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Warmwell's Article of the Day - Archive

September 27th 2005 ~"This is a very dangerous situation," he said, "a very threatening situation." New York Times "the Saudi Foreign Minister, Prince Saud al-Faisal warned the Bush administration of increasing violence and polarization in Iraq. Elections alone, he warned, will not pull Iraq together and the common designation of Sunnis as Baathist criminals does little to improve the situation...He said he was so concerned that he was carrying this message "to everyone who will listen" in the Bush administration...."

September 26 2005 ~ "something of a crisis for democracy" Tony Benn says we are no longer represented, merely "managed" He talks about the Labour Party Conference today and his concern about what has happened to democracy. He can be heard again on the Today Programme.

Labour Party Conference diary from the Independent

September 26 2005 ~ "How can you establish a free media in such fear and anarchy?" Guardian

September 26 2005 ~ Informed Comment " Those wingnuts who circulate the talking points about all the good things happening in Iraq should add, ' Becoming more and more like a bad noire film, resembling in some ways the endlessly diverting "Oceans 11" movies. '

September 25 2005 ~ Withdrawal "not an event but a process"says Reid Observer

However, the BBC today says " The government dismisses press reports British troops will start pulling out of Iraq next May..." and attempts to pour cold water on the Observer scoop And as for the US, Informed Comment quotes a reader, Jonny Bakho, who says,

September 25 2005 ~ Anti-war Marches Over 100,000 protesters rallied in Washington, DC, against the Iraq War on Saturday. Protests were also held in London, San Francisco and other cities.

September 25 2005 ~ Booker's Notebook

September 24 2005 ~ Anti-war March in London Up to 100,000 people are expected to march through central London today, demanding that British troops be withdrawn from Iraq. Organisers of the demonstration, taking place on the eve of the Labour Party annual conference, hope to exploit the strong anti-war feelings of two years ago. See below

September 24 2005 ~ Rita may reduce coverage of the huge anti-war demonstration in Washington All the same, organizers of today's anti-war protest predict about 100,000 people will crowd the Ellipse near the White House for a rally and march.

Other Iraq articles in the Independent today

(Open in new window)

September 24 2005 ~ 15 years for having instructions on firing a mortar and a terrorism codeIndependent "although there was no direct link between Andrew Rowe and a particular terrorist act, possession of those items together with other evidence was sufficient for a jury to conclude that he had them for the purpose of terrorism."

September 23 2005 ~ Iraq "a desperate situation...we need a thorough reappraisal" " I'm putting forward some constructive suggestions" says Michael Howard on the Today Programme. Coming immediately after the authoritive voice of former defence chief, Lord Bramall, Mr Howard's voice held that careful pomposity of politicians completely out of their depth. Lord Bramall, on the other hand, referred to Simon Jenkins' article with approval and he evidently shares its concern. Listen Again

Professor Juan Cole, who knows the reality and complexity of the situation rather better than our politicians, says today, If Sistani is openly supporting Iran's nuclear program and denouncing the US as 'arrogant", this is a new development that will be most unwelcome to Washington

September 22 2005 ~ Uzbechistan, our "ally in the war on terror", holds a show trial; one after another, each of the accused confessed -

There isn't much current reporting of any of this. Nothing on Google News today.Perhaps it is because journalists know that nothing is going to be done and arousing unease and guilty shame in people is not popular. Karimov makes Stalin, Saddam and Mugabe look quite genial - but fighters for freedom and democracy in Uzbechistan are to be left to their fate, it seems. Uzbechistan is still regarded as a useful ally for Mr Bush and Mr Blair. In August, the Washington Post remarked that

September 22 2005 ~ Basra - While the BBC says that "The UK defence secretary and Iraqi prime minister deny violence in Basra has strained relations..." reports in the papers do not seem to support such a view: "Continued anger on the streets of Basra as marchers denounce 'British aggression' " says the Guardian

Professor Cole comments, Independent Charles Kennedy says Mr Blair is in denial about Iraq and that he will step up his demand for a timetable for withdrawing UK troops Guardian Independent "Labour party leaders are seeking to stop grassroots activists who are hoping to use the memory of Robin Cook at next week's annual party conference to embarrass Tony Blair about the upsurge in violence in Iraq..

September 22 2005 ~ Menezes shooting - Ian Blair : "We allowed, or we didn't contradict sufficiently, the stuff about Mr Menezes vaulting the barrier. I don't think we did enough." The comments followed a speech yesterday in which he suggested that soldiers could be recruited by police forces on a temporary basis to boost the number of firearms officers. Guardian See also Telegraph 'Judge Dredd' powers for police urged Rick Naylor, the president of the Police Superintendents' Association, said: "We police with consent and part of that is because the public see us as being approachable. If the public fear us more because of increased powers that approachability will be damaged."

September 22 2005 ~Ukraine - parliamentary commission found unanimously that Mr Kuchma and his closest aides were behind abduction of journalist Georgiy Gongadze. Independent "..... Mr Gongadze's decapitated body was found in a forest outside Kiev two weeks after he was abducted in September 2000 while investigating allegations of corruption at the heart of Mr Kuchma's government. .... had been beaten, strangled and burnt. Three former policemen are in custody in connection with the murder and have apparently confessed....those who ordered his killing have not been named or prosecuted. The parliamentary commission said it had found unanimously that Mr Kuchma and his closest aides were behind Mr Gongadze's abduction..."

September 21 2005 ~ To say we must stay in Iraq to save it from chaos is a lie Simon Jenkins:

September 21 2005 ~New Terrorism bill    Guardian

September 21 2005 ~ "...blind faith in the efficacy of military force..." Michael T. Klare in this article at TomDispatch clearly shows how Washington's belief that it could finance its war and occupation through sales of Iraqi petroleum was doomed from the start

September 20 2005 ~ Update. Juan Cole on the complicated situation in Basra

September 20 2005 ~ Independent The British Army 'used tanks and helicopters to storm jail and free captured troops' after the city exploded into bloody violence over the alleged killing of an Iraqi policeman by a British soldier. (Why were the two "soldiers" in arab dress and what were they doing 'under cover' with arms and explosives as they were reported to have been carrying in the car?) Channel 4 says "....British troops in Iraq are on high alert as a backlash over the dramatic rescue of two soldiers threatens to escalate."

September 20 2005 ~Outpouring of relief cash raises fear of corruption and cronyism Independent

Meanwhile, Reuters reports that In a news conference, Cindy Sheehan saidSir Menzies Campbell has called for an end to the US and UK "occupation" of Iraq at the Lib Dem conference. BBC

September 20 2005 ~ German result and the EU. EUreferendum:

September 19 2005 ~ BBC "Church of England bishops have suggested Christian leaders apologise to Muslim leaders for the war in Iraq. .... a "long litany of errors" ...there needs to be a degree of public recognition of the West's responsibility for the present situation.....
....It also says the war appeared to be "as much for reasons of American national interest as it was for the well-being of the Iraqi people".

September 19 2005 ~ "possibly one of the largest thefts in history" Patrick Cockburn in the Independent reports on this story today: " One billion dollars has been plundered from Iraq's defence ministry in one of the largest thefts in history .. leaving the country's army to fight a savage insurgency with museum-piece weapons. The money, intended to train and equip an Iraqi army capable of bringing security to a country shattered by the US-led invasion and prolonged rebellion, was instead siphoned abroad in cash and has disappeared. "It is possibly one of the largest thefts in history," Ali Allawi, Iraq's Finance Minister..." (Read in full)

Informed Comment Between one and two billion dollars were embezzled from the Iraqi ministry of defense under Defense Minister Hazem Shaalan.

September 18 2005 ~ "Put that light out! Now Prescott plans to send in the 'energy police' to make us go green" Melissa Kite writing in the Sunday Telegraph

It seems that the worst case scenarios of peak oil are at last disturbing even the UK government. However, as we have seen so often before with foot and mouth and "terrorism", it prefers to rush in with punitive measures and threatening legislation instead of trusting the good will and good sense of its responsible population to understand the real nature of the problem.

September 17 2005 ~

Thank goodness that Matthew Parris is one of thosre readable columnists still prepared to spell out the idiocy at the dark heart and woolly mind of the present government.

September 16 2005 ~ Independent "A coalition of artists, musicians and writers have joined anti-war campaigners to make a collective appeal to Tony Blair to pull British troops out of Iraq by the end of the year....

September 16 2005 ~ Channel 4's Jon Snow wrote yesterday, "Coincidence? You decide": September 16 2005 ~ Tests proving the absence of ricin in the men's flat was not given to the police for 51 days. The Independent today tells us -

September 16, 2005 ~ " they were branded as terrorists before a jury acquitted them" The Times - Men cleared of poison plot are among suspects

With really unparalleled nerve, Mr Clarke talked of "...individuals who are going about... trying to threaten the civil liberties of this country .." The Times says: September 16, 2005~ Hopeful words from Kofi Annan BBC "In a BBC interview, Kofi Annan identified increasing influence from the grassroots as a future trend. The secretary general also warned about the limits of powers, and cautioned about acting "as if one is omnipotent"

Exactly 3 years ago the Sunday Herald's Neil Mackay reported "Bush Planned Iraq 'Regime Change' Before Becoming President" and quoted Tam Dalyell:

"the destruction of democracy - a long-term project."

John Pilger, who never makes for easy reading but whose grasp and decency can't be denied, writes in the New Statesman about "the filter through which most people get their serious news", about Jose Padilla and about the brief glimpse Katrina's havoc has given us into "The Facade" - the huge gulf between the America of real life and the America that "spawned the greed of corporatism and invented public relations as a means of social control".

On Jose Padilla:

He writes that Bush's and Blair's assaults on our most basic freedoms, such as habeas corpus, are rarely reported and that for those behind the Facade " the destruction of democracy has been a long-term project."

Article of the week ~ Mobilising people power.... Michael Moore's letter. While some of us are wringing our hands wondering how on earth - when so much of our money for the tsunami victims seems simply to have vanished - we can help the Katrina victims, Michael Moore has been mobilising people power not just across America but everywhere. The letter is inspiring and horrifying by turns. But it is certainly the article of the week. And it also tells us how we can help. :

Read in full


OpEd Washington Post - End of the Bush Era ".....The source of Bush's political success was his claim that he could protect Americans. Leadership, strength and security were Bush's calling cards. Over the past two weeks, they were lost in the surging waters of New Orleans..."

Informed Comment
"......Once upon a time, some of us dreamed that the internet and the blogging revolution could play a positive part in growing civil liberties there. In the end, the repressive apparatus of the state trumped all that. "

Passing the Buck...

Article of the Day September 13 2005 Warmwell's Blog ".......The history of Katrina and the drowning of New Orleans is already being rewritten. The UK foot and mouth disaster, while it resulted in unnecessary and distressing slaughter, did not cause the loss of human life - except the suicides (and the number 60 has been quoted) of those who were in despair - but there are similarities..... This is not a frivolous analogy. ...." Read in full

Archive of Article of the Day

Booker's Notebook this week (Sept 11)
".. EU leaders also pledged their support for Beijing's "one China" policy, by which it claims the right to assert its sovereignty over Taiwan, if necessary by military means. This is, of course, potentially one of the most explosive flashpoints in world politics, since the US is committed to Taiwan's support. .. ..." window) has the latest news from New Orleans

Articles of the Day Sept 12 2005 - "Heavily armed paramilitary mercenaries from the Blackwater private security firm, infamous for their work in Iraq, are openly patrolling the streets of New Orleans. ... Extract from report on (new window)

Interview with columnist James Carroll - Tom Dispatch

"........Within days of the attacks of September 11, 2001, he became perhaps our most passionate -- and prophetic -- columnist in the mainstream media. His columns continue to appear, now every Monday, in the Boston Globe.


Update Sept 11. Ebay has sent to all bidders an email to say that the item "has been removed by eBay for violating of one or more of our policies. Any offers or bids placed on this listing are now null and void..."
The Ebay item from the young doctor who was less than polite to Mr Cheney and whose wife gave birth after the hurricane had destroyed much of their home and possessions - "DVD of me saying "GO **** YOURSELF" to DICK CHENEY" had been viewed over 8500 times by the time it was removed by Ebay. He was hoping to "..raise some money to replace the many things we lost" After he had calmly walked back to the wreck of his house, he was handcuffed and questioned.

Sunday's Headline news

Articles of the Day September 11 2005 ~ Bush, Annan: we blame the men at the top at our peril

Simon Jenkins in the Times

"... in New Orleans, as in Baghdad, the White House seems to be fatally detached from reality"

Patrick Cockburn in the Independent How the New Orleans relief effort was hampered and stymied - some alarming facts Extract:

Article of the Day Sept 10 2005 ~ The Astrodome volunteer Radio Station was Blocked
Joel Johnson on Wired News

See also transcript of Meet the Press in which Aaron Broussard, president of the Jefferson Parish district of New Orleans - exhausted and tearful - refutes the interviewer's suggestion (by such suggestions the smears and innuendo begin) that ".. the mayor of New Orleans and the governor of New Orleans bear some responsibility? Couldn't they have been much more forceful, much more effective and much more organized in evacuating the area?" - New York Times OpEd today (in full)

Article of the Day September 9 ~ Bearing down on New Orleans. The president of the Jefferson Parish district of New Orleans - exhausted and tearful -spoke in a MSNBC radio interview on September 5,

See transcript of Meet the Press in which Aaron Broussard refutes the interviewer's suggestion that ".. the mayor of New Orleans and the governor of New Orleans bear some responsibility? Couldn't they have been much more forceful, much more effective and much more organized in evacuating the area?" New Orleans becomes a war zone. A dress rehearsal for martial law? Bill Van Auken's article even goes so far as to suggest that the delay was to allow for the rehearsal of certain contingency plans (Readers of this website will not miss the parallels with the response of the "authorities" in the UK in recent times. We noted yesterday the BBC report "Evacuation 'not disease driven' Why remove from the city everyone, even those who are safe and have suffered enough? Why is the language so military and so reminiscent of Iraq? "Gen. H. Steven Blum, chief of the National Guard Bureau We waited until we had enough force in place to do an overwhelming force...We took the time to build the right force. They are bearing down on New Orleans. )

September 9 2005 ~ Oil Prices. The knock-on effects of galloping oil prices are perhaps with the advent of the #1 a litre fuel price, beginning to dawn on people in the UK. When raw materials, food and products can no longer be transported in the way we have got used to in the globalised world it is evident that there will be mass job losses and shortages. Providing food, warmth and water is going to become the most important thing - and service industry, it must be said, isn't a whole lot of good in this area. Recently, a DEFRA official scoffed that the UK is in a "post agricultural age". His contempt for farming and local food production may well have been badly timed.
The US Falls Church News Press article (extract below) is worth reading in full for its explanation of the impact of US borrowing from IEA members' strategic reserves as well as its own.

(Iran has offered to send 20m barrels of crude oil to the US to help with the consequences of Hurricane Katrina.)

Katrina ~"Morticians prep for 40,000 bodies" (Worldnet Daily) "Part of the challenge for officials will be identifying bodies that have been decomposing for days.

Independent "Even when the bodies are recovered, experts say it will be far harder to identify them than at the World Trade Center, because they are decomposing rapidly in the heat. Although a government exercise last year predicted the course of the disaster, Mr Bush drastically cut back spending on city defences. Work on strengthening vital levees needed to keep out flood water stopped for the first time in 37 years."

The Coordination Action website on FMD and CSF (new page), has up to date news and readers' forum on foot and mouth and CSF. Please see front page comment

A summary of today's news from Google

Article of the Day, September 8 2005 ~ Michael Ancram in the Times

"The malice lies in the allegation"

Roy Hattersley in the Times says

September 8 2005 ~ Humphrys spoke the truth: that's why Labour got itself in a spin
Boris Johnson in the Telegraph

September 6/7 2005 ~ Tim Allan, Mr Blair's former adviser has been described as the "baby-faced assassin". He is a former Blair press adviser in Downing Street, is now a boss of Murdoch's BSkyB. As Snowmail puts it this evening -

The Telegraph today says ".......The Times has long faced embarrassing accusations of being slavishly pro-Labour. That embarrassment was compounded yesterday after Mark Rayner, who runs Richmond Events, the company that organised the corporate event at which Humphrys spoke, said the only existing video of the speech had been given to Mr Allan. He accused Mr Allan, who now runs his own PR company, of reneging on a commitment he gave to use the video "exclusively and confidentially" to confirm a remark by Humphrys about politicians that had been included in a Richmond Events brochure. ..." Read in full
The Telegraph also asked for readers' comments. See also Channel 4 transcript of Tim Allan interview in which the language he chooses (" I make no apology .... Humphrys should not be allowed to do this in future..... he's box office, that's why his agent touts him around and gets him money.... you can't just go slagging off every single member of the government and saying that they're all terrible..he's learnt his lesson ...") says much about him.

September 4/5 2005 ~ "We came, we saw, we ruined Iraq  to stay will wound it more" Simon Jenkins in the Times ".......More than two years of chaos, killing and fraud have seen the American reconstruction of Baghdad hardly begin. It is too unsafe. The city has yet to recover from the unbelievable mistake of the Americans and British bombing all the government infrastructure so as to cause shock and awe, and then disbanding the police and the army and stopping their pensions........Since 1815 and the battle of New Orleans, Louisiana has not been Britains concern. Baghdad is. We are party to the destruction of a city and the dismembering of its country amid growing insecurity. The greatest arrogance of all is that we can somehow do more good than harm by staying....." Read in full

September 4/5 2005 ~ ".....Though he apparently felt it would be a breach of taste to walk upon the flood waters, Bush dispensed compassionate-conservative comfort and valuable down-home advice to a couple of women in Biloxi, Mississippi. "He kissed both women on their heads and walked with his arms around them, telling them they could get help from the Salvation Army." He expressed understanding of their plight and told them to "hang in there". Bush also rejected suggestions that the USA cannot afford to continue colonising Iraq while cleaning up after Katrina. "We've got plenty of resources to do both," he said, meanwhile urging people to make charitable donations to the Red Cross and the Salvation Army. ..."
A blog well worth reading is Philip Challinor's - aka "The Curmudgeon Proudly Spreading Horror and Nastiness" and this entry Wind in the South

September 4 2005 ~Informed Comment " In April of 2003 the US military stood by and allowed Baghdad to be looted. Not only were private establishments emptied, but all the major ministries (except the Ministry of Petroleum) were looted and burned. When Iraqis complained to the new occupation authority, the GI's informed them that stopping the looting was "not the mission." The documents from the Baath Foreign Ministry that might have shed light on the dealings of Reagan, Bush senior, Schultz and Rumsfeld with Saddam Hussein before 1990 were helpfully burned. The modern history of Iraq, including cabinet meetings from the 1930s and 1940s, mostly went up in smoke (it would be as though the US National Archives for every administration since Roosevelt was burned, along with all microfilm copies). The Iraq Museum, a key repository for ancient Iraqi civilization and the history of humankind, was looted of dozens of major pieces and thousands of lesser ones.
The widespread looting and the breakdown of order started Iraq on its descent into chaos.
What was the response of the man responsible for one of the most damaging debacles in the history of modern Iraq? Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld said,
"Freedom's untidy, and free people are free to make mistakes and commit crimes and do bad things," Rumsfeld said . . . Looting, he added, was not uncommon for countries that experience significant social upheaval. "Stuff happens," Rumsfeld said.

In late summer of 2005, as Hurricane Katrina recast New Orleans as a latter-day Atlantis, displacing a million persons and reducing hundreds of thousands to dire poverty, a wave of looting broke out in the city. Some legal scholars argued that where people felt their lives were in danger because of a natural disaster, they actually had the right to take food, medicine and water--and other materials necessary to their survival-- from abandoned stores.
So the Bush administration treated Louisiana's Walmart managers the same way it treated Iraqi property holders, right? After all, "stuff happens," right? Free people are free to make errors and commit crimes in times of crisis, correct?
......" Read in full

September 4 2005 ~ Another attempt to silence John Humphrys?

Channel 4 news "Six days on and finally the government has called in the military to take over New Orleans. President Bush has promised 17,000 extra troops will arrive in the city in days. But only now - as the relief effort gathers pace - has the true scale of death and suffering in these waters become apparent...."

September 3 2005 ~ From the "....As many as twenty offshore rigs have now been confirmed as adrift, capsized, listing or sunk. Each rig may have as many as eight wells. Wheres the money coming from to replace them? How long will that take? Bottom line: my assessment is that New Orleans is never going to be rebuilt and that US domestic oil production will never again reach pre-Katrina levels. The infrastructure is gone, the people are gone, and the US economy will be on life support very, very quickly...." Peak Oil News

September 2 2005 ~ Michael Moore has written to the president.....

Read in full
(The BBC reports that troops have been given a shoot-to-kill policy to quell lawlessness in New Orleans, where desperation is growing. ITN reports that stranded survivors of Hurricane Katrina are beginning to die in the aftermath..) The Guardian on Friday afternoon paints a very grim picture - but at least "thousands of National Guardsmen with food, water and weapons" are now arriving.

August 30 2005 ~ On Hurricane Katrina, sensational comment by Michael C Ruppert. From the Wilderness

It will be interesting to see if he is right. Reports today tend to suggest things could have been a great deal worse. Even so, the BBC estimates are that total damages may be as much as $25bn (#14bn).

August 28 2005 ~ "We have listened and we have learned" said Mr Blair. If only that were true. Precious little learning from mistakes seems to happen in the world of politics - a world that impinges so disastrously on our own. The revelations in the Observer today (Aug 28) that the government neither listened nor learned from a letter from the Foreign Office sent in 2004 emphasises this. ....

Article of the Day, Thursday 25th August 2005 ~ ~ Frank Dobson in the Independent: We need the truth about de Menezes' death now The police, the IPCC and the Home Secretary should publish the basic facts.... Two Brazilian government officials are in this country to try to find out how our counter-terrorism police came to shoot dead a Brazilian citizen who wasn't a terrorist. It's not the plain awful fact of the shooting that brings them here - it's the misleading explanations for what happened that were put about and which officialdom left uncorrected for three weeks..... Not getting the truth out has harmed public trust in the police, embarrassed Britain's friends abroad, and delighted our enemies.
We must not let things drag on until Christmas.."

Article of the Day, Wednesday 24th August 2005 ~ ~ No Proof Found of Iran Arms Program Washington Post "Traces of bomb-grade uranium found two years ago in Iran came from contaminated Pakistani equipment and are not evidence of a clandestine nuclear weapons program, a group of U.S. government experts and other international scientists has determined.
"The biggest smoking gun that everyone was waving is now eliminated with these conclusions," said a senior official who discussed the still-confidential findings on the condition of anonymity.....
......The IAEA had put together the group of experts in an effort to foster cooperation but also to eliminate the possibility that its findings would be challenged by the White House, officials said. In the run-up to the Iraq invasion in March 2003, the White House rejected IAEA findings that cast doubt on U.S. assertions about then-Iraqi President Saddam Hussein's arsenal. The IAEA findings turned out to be correct, and no weapons of mass destruction have been found in Iraq."

Article of the Day, Tuesday 23rd August 2005 ~ ~"The rule of law is no longer operating in Iraq" "..and no pretence of constitutional procedure is being striven for." Juan Cole (new window) knows rather more about the situation in Iraq than John Reid.

Contrast his informed daily comment with the sound bites of our Defence Secretary whose irritation with John Humphrys was particularly evident on August 12 2005 : "....since you invited me on to discuss the Iraqis success and attempts to build their own democratic Constitution perhaps we should pay some attention to the democratically elected Iraqi politicians... "

Back in the real world, Prof Cole today: "... In essence, the prime minister and president have made a sort of coup, simply disregarding the interim constitution. Given the acquiescence of parliament and the absence of a supreme court (which should have been appointed by now but was not, also unconstitutionally), there is no check or balance that could question the writ of the executive. ......... I have a sinking feeling that rigid interpretations of Islamic canon law may end up trumping some of the beautiful human rights otherwise promised." and "all of Iraq's petroleum production was knocked out on Monday."

Article of the Day, Monday 22nd August 2005 ~ ~ The killing that shamed justice Leader - New Statesman ".... the manner in which false information gained currency. No one with an interest in accountable, democratic government can be comfortable with what occurred. Sir Ian Blair, the Metropolitan Police commissioner, referred in a press conference to suspicions aroused by the clothing and behaviour of Jean Charles de Menezes. There seems to be no doubt that some of his subordinates then supplied journalists with considerably more information that tended to mitigate the shooting - much of it, it now seems, just as inaccurate.
We need to be told at some stage how this happened, who was responsible and what they have to say for themselves. Journalists and editors, too, should be asking themselves questions: if they had been more scrupulous about identifying their sources of information from the outset, would the public have swallowed so many falsehoods? ... The tendency of ministers in recent weeks has been to treat the judgement of the police and security services as if it were beyond debate...." Read in full See also the Times today No one woke Met chief to tell him his team had killed the wrong man and also has a timetable showing the order of events on July 22/23.

Article of the Day, unday Aug 21 2005 ~ ~ Army risks losing its reputation, warns general Maj Gen Graeme Lamb: 'If trust is lost the road back will be blocked' Sunday Telegraph " danger of losing its reputation as a "highly respected British institution" because it is being forced to recruit soldiers from a "morally corrupt and dysfunctional" society .... not educated in and able to recognise self-discipline"...his comments.... reflect concern among senior officers....that the military's reputation is being eroded by allegations of abuse in Iraq, bullying and sex scandals and the deaths of recruits at Deepcut ..."
And Max Hastings' Opinion column: "....Gen Lamb's remarkably forthright speech........It is very difficult to recruit an army capable of doing its historic business in war - that of killing and being killed - from men and women who are universally civilised. ...
.. ...Teachers often assert that, in a few daily hours at school, they cannot imbue pupils with standards utterly lacking at home. Likewise,.... the Army, which is expected in a few months to transform young animals - and the worst products of the inner cities are no more - into honourable warriors.
............we might ask whether as a society we still deserve the profound virtues of the British Army, if we allow it to become sole scapegoat for vices that are as much ours as its own. If we wish this great institution to survive and prosper, it needs our support and that of the Government which sends it so often to fight, yet treats it so scurvily." Read articles in full

Article of the Day, Aug 20 2005 ~ ~ Extract from Friday's Snowmail (on the shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes and the sidelining of Mo Mowlam.)

Professor Juan Cole's respected daily Informed Comment is occasionally both colloquial and quotable in tone - a shock that serves only to emphasise the gravity and rigorous detail of most of its authorial voice. As here, a postscript to Saturday's Sistani Opposes Ceding Kirkuk to Kurdistan Sadrists Demonstrate against Federalism :

Articles of the Day, Aug 18 2005 ~ ~ The killing of Jean Charles de Menezes Craig Murray reacts to the latest revelations about the probable murder of Jean Charles de Menezes

Marie Woolf in the Independent : ID cards could be used for mass surveillance system "....The Home Office said the police would only check a person against the National Identity Register to investigate a specific crime."

Article of the Day, Aug 17 2005 ~ ~ Channel 4 video report.."utterly at odds with accounts at the time" Leaked IPCC papers and photos about the shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes, What emerges is that no one was able to give a positive ID that he was the suspected terrorist, Hussein Osman

. (warning - in this disturbing report, there is a particularly graphic image of the dead electrician. See also ITN News.)

Article of the Day, Aug 16 2005 ~ ~ It's Torture for Tony Simon Jenkins (and see latest Blog )

Footnote on the Greek air crash: ".....Eleni Michozalis, whose goddaughter Antonia died in the crash with her husband and their children, aged 12, 10 and 6, said: "Where are the EU's regulatory powers?" "They make us wash our hands before we go into the slaughter house to kill the chickens. They minutely regulate the way we drive on the roads ... But why did they allow this plane to fly? The pilots couldn't do anything. The airline killed everyone." Independent

Article of the Day, Aug 15 2005 ~ ~ Stephen Glover on The Press Independent "....several weeks ago David Hill, holidaying Mr Blair consider himself in a category of his own, particularly since his ill-conceived policies in Iraq have increased the likelihood of terrorist attacks in Britain? Why should he be allowed to exempt himself from the consequences of his own actions?....The media could have ignored Mr Hill's request. The Sun has very nearly done so. Hasn't the rest of the press been rather too docile? At the very least there should have been a debate about the rights and wrongs of not revealing the Prime Minister's whereabouts....."

(warmwell note: Mr Blair is in Barbados, as anyone - terrorist or not - can find out by running a simple Google search and he is probably in Cliff Richards' villa there.)

Articles of the Day, Aug 14 2005 ~ ~ Is it right to expect parliament to approve a constitution it has barely read, which is highly controversial, without time for study and debate? Isn't that making parliament a mere rubber stamp? The deadline is a US political issue, not an imperative of Iraqi politics. Informed Comment

No 10 refuses to reveal Iraq war e-mails

August 14 2005 - Sunday Times Senior government sources suspect that the e-mails contain a summary of the arguments that No 10 was privately making to Goldsmith .... read in full and see warmwell pages on
  • Lord Goldsmith and
  • the Downing Street Memos
  • Friday 12 August 2005: UK Defence Secretary , John Reid, on the Today Programme (warmwell transcript) says that the situation in Iraq is cause for celebration. Extract:

    Read in full Then read

    Article of the Day, Aug 13 2005 ~ ~ "How can the US ever win, when Iraqi children die like this?" in this harrowing everyday story from Baghdad Robert Fisk describes how a second grade boy lay crushed under an American vehicle that rammed a house at 3 in the morning. The family angrily refused compensation

    Article of the Day, Aug 12 2005 ~ ~ My sadness at the privatisation of Iraq
    Michael Meacher in today's Times - Almost no contracts have gone to UK companies, apart from one for the Baghdad sewage system -"..... But democracy was always only an after-thought, and anyway never really on offer in the first place. Before the US proconsul Paul Bremer left Baghdad, he enacted 100 orders as chief of the occupation authority in Iraq. Perhaps the most infamous was Order 39 which decreed that 200 Iraqi state companies would be privatised, that foreign companies could have complete control of Iraqi banks, factories and mines, and that these companies could transfer all of their profits out of Iraq. The reconstruction of the country amounts in effect to wholesale privatisation of the economy and is little short of economic colonisation. ..." Read in full

    Channel 4 News update Aug 11: " ...The Home Secretary, who is still technically on holiday, decided to detain ten people today pending their deportation. All are foreigners, but he won't say who they are or whether they are the same people who were until recently locked up in Belmarsh without trial. But it is widely thought, and a few nods and winks today seemed to confirm this, that one of them is the Jordanian cleric Abu Qatada - who was suspected of being a key Al Qaeda figure by the security services both here and in Madrid.
    So they will all be sent back to countries like Jordan, Algeria and Lebanon with questionable or down right dodgy human rights records. This is because yesterday the government signed a memorandum of understanding with Jordan under which they agree to treat anyone handed to them in line with "international standards" of human rights.
    But what about those from other countries like Algeria where no deal has been done yet? Will the British courts accept that they can be held in detention while memorandums of understanding are still being negotiated? Would Britain be any safer with these people deported? Did any of them have anything to do with the July attacks? Or is this the action of a government desperate to be seen to be doing something?"
    As so often, one feels gratitude to Channel 4 for asking these questions

    Article of the Day, Aug 11 2005 ~ ~ Guilty! Senior judges accuse politicians over terror laws Senior judges have accused politicians of seeking to subvert the rule of law in attempts to impose tough new anti-terror measures Independent " Britain's most eminent judges have warned politicians that they will fight any move to undermine their independence, after being accused of thwarting moves to fight terrorism. In a stark warning, the country's senior legal figures warned of a backlash from the courts - and declared that diluting the powers of the judiciary will undermine the basis of democracy...."

    Article of the Day, Aug 10 2005 ~ Blears, Blunkett and Prescott. While the cat's away (and won't come back for the funeral) . See the Scotsman on all the posturing. Meanwhile, Michael Howard sees fit to warn judges to "stop thwarting the will of MPs and play a full part in the fight against terrorism." Telegraph

    Article of the Day, Aug 9 2005 ~ Tens of thousands of people from around the world gathered in Hiroshima yesterday to renew calls for the abolition of nuclear arms on the 60th anniversary of the atomic bombing of the city. Independent "....... Tadatoshi Akiba, the Mayor of Hiroshima, told the gathering that the five established nuclear powers - the United States, Russia, Britain, France and China - as well as India, Pakistan and North Korea were "jeopardising human survival". The members of the "nuclear club" were "ignoring the majority voices of the people and governments of the world", he said...."

    Article of the Day, Aug 8 2005 ~ The Times (alone it seems) reports briefly on the fact that 6 protesters against the Serious and Organised Crime and Police Act in Parliament Square were arrested yesterday. The Act bans demonstrations within half a mile from Parliament unless they have been "sanctioned by police".
    Anyone who thinks this is all perfectly all right, British, and reasonable might perhaps like to read an account of a similar protest, also apparently ignored by the mainstream media, that took place at the beginning of August; The Thick Blue Line (new window) is blogging at its liveliest, funniest and angriest.
    (And here too there were 6 arrests. "..... whilst we were conveying our disgust at the way that 5 fully grown male officers were dragging a peaceful lady to their van. I overheard one officer say that "we've got 3" when asked how many arrests they had made, followed by "we need 6" ...... When asked for the name of the Police station that the "perpetrators" had been taken to, the police gave 3 different names...") Article of the Day, Aug 7 2005 ~ ~ Robin Cook has died on holiday in Scotland. "....It was his grindstone-sharp wit, his incredible intellect and his towering oratory that distinguished him from the herd of suits, not his individualist look resignation as Leader of the House of Commons on the eve of the Iraq war elevated him to the ranks of those for whom statues are cast and earned him a reputation as the greatest parliamentarian of his generation " Sunday Herald
    (Here is the resignation speech that drew such applause in March 2003)

    Article of the Day, Aug 6 2005 ~ UK govt gets its own intranet - The new GSi will provide its Government employee users with different levels of access to confidential material. "...The first phase has put into place direct connections between GSi and other government and inter-government bodies, allowing communications to bypass the public Internet..."
    (warmwell note: The internet was too useful not to be used before a government intranet could be put in place. This looks set to remove from the public gaze much open and transparent information. One wonders what it has cost. Since 2001, for example, the Department of Work and Pensions alone has spent around #4.25 billion (billion, sic) on various IT projects. Then last November, it lost 80 per cent of its 100,000 PCs following a "routine software upgrade".... .")

    Article of the Day, Aug 5 2005 ~ - Jamail Dahl's email from Iraq Aug 5. Extract following Mr Bush's assertion We will stay the course, we will complete the job in Iraq. : " a corporal in the Marines.

    ...Harvey Tharp sitting with us served in Kirkuk. His position of being in charge of some reconstruction projects in northern Iraq allowed him to form many close friendships with Iraqissomething that prompts him to ask me to tell more people of the generous culture of the Iraqi people. His friendships apparently brought the war much closer to home for him.... Tharp goes on to say that he believes there are still Vietnam vets who think that that was a necessary war and adds,

    Article of the Day, Aug 5 2005 ~ - Capacity Crowds at Downing Street Forums Call for Impeachment Capacity Crowds at Downing Street Forums Call for Impeachment San Francisco Bay View, News Analysis, David Swanson, Aug 05, 2005 "... Congresswoman Barbara Lee and 29 co-sponsors are backing a Resolution of Inquiry which, if passed, will require the White House and the State Department to transmit all information relating to communication with officials of the United Kingdom between January 1, 2002, and October 16, 2002, relating to the policy of the United States with respect to Iraq.

    Article of the Day, Aug 3 2005 ~ -King Fahd's death To read the media reports one would not think that, as Robert Baer wrote in this extraordinary article in 2003, that "Saudi Arabia today is a mess, and it is our mess." The Fall of the House of Saud is is a fascinating article that deserves to be read carefully and in full.

    Gilbert and Sullivan on the subject of Mr Clarke's ID cards and the very model of a modern Minister ....Do visit the website. I loved the dapper piano-playing dog, the all-singing dancing cast - and especially the words. More