War & politics: Sept 11th, bin Laden, Middle East news, from my own perspective.
"It is just too easy to make fun of Bush and Blair these days. This is the one of the funniest flash animations I have seen since this Osama classic. Simplier but just as good is this Bush2004 cartoon."
"It was still not clear when and how much crude could be exported to market because of political sabotage in the north and economic sabotage of oil facilities in the south."
To the victors, the spoils of war. Maybe if there had been clarity in the reasons our attack on Iraq, the world may have helped more, as I suspect in what I'm reading that the rest of the world looks on at Iraq, not so much with a "I told you so" tone, but more resignation to the very long fuck up that Iraq is going to be.
And maybe that was one of the reasons for attacking Iraq, the distraction of the Muslim fundamentalists, moving their focus to Iraq.
Above: Tom Watson, the UK's first blogging MP.
Like I said, I'd been bannned from taking pix, "anywhere in the building," so I felt pretty rebelious taking this, surreptitious picture. Later, I saw a few others taking more blatent pix. Obviously, they hadn't been previously told off.
Some of the things that were mentioned:
The meeting itself, wasn't too exciting. I hadn't been to such a debate before. So maybe they aren't.
As Lance said: "Truth to tell, the fact of the event was far more significant than anything actually said on the evening. An important discussion was started, and for Britain at least weblogs emerged from a slightly weird, fringe activity into a kind of political limelight."
I was trying desperately to think of an earth shattering question to liven up the debate, but I think many people did ask such questions, and surely they were earth shattering to them, but my mind wasn't so much on the job, the questions or statements were not very new. Most of the stuff flowing aboout my brain was about the rise of RSS, 35 million AOL bloggers, how popular writing, and thinking has become and will become, for everybody and anybody, anyhow. To hear the word blogging in the House of Parliament was surprising enough, thank you.
"Falsehoods ranging from exaggeration to plain untruth were used to make the case for war. More lies are being used in the aftermath."
Disgusting. Bush's ratings are dropping, Blair is looking more like the poodle everyday. Both will be gone soon, I'm sure.
" The MIT folks are building a system which will collate all publicly available information about all public officials in the US.
We could do the same for the UK. Imagine a site that would automatically collate information about MPs' financial interests, voting behaviour, Commons attendance, speeches, publications, campaign literature, friends, attentiveness to constituents etc and make it available on the web? Later we could extend it to cover corporate bosses and the quangocracy. "
Sounds a pretty bloody boring site. You still need journalists and bloggers to sift through that stuff to give it, life.
Wired Oct 2001: Osama has a new friend
"Abdullah Azzam, the chief ideologue of the non-Afghan militants and a spiritual mentor of bin Laden, used 'al qaeda' to describe the role he envisaged the most committed of the Muslim volunteers who had fought the Soviets playing once the war in Afghanistan was over. In 1987 he wrote: "Every principle needs a vanguard to carry it forward and to put up with heavy tasks and enormous sacrifices. This vanguard constitutes the strong foundation (al qaeda al-sulbah) for the expected society.""
It's a deeper concept, than the simple, foreign nickname we call it.
""England is your favourite team and you are about to blow yourself up in the jihad against kufr (unbelievers)?"
"Politics is one thing. Football is something else."" The interview with the captured suicide bomber is revealing, of how he is indoctrinated. Out of a Kurdish teenager's lack of direction, comes a believer in paradise. "...The "war on terror" has so far done nothing to eradicate the reasons for the volunteers wanting to travel to the training camps or to deal with the grievances..." This is true from my view point. There are no TV programmes explaining the Muslim world and how they view themselves while watching the latest Hollywood block buster. (Further reading: The Impact of Western Hegemony on Muslim Thought.) I wish the world was freed of the tyranny of religion. "...Increasingly, and this is a trend that is accelerating, the extremists are no longer perceived as the "lunatic fringe". Instead they are seen as the standard bearers. And their language is now the dominant discourse in modern Islamic activism. Their debased, violent, nihilisitic, anti-rational millenarianism has become the standard ideology aspired to by angry young Muslim men. This is the genuine victory of bin Laden and our greatest defeat in the "war on terror"." Blair's cock up in invading Iraq with no real justification has lost us the moral higher ground, now we are no better than the terrorists.
"It is estimated that between 12,000 and 14,000 men have begun drawing salaries against Saddam's account. "Since the underground complexes contain vast amounts of military equipment and munitions - enough to sustain months of fighting - it must be admitted that some of the elite units we thought had scattered may be under arms again," said the source."
I don't know who or what to believe anymore.
"At the moment, U.S. forces in Iraq are straining every nerve to find, capture or kill Saddam Hussein."
The UK and US sexed up the reasons to invade Iraq. Bush and Blair were wrong to do that. Sure he's a tyrant, murderer, and I'm glad he's gone, but to have cheated to do it leaves me with a bad taste. We need to show lesser developed countries that we are a source for good, and just. Good it may have done (that's yet to be decided), just it certainly wasn't.
BBC: Senator Joseph Lieberman, another Democratic presidential hopeful, said the controversy "breaks the basic bond of trust we must have with our leaders in times of war and terrorism".
BBC (10 July): ex-Prime Minister John Major: "We are in the middle of the war against terror and nobody knows what our troops may be asked to do next.
"It is essential that the word of government and the intelligence services is readily accepted by Parliament and the public."
BBC (11 July): Former cabinet minister Clare Short said the prime minister had seen himself as "a kind of higher mortal than the rest of us" and had decided it was acceptable to "slightly fool" the public in making decisions over Iraq.
He had been guilty of "half-truths, slight deceptions, exaggeration" in the run-up to the war.
John Pilger (June 3): "Such a high crime does not, and will not, melt away; the facts cannot be changed. Tony Blair took Britain to war against Iraq illegally. He mounted an unprovoked attack on a country that offered no threat, and he helped cause the deaths of thousands of innocent people. The judges at the Nuremberg Tribunal following world war two, who inspired much of international law, called this "the gravest of all war crimes"."
Today the Iraqi civilian body count has risen past 6,000 despite the smart, precision weapons.
Sure, Saddam was killing thousands too, but that wasn't the reason I supported the war.
Remember the second, so called dodgy dossier in February 2003? The one that was plagiarised for a student's thesis in the internet? Well, this is a about the first September 2002 dossier...
"The plagiarised documents in the first dossier included mention of ballistic missiles, unmanned drones, nuclear programmes, "dual use" of civil material, maps showing how British bases in Cyprus were within range of Iraqi missiles and Saddam's supposed plan for regional domination."
All lifted for the internet and two years old.
I could retch, I'm so pissed off with Blair. He's really fucked up. Bye bye Blair, too clever for your own good. Thinking he could lie to the UK (and the world, and me) and get away with it.
If we want to keep the Labour Government in, which I do, he has to go as Clair Short says, "Quit before it gets nasty."
"...The Office of National Assessments -- Australia's top intelligence analysis agency which reports directly to the prime minister -- said it knew of doubts over the claims Iraq had sought uranium from Africa, but had not told Howard. "
Australia's dragged into it too. When are we going to hear from Spain and Italy?
BBC: In his January address, Bush said: "The British Government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa."
From Tenet's full text...
"...From what we know now, agency officials in the end concurred that the text in the speech was factually correct, i.e. that the British government report said that Iraq sought uranium from Africa. This should not have been the test for clearing a presidential address. This did not rise to the level of certainty which should be required for presidential speeches, and CIA should have ensured that it was removed."
Newsday.com: ...The CIA had tried unsuccessfully for months to substantiate the British allegation on which the claim was based
BBC: Tenet apparently singled out to be the fall guy.
And via dailykos: CIA directors make poor fall guys.
"Tony Blair: "There couldn't be a more serious charge, that I ordered our troops into conflict on the basis of intelligence evidence that I falsified, I take it as about as serious an attack on my integrity as there could possibly be. The charge is untrue and I hope they will accept that.""
Well, Tony, someone is telling porky pies, and as you're at the top, unless you find out who lied to you, then the buck stops with you.
Someone invented the 45 minute idea. Someone sexed up the dodgy dossier. Someone lied to me.
"Robin Cook says of Alastair Campbell: "He has handled the last two weeks brilliantly, in that he has managed to convince half the media that the foreign affairs inquiry is into the origins of his war with Andrew Gilligan, not into the war with Iraq."
He is also critical of the September dossier. "There aren't any weapons ready for use in 45 minutes; there was no uranium. There were no chemical production factories rebuilt; there was no nuclear weapons programme."
Something very bad is happening at the top. It must have the reasons for the resignations of Robin Cook and Claire Short. Now, to cover up the crap, their covering up the crap.
This is deadly serious.
When Blair says, "erm, look we have a problem with North Korea..." I won't believe a word. He must think the great British unwashed are thick.
I used to admire Blair. Looks like power corrupts.
"It is almost certain that Saddam ordered the weapons dismantled or destroyed some time in the 1990s. Sanctions had seriously impeded the Iraqi efforts to obtain materials and equipment for their WMD programmes."
More background sniping: American intelligence has shown itself once again to be woefully inadequate.
Has he, did he? I really think Bush does know by now. Sure he has enough people working on this, or rather he had enough, now he's probably nobody working on it, just some media people working on the smoke screens.
"al Qaim on the Iraqi-Syrian border. Still a place of mystery, this regionís deep canyons has been intensively explored by American, Australian and British commandos, but US intelligence believes that undiscovered corners still hold secrets."
WMD in Lebanons Beqaa Valley? Saddam in Syria, Minsk (Belarus) or Lybia?
"The ultimate goal would be a reusable hypersonic cruise vehicle (HCV) ... capable of taking off from a conventional military runway and striking targets 9,000 nautical miles distant in less than two hours. The unmanned HCV would carry a payload of up to 12,000 lbs and could ultimately fly at speeds of up to 10 times the speed of sound."
Saddam's gone, but there still are WMD in the world, and new ones coming soon. Well, 7-22 years.
"US Presidents have been waging politically motivated wars almost since the country was founded"
I wonder. Iraq's a very big place, and Saddam, ruthless. Could his WMD yet be found? Were there any. Are there any?