) in the international arena, the struggle for their legitimate rights,” Putin was quoted by Itar —Tass as saying, drawing applause from Chechen parliamentarians.

Those who are trying to defend these false (extremist) ideals, those who are used as cannon fodder, who plant a mine for ten dollars or shoot with automatic weapons either do not know or have forgotten this,” the president said.

“Those who organize such activity certainly do this deliberately, understanding what goals they want to achieve,” Putin went on to say.
The leaders of the main Islamic states understand this, he added.

For this reason their representatives were present at the general voting in the referendum on the Constitution of the Chechen Republic, they were at the presidential elections; both the Organization of Islamic Conference and the League of Arab States, our colleagues and friends were present at the elections to the parliament.”

Putin said that “member countries of the Organization of Islamic Conference have unanimously passed a decision that Russia will begin working as an observer on a permanent basis”.

And we shall continue our activity within the framework of this organization. Quite recently a delegation of Russia’s Muslims has been to Mecca to discuss the problems of Muslim world development with their brothers. I repeat: Russia will pursue this policy,” the president added.

Source : Here

Police Seize Forged Ballots Headed to Iraq From Iran

New York Times BAGHDAD, Iraq, Dec. 13 - Less than two days before nationwide elections, the Iraqi border police seized a tanker on Tuesday that had just crossed from Iran filled with thousands of forged ballots, an official at the Interior Ministry said.




The tanker was seized in the evening by agents with the American-trained border protection force at the Iraqi town of Badra, after crossing at Munthirya on the Iraqi border, the official said. According to the Iraqi official, the border police found several thousand partly completed ballots inside.

The official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly, said the Iranian truck driver told the police under interrogation that at least three other trucks filled with ballots had crossed from Iran at different spots along the border.

The official, who did not attend the interrogation, said he did not know where the driver was headed, or what he intended to do with the ballots.

The seizure of the truck comes at a delicate time in Iran's relations with both Iraq and the United States. The American government has said Iranian agents are deeply involved in trying to influence events in Iraq, by funneling money to Shiite political parties and by arming and training many of the illegal militias that are bedeviling the country.

Agents of the Iranian government are believed to be supporting the two main Shiite political parties here - the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq and the Dawa Party -with money and other assistance. Both parties support a strong role for Islam in the Iraqi state; however, compared with the Iranian government itself, which is a strict theocracy, the Iraqi version is relatively moderate.

The truth ? , Well The claim is being denied

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Source The head of Iraq's border guards denied police reports on Wednesday that a tanker truck stuffed with thousands of forged ballot papers had been seized crossing into Iraq from Iran before Thursday's elections.

"This is all a lie," said Lieutenant General Ahmed al- Khafaji, the chief of the U.S.-trained force which has responsibility for all Iraqi borders."I heard this yesterday and I checked all the border crossings right away. The borders are all closed anyway," he told Reuters. Iraq's frontiers are closed for the period of the election.

"I contacted all the border crossing points and there was no report of any such incident."

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

History of the CIA ( Video )

If you have the time this is a must watch video history of the CIA . ( or a noteworthy prologue to the CIA's renditions programme )

Many interesting points are looked at in this firm including the myth that the CIA does not torture people . Warning there are violent Images and scenes in the film .
Here

UK: 'NO PUBLIC INQUIRY' INTO JULY 7th LONDON ATTACK

There will be no public inquiry into the 7 July London bombings which killed 52 people, the Home Office has said. Ministers will instead publish a definitive account of what happened in a written narrative.


The account will include material gathered from intelligence and security agencies and the police. But some Muslim groups and victims' relatives have expressed anger, saying a wider public inquiry is essential for understanding what happened.

The attacks by four suicide bombers on three Tube trains and a bus on 7 July killed 52 people and injured hundreds. After the bombings there were calls for a public inquiry and, in September, Home Secretary Charles Clarke said one had not been ruled out.

But ministers have decided it would divert attention and resources away from pressing security and community issues, and take too long.

The government has acknowledged, however, that the public requires a complete picture about the events, and details about the four men who carried out the attacks. "A narrative of events will not satisfy anybody. This is not something we will go away on" Saba Mozakka, whose mother Behnaz died in the Piccadilly Line bomb attack

The remit of the inquests into their deaths does not extend that far and the information will not emerge at a criminal trial - because there will not be one as the bombers also died in the attacks. Instead, a senior civil servant will compile a narrative, drawing together intelligence and police material. Leading Muslims who have been lobbying for an inquiry say such a straight narrative would not be enough.

"There has to be a fully comprehensive public inquiry that will provide us the information we need as to what actually happened on the day, how it happened and why it happened so that we will be better prepared to prevent such tragedy happening again," Sir Iqbal Sacranie, of the Muslim Council of Britain, told the BBC.

Opposition MPs want to know if key intelligence questions on the bombings will be fully answered. They want to find out why there was no intelligence of the planned attack, whether officers should have followed up an earlier sighting of the alleged ringleader, and why the UK threat level was reduced.

Source : Here .

Of course nobody will notice that it is the British Muslims who are pushing hard for an open and public inquiry into the attack and few will question the motive behind the decision not to have an open inquiry.

Is it any wonder that many people think they have something to hide .

CIA abduction claims 'credible' whilst assurances from Straw are 'worthless'

Allegations that the CIA abducted and illegally transported terror suspects across European borders are credible, an investigator has said. Swiss senator Dick Marty has submitted a report on the claims, made in the media, to a meeting of the human rights committee of the Council of Europe.



Mr Marty criticised the US for refusing to confirm or deny the allegations.

Mr Marty's findings were released in an official statement by a committee of the 46-member Council of Europe, the continent's human rights watchdog.

"The elements we have gathered so far tend to reinforce the credibility of the allegations concerning the transport and temporary detention of detainees - outside all judicial procedure - in European countries," He went on: "Legal proceedings in progress in certain countries seemed to indicate that individuals had been abducted and transferred to other countries without respect for any legal standards."

The European Union has so far declined to investigate, although it has said any member state with secret prisons on its territory could have its EU voting rights suspended. Poland and Romania have been named by the media as possible locations of CIA secret prisons, but have denied the allegations.

In his statement, Mr Marty said it was "still too early to assert that there had been any involvement or complicity of member states in illegal actions". But, he warned, if the allegations proved correct any European states involved "would stand accused of having seriously breached their human rights obligations to the Council of Europe".

Meanwhile in the UK the foreign secretary Jack Straw is coming under fire ....

Jack Straw's statement that there are no records of the CIA flying terror suspects through the UK to face torture may be "worthless", a group of MPs say. The MPs are not reassured by the foreign secretary and say they have legal advice suggesting the government must actively investigate the claims. But Mr Straw later told MPs there was no need at all for a judge-led inquiry.

( something to hide Mr Straw ?)

Conservative MP Andrew Tyrie and Liberal Democrat foreign affairs spokesman Sir Menzies Campbell have set up the all party parliamentary group on extraordinary rendition. Mr Tyrie said Mr Straw's comments should "reassure nobody". He said it was "hardly surprising" there were no records because the Home Office had said "records of transit application are not kept once the transit has been completed".

It is fun watching the ever increasing hole being dug on the issue of 'renditions' (another nice word for the Orwell fanclub ). It is just a matter of sitting back and waiting to see whom from each country gets to fall into the hole . It sure is a big enough hole so dont rush guys , there is plenty of room for all of you but please do try to take a few senior US officials with you if you dont mind

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

The latest on the Buncefield oil depot fire ( Video )

Well we are over 40 hours on from the explosion and it is dificult to spot any difference in the images . judge for yourself with this video . BBC




Note the video will link you to the server of the BBC , I am not responsible for this link in any way ...

Monday, December 12, 2005

Bush says 30,000 Iraqis killed since war began

PHILADELPHIA, Dec 12 (Reuters) - U.S. President George W. Bush said on Monday about 30,000 Iraqis have been killed since the Iraq war began and predicted this week's election will not be perfect but will be part of a Middle East turning point.





"No nation in history has made the transition to a free society without facing challenges, setbacks and false starts," Bush said in a speech and question-and-answer session at the World Affairs Council, striking a more realistic tone than he has sometimes in the past.

The speech was Bush's third in a series leading up to the election as he tries to bolster support for his Iraq strategy in hopes of bringing home some U.S. troops next year if Iraqi military forces are ready to fight the insurgency.

He needs a relatively smooth showing during Thursday's election in Iraq to hold up as a sign of progress and try to counter daily news of suicide bombings and U.S. troop deaths -- more than 2,100 since the start of the war -- that have soured Americans on the war.

Bush predicted insurgent violence will not end with the election and said much work remains to make Iraq's fledging democracy inclusive to all.

"This week elections won't be perfect, and a successful vote is not the end of the process. Iraqis still have more difficult work ahead," he said, adding, "These enemies aren't going to give up because of a successful election."

Still, he said, with Iraqis turning out three times in crucial votes, "the year 2005 will be recorded as a turning point in the history of Iraq, the history of the Middle East, and the history of freedom."

Asked about the Iraqi death toll, Bush said about 30,000 Iraqis have been killed since the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in March 2003.

It was the first time Bush has publicly offered such an estimate. His aides quickly pointed out the president was not offering an official estimate.

"There is not an official U.S. government estimate," White House spokesman Scott McClellan said. He said the 30,000 figure was based on "public estimates cited by media reports."

Ohio Democratic Rep. Dennis Kucinich demanded the Bush administration release all information it has on the number of Iraqi civilian deaths.

"It is far past time for this sort of admission from this White House," he said.


Source : Reuters

MI6 and CIA 'sent student to Morocco to be tortured'

An Ethiopian student who lived in London claims that he was brutally tortured with the involvement of British and US intelligence agencies.





Binyam Mohammed, 27, says he spent nearly three years in the CIA's network of 'black sites'. In Morocco he claims he underwent the strappado torture of being hung for hours from his wrists, and scalpel cuts to his chest and penis and that a CIA officer was a regular interrogator.

After his capture in Pakistan, Mohammed says British officials warned him that he would be sent to a country where torture was used. Moroccans also asked him detailed questions about his seven years in London, which his lawyers believe came from British sources.

Western agencies believed that he was part of a plot to buy uranium in Asia, bring it to the US and build a 'dirty bomb' in league with Jose Padilla, a US citizen. Mohammed signed a confession but told his lawyer, Clive Stafford Smith, he had never met Padilla, or anyone in al-Qaeda. Padilla spent almost four years in American custody, accused of the plot. Last month, after allegations of the torture used against Mohammed emerged, the claims against Padilla were dropped. He now faces a civil charge of supporting al-Qaeda financially.

A senior US intelligence official told The Observer that the CIA is now in 'deep crisis' following last week's international political storm over the agency's practice of 'extraordinary rendition' - transporting suspects to countries where they face torture. 'The smarter people in the Directorate of Operations [the CIA's clandestine operational arm] know that one day, if they do this stuff, they are going to face indictment,' he said. 'They are simply refusing to participate in these operations, and if they don't have big mortgage or tuition fees to pay they're thinking about trying to resign altogether.'


Read more at the Source : Observer

Iraqi electoral commission reports firs cases of "iIregularities"

BAGHDAD, Iraq - With just four days to go until parliamentary elections, the Iraqi electoral commission said yesterday that it had found irregularities in voter registration in the volatile northern oil city of Kirkuk.





The discovery was the first instance of an election irregularity announced by the commission as the country prepares for the vote.

The commission said experts conducting an audit of voter lists found that there had been an unexpected surge in voter registration in the area. When the experts scrutinized the voter registration forms, the commission said in a written statement, they found that many had been filled out incorrectly. Some had missing signatures and others had more than one signature. In some cases, the same name appeared on several forms.

Source :Here

Australia Riots : PM urges tolerance after race violence

SYDNEY, Dec 12 (Reuters) - Australian Prime Minister John Howard called for ethnic and religious tolerance on Monday after racial violence, spurred on police say by white supremacists, erupted in parts of Sydney.




Racial tension sparked violence on Cronulla Beach on Sunday when around 5,000 people, some yelling racist chants, attacked youths of Middle Eastern background, saying they were defending their beach after lifesavers were attacked there last week.

Violence then spread to a second beach, Maroubra, where scores of men armed with baseball bats smashed about 100 cars. At Botany Bay, riot police confronted hundreds of youths and police said a man was stabbed in the back in a southern Sydney suburb in what media reports said appeared to be racial violence.

"Mob violence is always sickening and always to be unconditionally condemned," Howard told a news conference on Monday, by when violence had subsided. "Attacking people on the basis of race and ethnicity is totally unacceptable and should be repudiated by all Australians, irrespective of background and politics," he said.

New South Wales (NSW) police said a group of Neo-Nazis and white supremacists stirred on the drunken crowd at Cronulla.

"There appears to be an element of white supremacists and they really have no place in mainstream Australian society. Those sort of characters are best placed in Berlin 1930s, not in Cronulla 2005," NSW Police Minister Carl Scully told reporters.

As the crowd moved along the beach and foreshore on Sunday, one man on the back of a truck shouted: "No more Lebs (Lebanese)" -- a chant picked up by the group around him. Others carried Australian flags and dressed in Australian sports shirts. Drunken youths chased and attacked Australians of Middle East appearance, sending some cowering into shops and hotels for safety, as riot police and dog squads tried to stop the violence.

NSW state premier Morris Iemma said the violence reflected the "ugly face of racism in Australia". But Howard stressed the Cronulla violence was a law and order problem and did not reflect a deeper problem with Australia's multi-cultural society. "I do not accept that there is underlying racism in this country," he said.

"This nation of ours has been able to absorb millions of people from different parts of the world over a period of some 40 years and we have done so with remarkable success," he said. "It is important that we reaffirm our respect for freedom of religion in this country, but it is also important that we place greater emphasis on integration of people into the broader community and the avoidance of tribalism."

Sydney's Islamic community blamed the violence at Cronulla Beach on "racist and irresponsible" sections of the media which turned a common youth issue into an issue of ethnicity.

Australia's small Muslim community has expressed feelings of alienation since the Iraq war, reporting racist verbal abuse and occasional assaults. Australia is a staunch U.S. ally and was one of the first nations to commit troops to Iraq and Afghanistan. Local Muslims have also expressed concern about recent new anti-terror laws, which they fear could target them, and warnings of home-grown terrorism by intelligence authorities.

The Howard government has used security as a major issue in its last two election victories, but the prime minister dismissed any suggestion his government's warnings about home-grown terrorists had fuelled the rampage. "It is impossible to know how individuals react but everything this government's said about home-grown terrorism has been totally justified," said Howard. "It is a potential threat. To suggest that one should remain silent...is a complete failure of leadership."

Source : Reuters

Sunday, December 11, 2005

BREAKING : Huge explosions rock UK oil depot

Three large explosions have taken place at an oil depot near Hemel Hempstead in Hertfordshire. Police say there are casualties. They are at the scene, said a spokesman.




The first blast happened at 0603 GMT, at the Buncefield oil depot, close to the junction 8 of the M1 motorway 10 miles from Luton Airport. Residents up to 30 miles from the scene reported hearing a "loud boom". One eye witness told BBC News: "There are lots of houses damaged."

Witnesses said another two explosions followed the first at 0626 GMT and 0627 GMT. The M1 near the scene has been closed in both directions.

Eye witness Sam Matton, who lives half-a-mile from the depot told BBC News: "The sky is sort of orange. The flames have got to be 60ft up in the air.

"I was in bed, I was actually having a bad dream and I thought the world had ended. The loft hatch in my house has actually fallen out, my neighbour's window has actually broken from the impact. There was a first major explosion and about three explosions after that. "

Dave Franklin told BBC News: "We woke up at 0555 GMT. There was a massive loud bang which broke windows above us and to the right. The whole sky just turned orange and black. "Several other neighbours said they did see a plane go into the depot."

Duncan Milligan, of Hemel Hempstead, said he was awoken by the explosion as his house "shook .There was a loud boom and the house shook violently. I am about three miles from where the explosion took place but I can see flames high in the sky and smoke billowing everywhere. There is clearly a building on fire near the motorway and police and emergency services are everywhere."


Source : Here . Eye witness account Here (video) LIVE VIDEO FEED (windows media) Note this link may change also please note that none of these links are mine they will all connect you to the BBC source

It is early to be looking at what caused the explosions . but the mention by witnesses of them watching a 'plane' fly into the complex is a little concerning. Things are very sketchy and subject to change from my words above so please click the Live feed above for the constantly updating story

Last-minute climate deals reached ( Video )

Ministers at the climate change conference in Montreal have made a series of breakthroughs in plans to combat global warming. On the conference's last day, Kyoto Protocol signatories agreed to extend the treaty on emissions reductions beyond its 2012 deadline.



And a broader group of countries including the US agreed to non-binding talks on long-term measures. The US had refused to accept any deal leading to commitments to cuts.

Earlier, former President Bill Clinton said the US approach was "flat wrong". After Mr Clinton's remarks - which were warmly received - the official US team appeared to shift its position.

Last week delegates finalised a rule book for Kyoto, formally making it fully operational after years of negotiation and ratification. The 1997 treaty commits industrialised countries to cut their combined carbon emissions to 5% below 1990 levels by 2008-12.

The US appears to have been stung by negative coverage in the US media after it walked out in protest at Canadian attempts to get it to accept mandatory targets, as well as by Mr Clinton's strong comments , our correspondent says.

The US has still not budged on its opposition to the Kyoto treaty, and faced heavy criticism for its stance.

Jennifer Morgan, climate-change expert for environmental group WWF, said US negotiator Harlan Watson's decision to leave the talks overnight showed "just how willing the US administration is to walk away from a healthy planet and its responsibilities".

See the groundbreaking deal and celebrations
Here ( windows media file )

Source and Video from the BBC

Iraqi Shiites, Sunnis Issue Declaration for US Pullout

As the presence of foreign troops in Iraq is under debate, the largest Shiite and Sunni groups issued a declaration on Friday demanding a deadline announcement for the US pullout.






The declaration condemns terrorism, violence, kidnapping and murders; It also provides a legal aspect to insurgency, and vows not to normalize relations with Israel.


It was signed by radical Shiite leader Moqtada al-Sadr, the Prime Minister, Ibrahim Jaafari, the Deputy Prime Minister, Ahmed Celebi, the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI) and supporters of the Sunni Iraqi Common Front, among others. The Front, in control of the Duleimi tribe, is very popular with the Sunnis ahead of the December 15 elections. It is expected to win a large portion of Sunni votes owing to the inclusion of the former president of the Iraqi Turkmen Front, Faruq Abdurrahman, as a member of the Sunni front. The Supreme Council of the Islamic Revolution of Iraq, the largest Shiite group, has also signed the declaration, which attaches special importance to the document as well.


Source Here

UK 'covered up' Israeli nuke deal

The UK government has been accused of covering up the sale of 20 tonnes of heavy water to Israel for its nuclear programme in the early 1950s. The BBC's Newsnight says fresh evidence shows the UK knew the ingredient it sold to Norway would be subsequently sold on to Israel for nuclear weapons.




Government officials insist they knew nothing of Israel's nuclear ambitions or Norway's intentions. The Foreign Office has declined to comment, amid calls for an inquiry.

Liberal Democrat foreign affairs spokesman Sir Menzies Campbell is asking Foreign Secretary Jack Straw for clarification. He said: "The trouble with this cover-up is that this is not a cover-up, it simply flies in the face of the known facts, now that we have access to previously classified documents."

Labour MP Jeremy Corbyn wants the Commons' foreign affairs select committee to investigate. He said: "Right back to the late 1950s we were a party to the transfer of nuclear technology to Israel. We were party to the development of a nuclear facility in Israel that could and has been used for the manufacture of nuclear weapons. Norway was always a smokescreen."

In August, Newsnight uncovered papers which revealed details of the deal.

But Foreign Office minister Kim Howells insisted Britain had simply negotiated the sale of surplus heavy water to Norway. He said the UK knew nothing of Norway's intentions or Israel's desire to start a nuclear weapons programme.

But Newsnight says it has new evidence that casts doubt on these claims. It says the UK Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA) had written to Foreign Office official Donald Cape, who approved the sale.

In the letter, the energy authority said too much heavy water had been bought from a Norwegian firm and another company from the country wanted to buy it back and sell it on to Israel.

Newsnight also has a copy of the company's contract with Israel, which stated it would provide heavy water from the UKAE.

Mr Cape denied the sale back to Norway was a "sham". But Newsnight says confidential letters he wrote suggest the Foreign Office knew Israel had been trying to buy uranium from South Africa. One letter quotes CIA reports from 1957 and 1958 that say Israel will try and establish a nuclear programme when it has the means.

Other secret government documents apparently say: "It has been, and remains our opinion, that Israel wanted an independent supply of plutonium so as to be in a position to make a nuclear weapon if she wished."

Mr Cape told Newsnight: "We had no idea at that stage, nobody suspected - not only in Britain but in the US - that the Israelis hoped to manufacture nuclear weapons."


Source : BBC

Iraq elections: A quick runthrough the main parties and their policies

Iraqis will choose from among 231 political parties, coalitions and individual candidates at parliamentary elections on 15 December.

The following is a rundown of those parties expected to be the strongest contenders:




UNITED IRAQI ALLIANCE - List No. 555

The United Iraqi Alliance was formed with the blessing of Iraq's most influential Shia cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali al- Sistani, to run in the first post-Saddam Hussein elections in January this year. It won overwhelmingly, securing almost half the vote, and remains Iraq's most powerful political group.

However, some parties have broken away since January and the Alliance goes into December's election slightly weaker than it was.

The list consists of 18 conservative Shia Islamist groups, although it is dominated by just three: current Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari's Dawa party, the pro-Iranian Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq, led by Abdul-Aziz al-Hakim, and the Iraqi nationalist Sadr movement, loyal to populist Shia cleric Moqtada al-Sadr.

Al-Sistani has not explicitly backed the Alliance this time, but he has urged followers to vote for religious candidates and not to support weaker lists, an implicit endorsement of the Alliance.

Politically, the list stresses security, sovereignty and reconstruction, and has promised to crack down on the insurgency and corruption.

It was criticised for failing to tackle both issues during its past 10 months in office. The Alliance has also pledged to end government subsidies on basic goods and to provide families victimised by Saddam's rule with extra benefits.

KURDISTAN COALITION LIST - No. 730

The Kurdish coalition consists of eight groups but is dominated by the two main parties in the Kurdish north -the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, headed by Iraq's current president, Jalal Talabani, and the Kurdish Democratic Party, headed by Masoud Barzani, the president of the semi-autonomous Kurdish zone.

The list won 75 seats in January's election, making it the second most powerful political bloc. It has been allied to the United Iraqi Alliance in government for the past 10 months, although the relationship is testy.

The Kurdish list's top priority is finding a solution for Kirkuk, a multi-ethnic city that sits atop vast oil reserves and which is claimed by Kurds, Turkish-speaking ethnic Turkmen and Arabs. They also vow to expand the Kurdish region's borders to include towns with historic Kurdish links.

IRAQI NATIONAL LIST - No. 731

The Iraqi National List pulls together 15 groups and is headed by Iraq's first post-war prime minister, Iyad Allawi, a secular Shia and former Baathist.

The list is secular in nature and pan-sectarian. It includes the Communist party, veteran Arab Sunni politician Adnan al-Pachachi, who was once foreign minister before Saddam came to power, major tribal figures and liberal Shia clerics.

The list won 40 seats in the 275-member parliament in January's vote and will look to increase its share as its secular message attracts more voters. The list vows to fight the insurgency and establish a strong central government.

They plan to revise the de-Baathification laws, brought in to rid all members of Saddam's Baath Party from office, and return more former officers in the Iraqi army, which was disbanded after the war, to the new security forces.

IRAQI ACCORDANCE FRONT - No. 618

The Iraqi Accordance Front is an alliance of three mainly Islamist Arab Sunni groups that boycotted elections in January.

The Front consists of Iraq's largest Sunni political movement, the Iraqi Islamic Party, which is running with a group called the Iraqi National Dialogue and an umbrella Sunni movement called the General Conference of the People of Iraq.

The Front pledges to push for the withdrawal of foreign forces, and promises security through dialogue and by bringing back former Iraqi army officers. Its leaders also want to change articles in the constitution especially wording on the devolution of power to Iraq's regions.

IRAQI NATIONAL CONGRESS LIST - No. 569

The Iraqi National Congress party is headed by deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Chalabi, the man who encouraged the United States to go to war in Iraq but has since fallen out with Washington.

It groups 10 political parties and independents, including Sharif Ali, a relative of Iraq's last king. Chalabi split from the United Iraqi Alliance to form his group. The list stresses the need for Iraq to regain full sovereignty and to fight the insurgency by improving intelligence.

Chalabi has promised every Iraqi family a cash sum from Iraq's oil money and a piece of land for every family that does not own a home.

THE IRAQI FRONT FOR NATIONAL DIALOGUE - No. 667

List is headed by controversial Sunni politician Saleh al-Mutlak and includes Sunni Arab nationalists opposed to the government. Mutlak, a wealthy businessman, is a secular Sunni with links to Baathists close to the anti-US fighting. He promises to revise de-Baathification rules and return army officers to duty.


Reuters

What an interesting bunch , so where is the improvement from Saddam ? the big winners from this election will be Iran , and the big losers will be the US and Israel , somehow i doubt that was the original plan

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Richard Pryor Has died

It is not on topic for this site but i wanted to express my sadness due to the death of Richard Pryor

The world has lost a Comic Genius

Rest in peace Mr Pryor

More details
Here

Friday, December 09, 2005

Now then , Who Should America Invade Next ? ( Must watch video )

Who do you think ? , Iran , Syria , North Korea , Maybe some other 'terrorist' country ?







Well it seems if you were to give the pro war crowd in the US the power to make that choice then watch out Australia your next !

This is a comedy sketch highlighting the mind-numbing ignorance of war proponents. They want America to invade every country under the sun but asking them to locate those countries on a map proves a little difficult, but they'll still give you their opinion on it.

Enjoy
Here (Windows media file)

Or watch the video at the source
Prison Planet .

US blocks Red Cross access to terror suspects

The US has admitted for the first time that it has not given the Red Cross access to all detainees in its custody. The state department's top legal adviser, John Bellinger, made the admission but gave no details about where such prisoners were held.




Correspondents say the revelation is only likely to increase suspicion that the CIA has been operating secret prisons out of international oversight.

The issue has dogged Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's tour to Europe.

Mr Bellinger made the admission in Geneva.


He stated that the group International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) had access to "absolutely everybody" at the prison camp in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, which holds suspects detained during the US war on terror.

When asked by journalists if the organisation had access to everybody held in similar circumstances elsewhere, he said: "No". He declined to explain further.

Until now the US administration has been careful in its language, says the BBC's state department correspondent Jonathan Beale.

It has always said that the ICRC has access to all prisoners held at US defence department facilities - leaving open the question of whether there are CIA prisons elsewhere.

Mr Bellinger's comments will raise suspicions that high-profile terrorist suspects are being held out of international view, our correspondent says.

Source BBC

How did America plot to stop Kyoto deal

The Independent A detailed and disturbing strategy document has revealed an extraordinary American plan to destroy Europe's support for the Kyoto treaty on climate change.




The ambitious, behind-the-scenes plan was passed to The Independent this week, just as 189 countries are painfully trying to agree the second stage of Kyoto at the UN climate conference in Montreal. It was pitched to companies such as Ford Europe, Lufthansa and the German utility giant RWE.

Put together by a lobbyist who is a senior official at a group partly funded by ExxonMobil, the world's biggest oil company and a fierce opponent of anti-global warming measures, the plan seeks to draw together major international companies, academics, think-tanks, commentators, journalists and lobbyists from across Europe into a powerful grouping to destroy further EU support for the treaty.

It details just how the so-called "European Sound Climate Policy Coalition" would work. Based in Brussels, the plan would have anti-Kyoto position papers, expert spokesmen, detailed advice and networking instantly available to any politician or company who wanted to question the wisdom of proceeding with Kyoto and its demanding cuts in carbon dioxide emissions.

It has been drawn up by Chris Horner, a senior official with the Washington-based Competitive Enterprise Institute and a veteran campaigner against Kyoto and against the evidence of climate change. One of his colleagues ­ who describes himself as an adviser to President George Bush ­ was the subject of a censure motion by the Commons last year after he attacked the Government's chief scientist.

Mr Horner, whose CEI group has received almost $1.5m (£865,000) from ExxonMobil, is convinced that Europe could be successfully influenced by such a policy coalition just as the US government has been.

He thinks Europe's weakening economies are likely to be increasingly ill at ease with the costs of meeting Kyoto. And in particular, he has spotted something he thinks most of Europe has not yet woken up to. Most of the original 15 EU Kyoto signatories ­ Britain is an exception ­ are on course to miss their 2010 CO2 reduction targets. But under the terms of the treaty, they will face large fines for doing so, in terms of much bigger reduction targets in any second phase.

These will prove unacceptably costly to their economies, Mr Horner believes, even if they try to buy their way out by buying up "spare" emissions for cash from countries such as Russia. Mr Horner believes the moment for his coalition is at hand and has been seeking support for it from multinational companies. In his pitch to one major company, he wrote: " In the US an informal coalition has helped successfully to avert adoption of a Kyoto-style programme by maintaining a rational voice for civil society and ensuring a legitimate debate over climate economics, science and politics. This model should be emulated... to guide similar efforts in Europe."

Elsewhere he claimed: "A coalition addressing the economic and social impacts of the EU climate agenda must be broad-based (cross industry) and rooted in the member states. Other companies (including Lufthansa, Exxon, Ford) have already indicated their interest!"

Last night green groups hit out. Kert Davies, Greenpeace's climate campaign co-ordinator, which initially obtained the documents, said: "These are the hitmen for the Bush administration and the likes of Exxon. They are behind the scenes doing the dirty work. They are extending efforts to Europe where they are trying to undermine the momentum to solve global warming."

Read more at the Source

Oh the pressures of standing alone , against science , against reason and against the entire world . I have to admit it take incredible guts or incredible stupidity to take the view the United States holds , now which is it :-)

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Ex Guantanamo bay inmates make hostage plea

Britain's former Guantanamo detainees call for the release of Norman Kember and three other hostages held in Iraq. Moazzam Begg told the BBC's Newsnight he and his fellow former inmates had been reminded of their ordeal by seeing the 74-year-old Briton in a jumpsuit.


Mr Begg said: "When we were first granted release by Allah's mercy we came home to find that there were people who opposed the government in their brutal war waged against Afghanistan and Iraq and stood on the side of justice, and they were not Muslims."

"It is our sincerest belief that Norman Kember, the 74-year-old Briton and those with him are amongst those people, the many people who opposed this war from the beginning and were only in Iraq to promote human rights for the oppressed.

Moazzam Begg was detained for nearly three years

"Just like Sheikh Abu Qatada we also hope that our words may encourage you to show mercy to these men and let them free."

Mr Kember, along with Mr Fox, 54, and Canadians James Loney, 41, and Harmeet Singh Sooden, 32, had travelled to Iraq as a "gesture of solidarity" with Canada-based international peace group Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT)

Their captors have accused the men of being spies, a charge their employers deny.

The latest video shows Mr Kember and Mr Fox dressed in orange jump suits with their hands shackled and wearing blindfolds, echoing film of British kidnap victim Ken Bigley who was shown wearing similar clothes before his murder.

Mr Kember is shown telling the camera he is "a friend of Iraq".

"I have been opposed to this war, Mr Blair's war, since the very beginning but I ask him now, and the British government, to do all that they can to work for my release and the release of the Iraqi people from oppression," Mr Kember says.

On Thursday, a radical cleric detained in the UK made an appeal for the hostages' release.

In a video filmed in prison, Abu Qatada urged the kidnappers to free them "in line with the principle of mercy of our religion".

source : BBC

Britain's top court bans "torture evidence"

LONDON (Reuters) Britain's highest court ruled on Thursday that information gleaned from torture anywhere in the world was unacceptable as evidence in British courts.



Rights groups immediately said the ruling sent a clear signal to governments around the world who are wrestling with accusations that they participated in, provided facilities for, or used evidence in court extracted from people detained as part of a CIA program known as "rendition".

The decision by the House of Lords to refuse evidence obtained under torture in third countries comes a day after the United States explicitly banned its interrogators from treating detainees inhumanely after widespread anger and pressure from European governments and the U.S. Congress.

"Torture is an unqualified evil. It can never be justified. Rather it must always be punished," said Lord Brown, one of seven Law Lords asked to rule on the issue.

Extraordinary rendition refers to a program in which U.S. operatives capture, detain and transport people suspected of terrorist activities to a third country where they are held.

Human rights groups say holding detainees incommunicado is illegal and often leads to torture.

The director of human rights group Liberty, Shami Chakbrabati, said the ruling sent a clear signal to governments around the world and Amnesty International called Thursday's decision "momentous".

"This ruling shreds any vestige of legality with which the UK government had attempted to defend a completely unlawful and reprehensible policy," rights group Amnesty International said.

Home Secretary Charles Clarke said the ruling would not affect its attempts to fight terrorism and insisted London did not condone torture in any way.

The British government had argued that a special tribunal meeting to decide if suspects were a threat to national security needed to consider all available evidence, however it was obtained.

Continue reading Here

It is good to see the House of Lords putting the British government in its place , now they know that any evidence provided by torture can NOT be used as evidence we can again see a clear line being drawn between the actions of the UK and the actions of the 'terrorists' . There is still a long way to go but this is a good step

New Al-Qaida video claim Osama is alive

CAIRO, Egypt - Al-Qaida's deputy leader called for attacks against Gulf oil facilities and urged insurgent groups in Iraq to unite to drive out American forces, according to a videotape posted on the Internet Wednesday.



The posting was a full version of a video by al-Qaida No. 2 Ayman al-Zawahri that was issued on Sept. 19, excerpts of which were broadcast by the Arab television network Al-Jazeera at the time. The network aired more excerpts Wednesday, originally presenting all of the footage as new. A newscaster later told viewers some of the excerpts had previously been broadcast.

"I call on the holy warriors to concentrate their campaigns on the stolen oil of the Muslims, most of the revenues of which go to the enemies of Islam," al-Zawahri, the
Egyptian deputy of al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden, said in a portion of the tape not previously broadcast.

Al-Zawahri also said that Al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden was alive and well and leading the holy war against the West.

"Thanks be to God, (al-Qaida's) prince, Sheik Osama bin Laden, is still, God protect him, leading the holy war," al-Zawahri said in the September footage.

Al-Zawahri, who was wearing a white robe and black turban and was seated before a pale blue sheet, spoke to an off-camera interviewer. He said "the enemies of Islam" were exploiting oil with "incomparable greed, and we have to stop that theft with all we can save this fortune for the nation of Islam."

In the full version of the tape, which was posted on an Islamic Web site known for carrying statements from extremist groups, al-Zawahri called on Iraqi insurgent groups to unite.

Iraqi Arabs, Kurds and Turkomen, "whose hands were not tainted by Americans," should come together to fill "the gap that will be left by the Americans departure" from Iraq, he said.

The full video includes quotes from al-Zawahri on September elections in Afghanistan and on the July 7 London bombings that appeared in the excerpts aired by Al-Jazeera on Sept. 19.

Source : Here

Obviously more propaganda , It is in their interests for Osama to be alive , Infact it is one of the many things the US and Al-Qaida have in common . Though if Osama truly was alive and well Al-Qaida would not be able to resist putting him on film . The last 'claimed' Bin Laden tape was an obvious fake so i doubt we will be seing any more of them .

U.S. Christians March on Guantanamo to visit Prisoners on Hunger Strike

Twenty-five Christians in the nonviolent tradition of Dorothy Day and the Catholic Worker arrived in Cuba last evening and plan to set out from Santiago today on a solemn fifty-mile march to the prison camp at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. They seek to defend human dignity by visiting with the hundreds of detainees who have been held for more than three years under horrific conditions by the U.S. government.


As a Christian, I feel compelled to reach out across national boundaries to perform one of the most basic acts of faith as described in the gospel of Matthew 25, I was in prison and you visited me, explained Catholic Worker Matthew Daloisio. We want our fellow Americans to see the shameful acts of torture and abuse taking place in this and other illegal prisons hidden across the globe. We pray that others will join us in urging our government to allow us to perform this act of Christian faith.

Participants in the group include a Jesuit Priest, Steve Kelly, a Catholic Nun, Sr. Anne Montgomery, Frida Berrigan, daughter of the late antiwar activist Phil Berrigan, and representatives of a number of Catholic Worker Communities. The marchers plan to arrive outside the gates of the U.S. naval base and prison complex on Guantanamo Bay on December 10, International Human Rights Day.

They are requesting entry into the compound to visit and interview the detainees as a work of mercy in keeping with their faith. If refused, as United Nations inspectors were just two weeks ago, they will hold a fast in solidarity and a vigil to pray for the immediate abolition of torture by all nations.

Source here

Good for them , I am not religous myself but this seems to be more like the actions that you would expect from those who follow the Christian faith . It surprises me how little noise the US Christian community makes on issues like torture . So these people deserve credit in my opinion for actually taking seriously the often over used phrase of 'What would Jesus do'

Praiseworthy indeed

Man shot dead at Florida airport

A man who claimed to have a bomb on board an American Airlines plane in Miami has been shot dead by US air marshals, officials say. Rigoberto Alpizar, a 44-year-old US citizen, was killed in the air bridge after running out of the plane pursued by marshals who had broken their cover.

No bomb was found on Mr Alpizar whose wife had tried to explain he had a mental illness, one witness said. It was the first time since 9/11 that air marshals had shot at a passenger.

The US dramatically increased the number of air marshals on flights after the 2001 attacks.

Local police and federal officers are investigating the incident, but officials say so far there is no hint of any links to terrorism.

Mr Alpizar had arrived in Miami, Florida, from Ecuador and was boarding a flight to Orlando at about 1410 local time.Alpizar had been married about 22 years, relatives said

"At some point, he uttered threatening words that included a sentence to the effect that he had a bomb," said Miami Federal Air Marshals official James Bauer.

"There were federal air marshals on board the aircraft. They came out of their cover, confronted him, and he remained noncompliant with their instructions.

"As he was attempting to evade them, his actions caused the FAMs to fire shots, and in fact he is deceased."

Homeland Security Department spokeswoman Joanna Gonzalez said Mr Alpizar had fled from the aircraft through the air bridge going toward the terminal.

"At that point, he appeared to be reaching into his carry-on bag... the air marshals took the appropriate action and that's when the shots were fired," she added.

Mary Gardner, a fellow passenger, told local television that the man had run frantically down the aisle of the Boeing 757 screaming while his wife tried to explain he was ill.

"I did hear the lady say her husband was bi-polar and had not had his medication," she said.

Source BBC

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

UK : Jailed terror suspect makes Iraq kidnap plea

A terror suspect held in a British jail has made a unprecedented video appeal for the release of Briton Norman Kember, taken hostage with three others in Iraq last month. Radical cleric Abu Qatada, detained since 2002, urged the kidnappers to free the hostage "in line with the principle of mercy of our religion".


Mr Kember's wife, Pat, also appealed for the release of her 74-year-old husband, from Pinner in north London.

The kidnappers have threatened to kill the hostages on Thursday.

The Foreign Office said Qatada volunteered to be filmed addressing the hostage-takers - who claim to belong to a group called the Swords of Truth. The terror suspect said on the video: "I am your brother Abu Qatada, Omar bin Mahmud Abu Omar, who is imprisoned in Full Sutton jail in Britain.

"I urge my brothers in the Brigades of Swords of Right in Iraq to release them in line with the principle of mercy of our religion, if there was no compelling religious duty against it."

Qatada, described by a Spanish judge as al-Qaeda's ambassador in Europe, was briefly released under a control order earlier this year before being re-arrested facing deportation to Jordan.

It is believed to be the first time a serving prisoner in the UK has made such an appeal.


Watch the appeal being made BBC (video)

Trial adjourned after Saddam refuses to attend

Source : Guardian

Saddam Hussein refused to attend his own trial in Baghdad today after declaring he had been mistreated by an "unjust court", a court official said.




The former Iraqi dictator delayed the hearing by four hours, before the presiding judge, Rizgar Amin, decided to continue without him. He subsequently adjourned the trial until December 21. Saddam's lawyers were present for the proceedings.

Saddam and seven co-defendants are being tried for the torture and killing of 140 Shia residents from the town of Dujail in 1982 in retaliation for an assassination attempt. He faces the death penalty if convicted.

At the end of yesterday's hearing, Saddam threatened to boycott proceedings, complaining that he and his co-defendants had been mistreated during the trial.

"I will not come to an unjust court," he said. "Go to hell."


He stuck by his threat this morning and refused to attend the hearing. Hours of legal discussions between Saddam and his defence team followed before the judge decided to reconvene the session without him.

Judge Amin later adjourned the trial. The hearing has already been adjourned twice after the accused men's defence team said they needed more time to prepare a case.

Saddam, dressed in a dark suit and holding a Qur'an, yesterday complained that he and his co-defendants were tired and had been deprived of opportunities to shower, change their clothes, exercise or smoke.

"This is terrorism," he said.

The trial has been frequently interrupted by violent outbursts. On Monday, Saddam declared he was not afraid of execution, while his half-brother and one of the co-defendants, Barzan Ibrahim al-Tikriti, swore and spat at the judge.

Last week Saddam berated the judge for saying he would ask US soldiers to loosen the former president's shackles. "You do not ask them, you order them," Saddam said.

Yesterday's outburst came at the end of a harrowing session when an unidentified woman witness told of repeated beatings, torture and sexual humiliation in his regime's detention centres when she was a teenager.

But neither "Witness A", nor another woman who took the stand later, was able to identify Saddam as directly responsible for crimes against humanity.

All five witnesses - the two women and three men - who gave evidence yesterday had their voices disguised and were hidden to protect their identity.

The son of one of the guards at Saddam's trial was kidnapped this morning.

The eight-year-old boy was seized in front of his house in Baghdad. It is not yet known whether the kidnapping is connected to the trial.

Two defence lawyers for Saddam were shot dead by unidentifie

Insurgents dismiss Iraq polls, brace for battle

BAGHDAD (Reuters) Election posters promising a stable Iraq cut no ice with men like Abu Mohammed, who runs a women's clothing boutique in Baghdad's Adhamiya district by day but is an insurgent fighter by night.


As an insurgent, Abu Mohammed attacks U.S. military convoys with rocket-propelled grenades and AK-47 assault rifles, fights Iraqi troops and hunts down "informers".

"Expect black days. Elections won't change anything. This is a long-term struggle. We will fight for the next 20 years," said Abu Mohammed, who used that name as an insurgent.

Iraqi officials and their American allies are pinning their hopes on December 15 elections for the first post-war, full-term government to defuse a Sunni Arab insurgency that has killed thousands of security forces and civilians.

Even though many more Sunnis are expected to vote after largely boycotting January elections, the big question is whether hardcore fighters can be drawn into peaceful politics.

Abu Mohammed and his insurgent brother sitting beside him in his shop aim to dig in for a protracted battle.

They dismiss candidates like Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Chalabi, a former U.S. ally, and pro-Iranian Shi'ite leader Abdul Aziz al-Hakim and say they are exiles who rode into Iraq on American tanks.

In Adhamiya, a northern Baghdad district that is a typical stronghold for Sunni insurgents, inspiration still comes from Saddam Hussein, not from promises of democracy and prosperity made after his fall in 2003.

They see signs of decline all around. An old officers' social club now has sandbags in front of it and what was once a feared intelligence headquarters is inhabited by the homeless.

Abu Mohammed says even election candidate and former prime minister Iyad Allawi, seen as a strongman who appeals to both Shi'ites and Sunnis amid sectarian fears of civil war, has little chance of winning over guerrillas in Adhamiya.

"We want Saddam back. If we can't have Saddam we want someone who stayed in Iraq and not exiles," said Abu Mohammed, a short, stocky man with glasses whose eyes fill with rage when he speaks of U.S. occupation and Iraqi politicians.

Both his favoured scenarios are highly unlikely. Saddam is fighting for his life in court and Iraq's political landscape, once controlled by Sunnis, is dominated by Shi'ites and Kurds.

Insurgent Abu Alaa, a former intelligence officer, says he wanted to join Iraq's new security forces but was discouraged by what he called Shi'ite discrimination and violence against Sunnis.

Unemployed, he spends most of his time fighting despite the slick election advertisements on television.

"These elections don't mean anything. There is no democracy in Iraq with our new leaders," he said.

Although Sunnis lost out by not voting in January elections, Abu Mohammed sees the elections as a U.S. plot to dominate Iraq.

His suspicions have been reinforced by the recent discovery of 173 malnourished Sunni prisoners found locked in a bunker by the Shi'ite-run Interior Ministry.

Workers in his shop listen closely as he criticises Iraq's new government while women stroll through looking at clothes.

Outside, insurgents who once served in Saddam's intelligence agencies keep a close eye on any strangers who enter Adhamiya, where he was last seen in public after the fall of Baghdad waving to crowds near the Abu Hanifa mosque.

The United States may be optimistic about democracy conquering violence but Abu Mohammed and others like him still prefer the bullet to the ballot box.

"How can we accept any new government when the Americans have arranged everything their way?," he asked.

"There are just too many differences between us. If an American man finds his wife in bed with another man it is normal. In Iraq if a man looks at my wife I will kill him."