transcript of the Blair/Humphrys interview, 29/9/ 2004

"Where is our shame and rage?" Scott Ritter


July 2005 ~ For daily updated Informed Comment on Iraq go to Professor Juan Cole's web blog.

July 10-13 2005 ~ The Srebrenice massacre, in which between seven and eight thousand men and boys were slaughtered during the Bosnian war, took place 10 years ago.

July 10-13 2005 ~ Two years ago, President George W Bush said, "...the United States is committed to the world-wide elimination of torture and we are leading this fight by example." See Iraq page
Last year, Senator Patrick Leahy wrote to the President: ".... We are not talking only about the individuals who engaged in these abusive acts. We are talking about a failure of leadership by an Administration that, well before this latest scandal, had already severely damaged this Nation’s reputation and effectiveness in a war against terrorism that is increasingly perceived by Muslims around the world as a war against Islam itself. .."

2 April 2005 ~The minaret of one of the oldest surviving mosques in the world, an architectural treasure, was damaged by heavy weaponry. The US military blamed "terrorists." Juan Cole says, " I have loved that building for decades, and am sick to my stomach about it being damaged. It influenced Islamic architecture in Cairo and Andalusia."

2 April 2005 ~"Sunni clerics seem to have figured out that boycotting the new government is just a form of self-marginalization, and if Sunnis aren't in the army and police, then those forces will be largely Shiite and Kurdish...The new elected government has made it clear that it does not want any more Fallujah type operations.." Juan Cole

2 April 2005 ~ Life in Fallujah today - "no water, no electricity and, of course, no jobs. And when people go back into the city, they have to get a retina scan and get fingerprinted, and then they’re issued an ID card. ....a really horrible situation in which the military remains in total control of the town. ...Falluja General Hospital--is barely functioning, because people have to go through checkpoints to get there. Life in Falluja is really a horror story. .."
For on the ground comment, see Dahr Jamail's Iraq Dispatches

Easter Saturday 2005 ~ American Military deaths in Iraq= 1525 wounded: 11344
Iraqi civilian deaths actually counted (minimum): 17233 source: See also the Washington Post

25 March 2005 ~ "The formation of a government in Iraq has been put off yet again, possibly until April 1 or beyond, according to AFP. The Shiites and the Kurds say they are close to agreement. But they could remain only close to an agreement for a long time. Parliament may meet again in the meantime. " Informed Comment

25 March 2005 ~ "An Iraqi Army patrol mistook a group of police officers for insurgents, and in the ensuing gun battle, 3 men were killed and 10 wounded..." New York Times

25 March 2005 ~ "...On Thursday, hundreds of power workers shouting "No, no, to terror!" marched through Baghdad to protest attacks that have killed dozens of their colleagues, while demonstrators in the south demanded that the new petroleum minister be appointed from their oil-rich region. The demonstrations came as negotiators for the two biggest factions in the new National Assembly worked out details of an Iraqi government that U.S. officials hope will pave the way for the eventual withdrawal of coalition forces. " NYT

21 March 2005 ~ "Iran does not pose a threat to the United State because of its nuclear projects, its WMD, or its support to “terrorists organizations” as the American administration is claiming, but in its attempt to re-shape the global economical system by converting it from a petrodollar to a petroeuro system." This article from reminds us that economic collapse in the US is no longer unthinkable.

20 March 2005 ~Reg Keys, the father of a British soldier killed in Iraq has announced that he would run as an independent in Sedgefield. "How does (Blair) think those families of dead Iraqis feel? How does he think I felt when I dressed my son for his funeral, combed his beautiful blond hair and tried to avert my vision from the side of his face that had been blown off...." AP

19 March 2005 ~ We begin Year Three "Amid tight security and the sound of explosions, Iraq's new parliament met for the first time Wednesday as Iraqi politicians and citizens alike urged lawmakers to stop bickering, form a new government and tackle the country's numerous problems, particularly the violent insurgency...." Washington Post

11 March 2005 ~ Lord Goldsmith went out of his way to insist that his parliamentary answer on 17 March 2003 on the legality of the war did not reflect his legal advice and was not even a summary of it. Now that Sir Andrew Turnball has revealed that there was no full legal advice at all (Independent) what will Lord Goldsmith say now? The extent of the lying that took us to war in the face of a huge public outcry has still not been revealed.

9 March 2005 ~ A suicide bomber detonated a rubbish truck packed with explosives today outside the Agriculture Ministry and a hotel used by Western contractors, killing himself and at least three others. Scotsman

8 March 2005 ~ "...It seems to me that the US military long ago blew any chance of remaining in Iraq for the long haul-- Abu Ghraib, Fallujah, Najaf and other actions have been pretty deadly. The Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq, which al-Hakim heads, certainly wants an early end to the US presence. .." Informed Comment from Juan Cole who quotes Le Monde:

6 March 2005 ~ "Sgrena told colleagues the vehicle was not travelling fast and had already passed several checkpoints on its way to the airport. The Americans shone a flashlight at the car and then fired between 300 and 400 bullets at if from an armoured vehicle. Rather than calling immediately for assistance for the wounded Italians, the soldiers' first move was to confiscate their weapons and mobile phones and they were prevented from resuming contact with Rome for more than an hour. .." Guardian

6 March 2005 ~ ”The international legal expert charged with training Iraq’s next generation of lawyers and judges has revealed that his efforts are being severely hampered by the UK’s increasingly controversial stance on human rights....."I now have to spend the first two days of every training session trying to unravel the fury over Britain’s hypocrisy. They [the trainees] ask how likely it is that regimes like Libya are going to stop detaining political prisoners when the so-called shining lights have just effectively endorsed the practice. They are outraged that an almost impossible task has been made even harder.” Read in full

5 March 2005 ~ "Jawdat Abd al-Kadhum was not surprised that U.S. troops opened fire at a car carrying a freed Italian hostage to safety. He lost a leg to an American bullet fired from a convoy travelling ahead of him... Many have a tale to tell of someone they know that has been shot at, killed or harassed by U.S. forces in convoys or at checkpoints dotted across the country." Reuters

4 March 2005 ~ Times "A marine killed in action in the “Triangle of Death” has become the 1,500th US soldier to die in Iraq since the invasion nearly two years ago. .... insurgents have stepped up attacks against civilians and Iraqi security forces. This strategy, which aims to ignite civil war, is one that many analysts say has become more urgent for insurgents. .."

2 March 2005 ~ Judge Barwize Mohamed Marwan, rumoured to have been involved in the tribunal that will try Saddam Hussein, has been killed in Baghdad together with a relative of his. See Independent

2 March 2005 ~ The Iraqi Federation of Workers' Trade Unions mourn the loss of a prominent trade unionist, Ahmed Adris Abbas, who was assassinated on February 24 in Baghdad. The IFWT "calls on the international labour movement to condemn this atrocity against a brave trade unionist who fought to build free unions."
Professor Juan Cole remarks drily, " a parting gift the interim Allawi government has [Arabic link] dissolved a number of civil society organizations, including the Lawyers' Union. Iraqi attorneys abroad accused the interim government of violating a number of international treaties and agreements to which Iraq is signatory. US mainstream media appears to have behind the scenes instructions not to mention unions if at all possible (older television actors remember this instruction being explicit back in the 1960s with regard to dramas.) "

1 March 2005 ~ Informed Comment "A Fallujah notable, Khalid Fakhri al-Jamili, said Monday that the Americans were engaged in a large-scale set of attacks on cities in Anbar province such as Ramadi, Hit, Hadithah and Aana, which had the prospect of reducing them to Fallujah-like states of destruction. He warned that the US was pursuing a burnt earth policy so as to compell the Sunni Arabs to participate in the new political process."

1 March 2005 ~ "... Since Washington had already overthrown the democratically elected government of Iran in 1953, and is said to have helped install the Baath in power in Iraq, it may well be that the Illiberal Age in the Middle East of the second half of the 20th century was in important part the doing of Washington..
..The good thing about the democratization rhetoric coming out of Washington (which apparently does not apply to Algeria, Tunisia, Jordan, Yemen, Uzbekistan, and other allies against al-Qaeda) is that it encourages the people to believe they have an ally if they take to the streets to end the legacy of authoritarianism.
But Washington will be sorely tested if Islamist crowds gather in Tunis to demand the ouster of Bin Ali. We'll see then how serious the rhetoric about people power really is. " Professor Cole's essay today on Lebanon Realignment and Syria

27 February 2005 ~Ten people were killed and 11 kidnapped in Iraq on Saturday. In Mosul the body of a kidnapped female television presenter kidnapped last week was found dead from a gunshot wound to the head. The pipeline connecting oilfields in Dibis with the northern city of Kirkuk about 30 kilometres away was blown up late on Friday.
Juan Cole reports that "Dan Murphy of the Christian Science Monitor reports on the quiet disappearance of most neighborhood "governing councils" in Iraq, the establishment of which had been touted as a Bush administration achievement in Iraq early on. The members no longe meet and many are in hiding, for fear of assassination..."

24 February 2005 ~ "Three of the four soldiers behind what has been branded as "Britain’s Abu Ghraib" were told at their court martials in Osnabrück yesterday that they could face a total of four and a half years in prison when they are sentenced tomorrow. The fourth has already been sentenced to 18 months. The judge described the offences as "brutal, cruel and revolting" behaviour which had "undoubtedly tarnished the international reputation of the British army and, to some extent, the British nation too". But barristers representing the men claimed their clients were being made into scapegoats for the abuse and pointed to evidence that more senior officers were aware of what happened. And after six weeks and over £1 million of public money, the riddle of who ordered what and when in the now-infamous Bread Basket Camp remained unsolved last night. .." Scotsman

24 February 2005 ~ Russia, ignoring U.S. concerns, is set to sign a deal with Tehran this weekend that will pave the way for the start-up of Iran's first nuclear power plant. ...The United States says it fears the 1,000-megawatt Bushehr plant in southern Iran could be used as a cover by Tehran to build atomic weapons. Tehran has denied this. " Reuters

24 February 2005 ~ "And finally, this notion that the United States is getting ready to attack Iran is simply ridiculous." Short pause. "And having said that, all options are on the table." Mr George W Bush "reassuring" Europe.

22 February 2005 ~ Wire Services' Twenty-two people including four US soldiers have died in a series of attacks in Iraq since Sunday evening, while a journalist, her son, and three men working for the US military have been kidnapped, according to separate security sources and a statement from a militant group.'
"The guerrillas struck all over the center-north of the country, from Baghdad to Mosul. Guerrillas detonated a bomb in Baghdad Monday near a US medical helicopter, killing 3 US troops and wounding 8.
Iraq, in short, continues to be a godawful mess, with no real security on the major roads. As I suggested in January, the anonymous elections have not had a significant impact on the guerrilla war. " Informed Comment.

February 2005 ~".....Speaking of war, we're going to want all Blue States' citizens back from Iraq. If you need people to fight, just ask your evangelicals. They have tons of kids they're willing to send to their deaths for absolutely no purpose. And they don't care if you don't show pictures of their kids' caskets coming home. Anyway, we wish you all the best in the next four years and we hope, really hope, you find those missing weapons of mass destruction.
Seriously. Soon..."
California writes to newly elected president Bush...

15 February 2005 ~"U.S. officials in postwar Iraq paid a contractor by stuffing $2 million worth of crisp bills into his gunnysack and routinely made cash payments around Baghdad from a pickup truck, according to a former official with the U.S. occupation government. ......This isn't penny ante. Millions, perhaps billions of dollars have been wasted and pilfered," said Sen. Byron L. Dorgan (D-N.D.), head of the panel that is holding the hearing." Washington Post

15 February 2005 ~"Roadside bombs killed a U.S. soldier and three Iraqi National Guard troops Monday and officials said insurgents blew up an oil pipeline near Kirkuk and killed two senior police officers in Baghdad. Political leaders, meanwhile, sized up their positions in a new government. " CBS

15 February 2005 ~ "According to Darrell, in early April he was ordered to shoot at a car full of people moving in his direction, which he would not do. "This car kept coming, and the other guys were yelling, 'Why don't you shoot, why don't you shoot?' But I felt the car posed no threat. Then, the window of the car rolled down, and it was just an Iraqi family.... ." from an article by Jack Dalton, a disabled Vietnam veteran, activist, writer and co-editor of the Project for the Old American Century.

14 February 2005 ~"Iraqi doctors are trying to save lives in the most trying of conditions - and with the almost constant threat of kidnap hanging over them. Poor equipment and a shortage of medicines, together with a lack of text books, make life tough for the doctors, who are desperate for change...."when I go here and there in London, I talk to myself and God and say 'we are human beings, why should our people live in such a miserable situation? I don't know who to blame, but it is totally unfair...".... "BBC

13 February 2005 ~ Naomi Klein in the Guardian "...So what's the prize? An end to occupation, as the voters demanded? Don't be silly, the US government won't submit to any "artificial timetable". Jobs for everyone, as the UIA promised? You can't vote for socialist nonsense like that...
.. if it weren't for the invasion, Iraqis would not even have the freedom to vote for their liberation, and then to have that vote completely ignored. And that's the real prize: the freedom to be occupied. Wow - do I stand corrected."

12/13 February 2005 ~Juan Cole "Some key election results are now being reported for Iraq. The statistics available point to about 8.4 million voters out of an eligible 14 million, a turnout of 60% (a little higher than the 57% that was the last guess of the electoral commission).
The Sunni Arabs (20 percent of the population and the former ruling group) mostly did not come out to vote. Only 2 percent voted in Anbar province, where Fallujah and Ramadi are. (Remember Condoleeza Rice talking about people voting in Fallujah? That was propaganda pure and simple.) .."

12/13 February 2005 ~ On Saturday, guerrillas set off a car bomb in the mixed Sunni-Shiite city of Musayyib. The bomb killed 17 and wounded 16, including 3 policement. The explosion at the Shiite mosque was at Balad Ruz, northeast of Baghdad.

12/13 February 2005 ~ Informed Comment".. Early returns from the recent election show that the Kurds have won a clear majority in Tamim Province, the capital of which is Kirkuk. This victory positions them to make a strong claim that the city should be joined to the Kurdistan province for which Kurds are pressing."

10/11 February 2005 ~"....the guerrillas in Iraq have many advantages. They were the managerial class and the officer class, so they have a great deal of organizational know-how. They clearly still have some of the loot the Baathists stole from the Iraqi people, and they know where the missing 250,000 tons of munitions are. If either ran out, there are plenty of Gulf millionnaires who would surreptitiously support a Sunni insurgency against American domination in Iraq. Money is fungible and I don't think their support could be effectively interfered with (do you know how many nouveau riche millionnaires there are in the Gulf?)" Juan Cole

8 February 2005 ~ "Iraq will once again dominate Tony Blair's regular showdown with senior MPs when he faces them. The Prime Minister faces questions about the recent elections and their aftermath from the Commons liaison committee..."

8 February 2005 ~"Bombs and mortars kill 30 in post-ballot Iraq's bloodiest day ...The deadliest attack came in Baquba, where a car bomb exploded outside the gates of a provincial police headquarters, killing 15 people and wounding 17. Many victims were there to seek jobs as policemen .." Scotsman

8 February 2005 ~ "... If people can't imagine that you can hate Saddam and also think a unilateral war and long-term occupation of an Arab country are bad ideas, that is their problem..." Professor Cole

7 February 2005 ~ "The relative calm enjoyed by Iraq since elections on January 30 has been shattered by two suicide bombings today that have left at least 22 people dead and more than 29 injured..." Times

6 February 2005 ~Daily Times " Insurgents have killed 21 Iraqis and two US soldiers in recent assaults, showing there has been no respite in the fight against US-led forces and their allies since Sunday’s election..."

5 February 2005 ~ ".... If the American public knows that there is a lively struggle between hardliners and conservatives in Iran, and that an American intervention there would be a huge disaster and would forestall the natural evolution of Iran away from Khomeinism, then they might not support Mr. Goldberg's monstrous warmongering.." Informed Comment

3 February 2005 ~ Prof Cole "...initial voting returns now leaking out from Baghdad and some southern, Shiite provinces, suggest that the United Iraqi Alliance, the coalition of Shiite religious parties blessed by Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani, is getting 72 percent of the vote. It won't get that on a nation-wide basis, since it won't have done well in the areas north and west of the capital. But it certainly will form the next government. Allawi's list is likely to end up with less than 40 seats in the 275-seat parliament."

3 February 2005 ~ Juan Cole's site really is the best place for independent and informed information about Iraq. "Iraqi officials admitted Wednesday that the election held on Sunday was flawed. .... Nancy Youssef reports from Iraq that one motive for the good turnout in places like Najaf was the hope that a new provincial assembly could finally get the electricity turned on.....An election official has said that only about a third of Iraq's ballot boxes have been sent, after being counted in the provinces, to the electoral commission in Baghdad for a final official count and double-checking. ....."

29 - 31 January 2005 ~ Juan Cole on Sunday's elections "The death toll in Sunday's guerrilla attacks rose to 44, with about 100 wounded. One attack late in the day in Mosul wounded 7 US troops. It is unclear whether the NYT estimate includes the 10-15 British soldiers lost in an air crash. The Iraqi election commission backed off its initial estimate of 72% turnout rather quickly. It then suggested that 8 million voted, or 60%. I don't think they really know..."

29 - 31 January 2005 ~ Robert Fisk in Saturday's Independent "...While Washington had clearly not envisaged the results of its invasion in this way, its demand for "democracy" is now moving the tectonic plates of the Middle East in a new and uncertain direction. The Arab states outside the Shia "Crescent" fear Shia political power even more than they are frightened by genuine democracy. .." Read in full

29 - 31 January 2005 ~ For informed comment about the election in Iraq and latest news, see Professor Juan Cole's website.

27 January 2005 ~ "... Its job done, the ISG slipped quietly away, its passing barely noticed by politicians, media and a public all too willing to pretend that no crime has been committed. But, through the invasion of Iraq, a crime of gigantic proportions has been perpetrated. If history has taught us anything, it is that it will condemn both the individuals and respective societies who not only perpetrated the crime, but also remained blind and mute while it was being committed." As Scott Ritter has the courage to tell us in the Guardian today, " The invasion of Iraq was a crime of gigantic proportions, for which politicians, the media and the public share responsibility."

27 January 2005 ~ "On the eve of the Iraqi election, neither the president's soaring rhetoric nor the new secretary of state's fantasy numbers touch the brutal facts on the ground." Sidney Blumenthal

24 January 2005 ~" At least 11 Iraqi policemen were killed in fierce clashes on Tuesday in eastern Baghdad, a hospital official said, and a senior Iraqi judge was shot and killed, in a series of slayings that highlight the grave security risks going into this weekend's elections..." International Herald Tribune

24 January 2005 ~ Comment from Prof Cole "If a parliament/ constitutional assembly can be elected January 30, it will then have to open all the cans of worms in Iraq at once as it crafts the permanent constitution..."

24 January 2005 ~Informed Comment "...another car bomb near the headquarters in Baghdad of the Iraqi National Accord, the party headed by interim Prime Minister Iyad Allawi. Allawi was not in the offices. Early reports say at least ten people were injured. Reuters also notes that Abu Musab al-Zarqawi issued a tape in which he denounced democracy as un-Islamic and warned of Shiite influence. He complained that the US was just using democracy as a cover for imperialist aggression, and added that democracy makes the people the source of authority, rather than scripture. Al-Hayat says Allawi responded immediately, vowing to wipe out Zaraqawi's group of terrorists...."

24 January 2005 ~".... national economy that cannot itself produce the things it needs and invests instead in military "security" will eventually find itself in a position in which it has to use its military constantly to take, or threaten to take, from others what it cannot provide for itself, which in turn leads to what Yale historian Paul Kennedy has described as "imperial overstretch"..." Asia Times

23 January 2005 ~ Chalabi. Informed Comment: "It seems clear that in summer, 2004, Chalabi still had powerful supporters in the Pentagon who shielded him. Either that support has by now collapsed, or Shaalan is attempting to present them with a fait accompli. The State Department and the CIA, which have gained more power in Iraq in the past 8 months, dislike Chalabi and saw him as a corrupt "Gucci revolutionary" who never delivered and could not account for the money they gave him. ....... It now seems possible that this affair will profoundly hurt the chances of the Allawi list in the elections.... The spectacle of the Defense Minister trying to have a political opponent arrested just as a matter of personal fiat, and being contradicted by the chief law enforcement officer, al-Naqib, is wholly unedifying. The news, which Chalabi publicized, that Shaalan recently sent $300 million in cash to Beirut to buy tanks and other weaponry on a covert basis also raises many questions about the probity and intentions of the interim government..."

January 16 -22 2005 ~ 'We were only following orders'. But whose orders? Independent

January 16 -22 2005 ~Mr Blair, shocked at the graphic images of abuse: : "The difference between democracy and tyranny is not that in a democracy bad things don't happen, but that in a democracy when they do happen people are held and brought to account....." The irony of such a statement appears to escape the PM. As Sir Simon Jenkins writes today, "The fact is that in Baghdad last month Mr Blair dared not put one foot outside the palace compound for fear of his life. Saddam had the same problem...."

January 16 - 22 2005 ~ Simon Jenkins in the Times ".. Hundreds of Iraqis and dozens of British and American troops will die staging this election..... The Iraqi election will be conducted under foreign guns, with closed borders, a curfew and no secure inspection. Voters are being asked to choose parties for a 275-seat constituent assembly to draw up a new constitution. This must happen. The last legal justification for the 2003 invasion, Iraq’s threat to the West, evaporated last week with the disbanding of the weapons survey group. Next week’s election is the only excuse Britain has for remaining on Iraqi soil. When it is over we should get out fast. .The best argument for the coming election is therefore cynical, that it offers ideological cover for an early Western withdrawal...... There will be a mess..... There will be more bloodshed and terror.. .It was predicted from the moment we went to war with Saddam. The argument may not be edifying but from the moment Mr Blair tied himself to George Bush’s coat-tails it was the best we could do. ..."

January 16 - 22 2005 ~ "According to Chas Freeman, former US ambassador to Saudi Arabia and head of the independent Middle East Policy Council, Mr. Bush recently asked [Secretary of State Colin] Powell for his view on the progress of the war. ‘We're losing,' Mr. Powell was quoted as saying. Mr. Freeman said Mr. Bush then asked the secretary of state to leave...." FT

January 16 - 22 2005 ~ From TomDispatch "Chris Nelson wrote the following in the first week of January after various officials had returned from discouraging inspection trips to Iraq:

January 16 - 22 2005 ~ British toll in Iraq so far.

  • 73 dead
  • 790 injured
  • Approximately 55,000 troops have served in Iraq
  • 9,000 troops are there now

    January 16 - 22 2005 ~ Seymour Hersh in the New Yorker: ".....In my interviews, I was repeatedly told that the next strategic target was Iran. “Everyone is saying, ‘You can’t be serious about targeting Iran. Look at Iraq,’” the former intelligence official told me. “But they say, ‘We’ve got some lessons learned—not militarily, but how we did it politically. We’re not going to rely on agency pissants.’ No loose ends, and that’s why the C.I.A. is out of there.”..... The Administration has been conducting secret reconnaissance missions inside Iran at least since last summer. ....The goal is to identify and isolate three dozen, and perhaps more, such targets that could be destroyed by precision strikes and short-term commando raids. “The civilians in the Pentagon want to go into Iran and destroy as much of the military infrastructure as possible,” the government consultant with close ties to the Pentagon told me. ..."

    January 16 - 22 2005 ~ "While the west has largely focused on violence against coalition forces, the depth of hatred for fellow Iraqis which spares no quarter for the bereaved or dead runs deep through the Sunni towns along the road to Najaf. Coalition forces know the area as the "Triangle of Death" but it is becoming no less lethal to Iraqi Shias..... "I am sure that civil war with the Sunni Salafists will happen eventually," said Jameel Alaan, a member of the Shia Dawa party. "All the good people are leaving now. But who will say this? Nobody." Sunday Telegraph

    January 16 - 22 2005 ~ "...Graner is small potatoes, and it seems clear that the torture policies came from much higher up, but this is probably as far as the investigation will go. If Congress had been in the hands of the Democrats, you might have had serious hearings on all this (not that everyone in Congress wasn't appalled). But we in the US now live in what is virtually a one-party state, and such states don't investigate themselves." Professor Juan Cole

    January 15 2005 ~ Reuters "..... In his statement to the jury asking that he be given another chance as a soldier, Graner did not discuss the most notorious episodes during his time there, such as when he directed the human pyramid or put a leash on a naked prisoner. Graner said he complained repeatedly to superiors about the rough treatment he says he was forced to mete out to prisoners. "We were not treating prisoners the way we were supposed to so I complained about it," he said. "I never stopped complaining." Graner named several higher-ranking officials to whom he complained about the conditions or treatment forced upon the prisoners, such as sleep deprivation and forced eating cycles. They told him to "follow your order, charge on." ...."

    January 15 2005 ~ " As the United States prepared to hand back the ancient ruins of Babylon to Iraqi authorities Saturday, a leading British archaeologist alleged that Polish and US troops had caused "substantial damage"..." Turkish Press

    January 14 2005 ~ " ...... The security situation in large parts of Iraq is now so dire that it is the police who often choose to wear masks so that they cannot be recognised, and the insurgents who make no attempt to disguise themselves even in the capital city in broad daylight. ....... Tony Blair has already had to accept that he went to war on a monumental blunder over whether Iraq was a threat. He must now confront the equally hard truth that the American-led occupation is not the solution to the insecurity of Iraq but a large part of the problem." Robin Cook in the Guardian

    January 13 2005 ~ "... what really happened inside the city. Did the US really rid it of insurgents? What became of the people who lived there? In a special report for Channel 4 News, produced by Guardian Films, a hospital doctor from Baghdad travelled to the Fallujah area to find out. ...These people are freezing. They have received no food aid for three months - they’re meant to be voting on January the 30th . “We won’t vote! We just won’t vote! They must take us back to our houses first.” - Abu Rabee ...." Transcript.

    January 13 2005 ~ Two angry emails following Channel 4 news last night. The first from Roger:

    The second from Jan January 13 2005 ~ "Of all the enemies you could have in Iraq, I would have advised the Americans not to make one of the Dulaim..." says Juan Cole on the news that "the large and powerful Dulaim tribe of Western Iraq has issued a statement condemning the killing by US troops of one of its chiefs, Shaikh Abd al-Razzaq Inad Mu'jal al-Ka'ud, last week, as well as the extensive destruction of life and property that has accompanied the US occupation in their areas. The Dulaim say that they want the United Nations to establish a fund to recompense them for their massive losses..."

    January 13 2005 ~ And Wire services report 11 dead in Iraq violence, including two car bombings and a gun battle in Mosul, the assassination of the deputy police chief of Baquba, the burning of four bank guards and the shooting of a policeman in Baghdad.

    January 13 2005 ~ The United States' hunt for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq has now been officially abandoned. See Guardian "..a final report in the spring that will be almost identical to the interim assessment he delivered to Congress last October. That assessment found Saddam had destroyed his last weapons of mass destruction more than 10 years ago, and his capacity to build new ones had been dwindling for years by the time of the second Gulf war. .."
    Warmwell readers will remember that on September 24th 2002 Mr Blair stood up in the House of Commons, raised the dossier above his head and said,

    January 12 2005 ~ Professor Juan Cole "Michael Georgy of the Scotsman reports from Baghdad that interim Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi admitted on Tuesday that "pockets" of Iraq won't be able to vote on January 30 because of poor security. I suspect the pockets amount to about 3 million persons..."

    January 12 2005 ~ "A Syrian held at Abu Ghraib prison identified Spc. Charles A. Graner Jr. on Tuesday as "the primary torturer," a frightening figure who was the "true face" of America's occupation of Iraq. ..." San Antonio Express

    January 11 2005 ~ "US Rejects Sunni Demand for Withdrawal Timetable - 2 US troops Killed, along with Baghdad Deputy Police Commissioner and Iraqi Police, Guards" See Informed Comment website for daily headlines by Professor Cole.

    January 11 2005 ~ Scotsman "Geoff Hoon, the Defence Secretary, yesterday came under fire after announcing that ... 400 soldiers from the Royal Highland Fusiliers will this week fly from their base in Cyprus to Iraq .... which takes British troop numbers in Iraq above 9,000... Fusiliers join the Black Watch on the short list of army regiments to have served two tours in Iraq. ... central role Scottish infantry regiments are playing in Iraq may fuel anger over the government’s decision to end their status as independent fighting units. .." (The day after axing the Scottish regiments, Mr Hoon boasted of £4.3bn warplane order )

    January 11 2005 ~ As we feared when we first heard of his appointment, Channel 4 news reported that America's former pro-consul in Central America, John Negroponte, is advocating the export and revival of the horrible El Salvador death squad method for Iraq to start killing off insurgents.

    January 9 2005 ~ Reuters "US troops targeted by a roadside bomb have mistakenly killed two Iraqi policemen and two bystanders hours after an American warplane bombed the wrong house, exacting a heavy civilian toll..."

    January 9 2005 ~ From Prof Juan Cole's website : "the drumbeat of violence continued on Saturday, with the US dropping a 5 hundred pound bomb on the wrong house in a village near Mosul, the kidnapping of an election official, the discovery of the body of the governor of the province of Salahuddin, a car bomb in Mahaweel, the murder of a translator for the US military, etc...." with link to

    January 4 2005 ~ George Monbiot in the Guardian ".. The US has spent $148 billion on the Iraq war and the UK £6bn ($11.5bn). The war has been running for 656 days. This means that the money pledged for the tsunami disaster by the United States is the equivalent of one and a half day's spending in Iraq. The money the UK has given equates to five and a half days of our involvement in the war. .."

    January 4 2005 ~ Gunmen have killed the governor of the Baghdad province, Ali al-Haidari, and six of his bodyguards. See Reuters

    January 3 2005 ~ The Bush administration is preparing plans for possible lifetime detention of suspected terrorists, including hundreds the government does not have enough evidence to charge in court, it was reported yesterday. Scotsman

    January 2 2005 ~ We read on Prof Cole's site that thousands of demonstrators carried placards yesterday in front of the deserted city entrance. US officials are demanding to see papers - many of which were left behind when people fled. Children carried signs that read "Where is my Father?" or "Where is my house, you supposed Liberators?" Prof Cole comments: "The Fallujah demonstration was big enough to be news, but I couldn't find out anything about it via Western newspapers and wire services."

    January 2 2005 ~ " The United States deployed a new contingent in Iraq's northern city of Mosul on Friday ahead of the nationwide elections to strengthen the security, said a US military statement early on Sunday. ...Three Iraqi militant groups -- the Army of Ansar al-Sunnah, Islamic Army in Iraq and Army of the Mujahideen released a statement on Dec. 30, which threatened to attack Iraqis who will take part in the general elections due on Jan. 30, 2005."

    December 30 2004 ~ From Prof Cole's "Informed Comment" site, (which also has comment on the tsunami situation)
    "Ansar al-Sunna and 2 other guerrilla groups in Iraq have threatened to kill anyone participating in what they termed "the farce" of Iraqi elections. CNN is reporting that all 700 voter registration workers in Mosul have resigned after death threats. The guerrillas are alleging that the secular process of American-sponsored elections will result in un-Islamic laws. I don't see how Mosul can participate in the election under these conditions. It has a population of about a million..."

    December 30 2004 ~ Professor Cole "...widespread veiling has been forced on formerly relatively liberated Iraqi women. Spinner's piece belies claims made earlier this year by Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz that the US had improved the situation of women in Iraq."
    He is referring to an article today by Jackie Spinner in the Washington Post

    December 30 2004 ~ The massive bomb in Baghdad that killed 30 persons and wounded 25 the night of Tuesday- Wednesday turns out to have been an ambush. Guerrillas contacted the Iraqi police, told them the house was a safe house, and when the police approached, they blew it up. They also flattened ten houses around it. See Guardian

    December 25 2004 ~ The Pope on Christmas Day ""With great apprehension I follow the situation in Iraq. ... Let there arise a firm will to seek peaceful solutions, respectful of the legitimate aspirations of individuals and peoples." BBC

    December 19 2004 ~".... I still reel that so many Britons believed what they were told about this war. ..Just one pre-requisite of democracy is that all groups share sufficient national cohesion for a minority to acquiesce in majority rule. Only a fool could say that of today’s Iraq. Democracy will merely serve as a transition to Shia theocracy Iran-style, while Sunnis and Kurds break loose. Yet Donald Rumsfeld and Tony Blair cite Iraq in the same breath as postwar Germany and Japan. Was world statesmanship ever so dumb? ...." so wrote Simon Jenkins in March.

    December 19 2004 ~ More voter registration stations attacked in Iraq. See Professor Cole's Informed Comment

    December 19 2004 ~ The US State Department's website includes a Fact Sheet entitled, “Iran: Voices Struggling To Be Heard.” "In Iran, the demand for democracy is strong and broad as we saw when thousands gathered to welcome home Shirin Ebadi, the winner of the Nobel Peace Prize. The regime in Tehran must heed the democratic demands of the Iranian people, or lose its last claim to legitimacy." – President George W. Bush
    What you will not see on the website is the fact that Shirin Ebadi is being prevented from publishing her memoirs in the US because of regulations that prohibit ‘trading with the enemy’.

    December 19 2004 ~ "British officials insist they are still negotiating actively with the US to release all four British detainees still in Guantanamo Bay, including Richard Belmar and Martin Mubanga, both from London. These claims are now being treated with growing scepticism by the men's lawyers...Mr Abbasi and Mr Begg have been designated by the Pentagon as suitable for a military trial for alleged terrorist activity. Last month, Mr Abbasi was also declared an "enemy combatant" after a secret military tribunal at the base......." .." IoS

    December 17 2004 ~ Perth SNP MP Annabelle Ewing walked out of the House of Commons yesterday, after callung Geoff Hoon a "backstabbing coward". Alex Salmond gave Ms Ewing his full backing in a statement saying that she may have broken the Commons rules, but Mr Hoon had "broken the hearts of Scottish soldiers". See BBC

    December 16 2004 ~"We don't want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud....The one thing he has determined is we simply cannot afford to do nothing..." Condoleeza Rice in September 2002. A reminder from CNN archives of how the main players made the case for war against Iraq - and ignored Scott Ritter.

    December 16 2004 ~ Patrick Cockburn ( in Counterpunch): "..Members of the Iraqi interim government are much more visible and vocal abroad than they are in Iraq - and enthusiasm for foreign travel among government ministers is a standing joke in the press. Their absence is understandable because they are in danger of assassination in Baghdad and are often confined to the Green Zone and a few heavily defended government buildings... . In Mosul most of the voter registration materials have been destroyed." Read in full

    December 16 2004 ~ "....There is no end in sight, of course, to Iraq's carnage. Whether brought about by military action, car bombings, assassinations, depleted uranium shell-generated illnesses, contaminated water, inadequate medical care, or countless other ways in the violent hell that is today's Iraq, civilian deaths are guaranteed to climb significantly. When the suffering will stop is an open question. But even if by some miracle the bloodshed were to come to a screeching halt immediately, there's certainly no doubting the answer if we ask if America is now filling mass graves of its own."

    December 15 2004 ~The government tried to argue Baha Mousa wasn't protected by the Human Rights Act because his death wasn't in Britain and that it was difficult to mount independent investigations in a war zone. The judges disagreed. Channel 4 news update yesterday: "According to his family Baha Mousa was unarmed when he was arrested, beaten up and killed by British troops. After a ruling that was pretty scathing of the Royal Military Police the family will now get the investigation the military failed to provide. " See also Wednesday's Independent

    December 15 2004 ~ "Iyad Allawi's decision to start trials against high Baath officials may further roil ethnic relations in Iraq, since a recital of Baath atrocities just before the elections may help provoke Shiite-Sunni or Kurdish-Shiite violence. ....another mass grave was discovered near the Kurdish city of Sulaymaniyah on Tuesday..." Professor Cole

    December 13/14 2004 ~The Pentagon says more than 5,500 servicemen have deserted since the war started in Iraq. See From the Wilderness

    December 13 2004 ~ "...After watching the worldwide demonstrations on February 15, 2003 be brushed aside as a "focus group," I knew then that the minds of the American public had been misled by the corporate media . .
    ...I'm reporting information that the Bush regime wants kept under wraps. I fear reprisal from both the government and military far, far more than being kidnapped or blown up by a car bomb. Iraqis are of course shocked and outraged by the beheadings and kidnappings of people like Margaret Hassan. So many also believe it was a CIA/Mossad plot to keep aid organizations and journalists out of Iraq in order to give the military and corporations here a free hand to continue to dis-assemble and sell of the country. . ." interview with Dahr Jamail today ZNET.

    December 13 2004 ~ A suicide car bomb ripped through a line of vehicles at a checkpoint outside Baghdad's international Green Zone last night, killing 13 people and wounding 15. See Guardian

    December 13 2004 ~"Baghdad is in the grip of the most serious fuel crisis since the war, forcing drivers to spend more than a day queueing for petrol and underlining the Iraqi Government's struggle to maintain even basic services just weeks before elections. In the past two weeks, queues of hundreds of cars have stretched for kilometres and disputes between drivers and police have turned violent.. " The Age (Australia)

    December 13 2004 ~ " The US continued to drop bombs on Fallujah on Sunday, according to AP. ...the British embassy in Basra came under mortor attack late Sunday or early Monday...the Association of Muslim Scholars and some other parties met again on Sunday to demand that elections be postponed..." all among the latest news from Professor Cole's website

    December 12 2004 ~"..With the backing of the Foreign Office...Dr James MacKeith, emeritus consultant psychiatrist at the Maudsley hospital, is trying to visit Guantanamo Bay to see British detainee Moazzam Begg...In an eight-page letter written in July, Mr Begg alleges that gun-wielding US interrogators at Bagram airbase, Afghanistan, chained and hooded him during questioning, that he and other prisoners were paraded naked and given ice-cold showers, deprived of sleep by bright lights and permanently denied natural light or fresh food. He also saw one prisoner being beaten to death.." Independent on Sunday

    December 12 2004 ~ Washington Post: "...fighting in the western Iraqi city of Fallujah had drawn hundreds of fighters to rebel ranks. ...Abdullah Janabi, 53, a Sunni Muslim cleric from Fallujah who has eluded a dragnet by the U.S. military, vowed Friday in an interview that the fighting in the devastated city on the Euphrates River would continue for months. "In one day, we received 400 Iraqis and Arabs," he said from a village near Fallujah. U.S. soldiers, he said, "crossed the ocean obligated to fight people who want to die, while they still love life." ...."

    December 12 2004 ~ "....Wilson's brave words brought applause and shouts of approval from the other 2,300 soldiers in the hangar at a base in Kuwait. His question is still resonating. ... the (ie the US ) death toll climbs to nearly 1,300.... Eighteen months after Bush declared that "major combat operations" in Iraq were over....the most powerful military machine on the planet, replenished by America's unmatched industrial power, is still sending its soldiers, reservists and National Guardsmen down dangerous roads in soft-skinned trucks and Humvees..." MSNBC

    December 11 2004 ~ "As the Black Watch arrived back in Britain, reports emerged from Fallujah of a flattened city facing an unprecedented, permanent security crackdown, and an uncertain future.." says the Independent today, reminding its readers at least that the Red Cross "reported that hundreds of dead bodies remain stacked inside a potato chip warehouse on the outskirts. Some of the bodies were too badly decomposed to be identified. Raw sewage runs through the streets. All this, and there are no humanitarian workers working inside the city. .."

    December 11 2004 ~ The report above appears on the Independent webpage just above the UK news that "Consumers have responded to the Government's healthy-eating message by stuffing themselves with cake, swilled down with plenty of alcohol.."

    December 10 2004 ~ From the ever-excellent "Tom Dispatch"
    "why not try Beverley Gologorsky's The Things We Do to Make It Home, a tiny novel about the wives and children of Vietnam Vets (and the vets themselves, of course). It's not exactly the book to fill you with Yule cheer, but it's a moving reminder -- painfully appropriate for our moment of back-door drafts and "stop-loss" tour-of-duty extensions -- that when soldiers leave wars, wars don't necessarily leave them. Our Iraqi adventure will, like the Vietnam one, inhabit American (and Iraqi) nightmares for years to come..."

    December 9 2004 ~ Juan Cole today: "...This open dishonesty of Rumsfeld and Bush is becoming so brazen now that they have their second term that it is breathtaking. A few brave souls in the press are beginning to dare call the administration on the lies. ...Fallujah hasn't made a difference militarily. .....US military plans for social control in Fallujah seem genuinely Orwellian and clear violations of the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949. Plans, it is alleged, are being made for forced work details by men in the city, and for use of high tech social engineering tools like retina scans for identification..." See also The Register

    December 9 2004 ~ ".... 'Nope, that never happened. You're delusional, you imagined the whole thing. And you've got 30 seconds to withdraw your complaint. If you do, it will be as if this conversation never took place"......" The Department of Defense is currently investigating more than a hundred allegations of prisoner abuse. So far, not a single officer or high-ranking enlisted soldier has been charged in any of them. SeeWhitewashing torture? on Michael Moore's website.

    December 9 2004 ~ "US troops on their way to Iraq peppered the defence secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, with complaints yesterday" Guardian
    "...Mr. Rumsfeld seemed taken aback by the question and a murmur began spreading through the ranks before he silenced them. "Now settle down, settle down," he said. "Hell, I'm an old man, it's early in the morning and I'm gathering my thoughts here." ....." NYT

    December 9 2004 ~ "....What is Bush achieving in return for such horrendous costs? Bush has destroyed our alliances and the good will of a half century of US foreign policy. .. has created an insurgency where there was none. ..has destroyed US prestige in the Middle East and reduced America’s support among Middle Eastern populations to the single digits. ...made Osama bin Laden a hero and recruited tens of thousands of terrorists to his ranks . .." from War Crime, an article by American writer, Paul Craig Roberts

    December 9 2004 ~"Two Defense Department intelligence officials reported observing brutal treatment of Iraqi insurgents captured in Baghdad in June, several weeks after disclosures of abuses at Abu Ghraib prison...The memorandum, written by the director of the Defense Intelligence Agency to a senior Pentagon official, said that when the two members of his agency objected to the treatment, they were threatened and told to keep quiet by other military interrogators. ...." NYT

    December 8 2004 ~ "Geoff Hoon, the Defence Secretary, was last night accused of staging a "shameless media stunt" after visiting Black Watch soldiers in Iraq just days before he is expected to consign the regiment to history..." Scotsman

    December 8 2004 ~ Can anyone access Professor Cole's site today?

    December 8 2004 ~ Mr Bush speaking to American families who have lost loved ones in the war at Camp Pendleton. " can know this: They gave their lives for a cause that is just. And as in other generations, their sacrifice will have spared millions from the lives of tyranny and sorrow." Mens News Daily Throughout the speech, Mr Bush referred to "terrorists". He meant presumably the Iraqi fighters against foreign occupation.

    December 8 2004 ~ A different slant from Camp Pendleton is provided by The"....Classified CIA assessments, disclosed on Tuesday, said the situation in Iraq was deteriorating and unlikely to improve soon...Preparations are stalled on many levels, ranging from delays in hiring and training thousands of election workers to deciding what kind of ballots and ink to use.
    "I just can't see how we can hold these elections," an American consultant working with Iraqi election planners said on the condition of anonymity."

    December /8 2004 ~"... The US has been trying to train Iraqi government units but the only ones which show a willingness to fight have been Kurdish troops and, in some cases, Shia. This exacerbates sectarian tensions between the Sunni...and Shia communities..." The Independent

    December 8 2004 ~ Mr Blair must set up an independent inquiry into the number of civilians killed in Iraq since last year's war, a coalition of diplomats, lawyers, religious leaders and writers demanded today. Scotsman Here is the text of the letter to Tony Blair urging a proper count of civilian casualties in Iraq. BBC

    December 8 2004 ~The death of the 1,000th US soldier in combat happened yesterday.
    The Independent : "The New York Times published a classified memo from the CIA station chief in Baghdad, who said the situation was deteriorating and was likely to get worse...It is not known whether the cable mentioned the actions of the US troops in adding to the violence and chaos, and the mounting civilian death toll... "

    December 7/8 2004 ~ "...Security in Baghdad is now so bad that when Robert Hill, the Australian Defence Minister, landed at Baghdad airport last week it was deemed too dangerous for him to travel along the airport road to Baghdad. He was unable to visit the Australian embassy." Independent

    December 7 2004 ~ "essentially a backdoor draft" The BBC reports on the "eight US soldiers have begun legal action in an effort to stop the US army extending their tours of duty in Iraq."

    December 6 2004 ~ "....Today, American planes regularly bomb the distant cities of Iraq and no one even seems to notice. No one, not even reporters on the spot, bothers to comment. No one writes a significant word about it. Should we be amazed or horrified, proud or ashamed? ..." Tom Dispatch piece on " the non-coverage of the air war the Bush administration has unleashed in "postwar" Iraq against heavily populated urban centers ...the wonder and even the horror of air power is largely gone, but the inventions, the destruction, and the carnage remain."

    December 5 2004 ~ "....."We don't do body counts," said General Tommy Franks of US Central Command. The question is: what happens to the people who insist on counting the bodies - the doctors who must pronounce their patients dead, the journalists who document these losses, the clerics who denounce them? In Iraq, evidence is mounting that these voices are being systematically silenced through a variety of means, from mass arrests, to raids on hospitals, media bans, and overt and unexplained physical attacks. " Read Naomi Klein's letter to the US Embassy in full

    December 4 2004 ~ is the new organisation that shares our dismay about media reporting of the so-called "war on terror". It organised Thursday's vigil outside the BBC. "During war, more than at any other time, language is twisted, stretched, and degraded. 'Precision airstrikes', 'collateral damage', and 'friendly fire': all phrases thrown over a tragedy like a blanket over a corpse; to blur uncomfortably sharp edges and make tolerable the ugly truth beneath."

    December 4 2004 ~ Independent " of the deadliest attacks in weeks. The well-organised assault shows the continuing effectiveness of the resistance forces despite the capture of their headquarters in Fallujah by US Marines last month. Early yesterday, some 30 masked and heavily armed men opened fire from the roofs of neighbouring houses on al-Amil police station near the airport road in the south of the capital..."

    December 4 2004 ~ Feedback from the vigil outside the BBC. Read why Medialens supported the vigil.

    December 3 2004 ~ Twelve thousand extra US troops are now en route to Iraq from Fort Bragg in the US on a day that saw more dead. In the fortified Green Zone, US offices and Iraqi government buildings in Baghdad took heavy mortar fire on Thursday. A car bomb wounded two US soldiers in Baiji. There was heavy fighting in Mosul, leaving a dozen people dead..and on it goes.

    December 3 2004 ~ "....the kidnapping of a female member of the governing council of Salahuddin and assassination attempts on two members of the municipal council of Khalis north of Baqubah. If provincial governing council members can't be protected, how can you have a stable government? Police in Salahuddin province maintained that guerrillas had established a special operations unit which had a list of 100 personalities they intended to assassinate. There is every reason to think that the guerrrillas do have such hit lists, and also that they have been relatively effective in implementing it." Read Juan Cole today

    December 2 2004 ~ U.S. forces are maintaining a cordon around Falluja and are preventing refugees from returning. There are about 500,000 people in grim conditions outside the city. Temperatures are now approaching freezing point. See Reuters

    December 1 2004 ~ Professor Cole today "It does seem likely that if the US beats down the Baathists enough to permanently defang them, the Shiites are likely simply to toss the Americans out after they take power (assuming that there is a real election, and Allawi is not simply installed as a US puppet [again])...."

    December 1 2004 ~ Military Families against the War "Our brave men and women risk injury and death while our government continues an unjust war for political ends. We say quite simply this is wrong." A new website

    December 1 2004 ~ Independent "The Red Cross has accused President George Bush's administration of overseeing the intentional physical and psychological torture of prisoners held at Guantanamo Bay. It also accused doctors and medics of liaising with interrogators in what was a "flagrant violation of medical ethics"..."

    November 30 2004 ~ Fallujah "Some images that did manage to filter through the layers of American censorship include scenes of the devastated landscape of the city; the bloodied and fly-covered corpses of young Iraqi men lying in the streets or heaped in rows amidst the debris; a headless body; women and children escaping with the few possessions they have left; mortuary teams collecting the dead; and Fallujah infants being treated for horrific injuries in Baghdad hospitals. US general John Sattler declared: “We have liberated the city of Fallujah.” ...” Pak Trubune

    November 29 2004 ~ "The press is always seen as a weapon of war by officials, and it is so seen by the Pentagon and the Bush administration today..." TomDispatch today compares US coverage of the Afghan anti-Soviet jihad of the 1980s and its reporting of the Russian forces' actions in Grozny with its non-reporting of the razing of Fallujah. The examination of chosen terminology, choice of witnesses quoted (and not quoted) etc all depressingly revealing.

    November 28 2004 ~"Journalists are increasingly being detained and threatened by the U.S.-installed interim government in Iraq. Media have been stopped particularly from covering recent horrific events in Fallujah..."

    November 28 2004 ~"...Given the momentous problem of peak oil and the oil importance of the Middle East and their first term choice of the grab-the-oil policy path, the second Bush Administration has little choice but continuation of an aggressive, interventionist, unilateralist foreign policy." Bill Henderson

    November 28 2004 ~ ".... It isn't that the government is elected that lends stability, but rather widespread acceptance of the government's legitimacy. The Sunnis are unlikely to grant that if they end up being woefully underrepresented. And then you will just have to reconquer Fallujah again next year. How long before you are just conquering rubble and snipers?.." part of Professor Juan Cole's Informed Comment today.

    November 27 2004 ~
    Sir: Saddam Hussein must be kicking himself now he has realised that all he ever needed to stay in power was an Iraqi cricket team.
    PETER WALTON Buckingham

    November 27 2004 ~ Concern grows over Iran. See letter from British academics in the Independent. " our deep concern at what appears to be a determination by the Bush administration to generate an international crisis over Iran. It is our fear that, having generated such an artificial and unnecessary crisis, the US will then embark on a doomed military "solution" in which it will seek to involve the British government and armed forces."

    November 25 2004 ~ "...This is a nation of people who conducted a revolution against what was then the most powerful empire on earth … and they did it because they didn’t like a tax on teabags. If they could work up that sort of outrage in 1776, surely they can awaken their consciences, ever so slightly, to consider the monumental balls-up they are allowing their leaders to make of the whole world...." Read the AxisofLogic article Getting Sober by Paul Harris - or this extract.

    November 24 2004 ~ All the President's Yes Men ... The next US Attorney General, Alberto Gonzales, told President Bush that Geneva Convention proscriptions on torture were "quaint" and "obsolete" and did not apply to Taliban and al Qaeda prisoners.
    See also Lew "He was heavily criticized for accepting large contributions from Halliburton, which was then headed by Vice President Dick Cheney, and then ruling in favor of the company .."

    November 22 2004 ~ "Bush was boycotted by 200 Chilean parliamentarians because they refused to pass through US metal detectors in order to meet with him."

    November 22 2004 ~ "what role the media may have had in blunting the war's significance are questions Massing now takes up. His piece represents perhaps the opening salvo in a longer-term discussion. .."

    November 22 2004 ~ "...A source with links to the insurgents said in Baghdad: "The Americans tried to control that area once before and failed. Why do they think they will succeed this time? The people are against them. They are afraid of Abu Musab [Zarqawi], but he is just one man; in the resistance there are many, and they are prepared to fight and die until the invaders are expelled." Independent

    November 19 - 21 2004 ~"... But the war in Iraq is that first slippery step down a path that leads to a war against us all: the Bush Administration has chosen a naked, criminal, grab-the-oil policy path that leads to a century of resource wars and terrible societal and economic dislocation. .." Bill Henderson's article That's us under attack in Fallujah

    November 19 - 21 2004 ~"Regrettably, recent events have again shown just how difficult it has become for neutral, independent and impartial humanitarian organizations to assist and protect the victims of the conflict in Iraq. Once again, the International Committee of the Red Cross appeals for everything possible to be done to allow such organizations to come to the aid of the thousands of Iraqis who are suffering." The Red Cross statement from Iraq in full!OpenDocument

    November 19 - 21 2004 ~ " The Mafkarat al-Islam correspondent in the area reported that Mujahideen had cut the three main roads leading to Fallujah, in particular the road leading from Abu Ghurayb to Fallujah, in addition to two other routes running to the north and south..seriously obstructing the supply of the American attackers in and around the city. "

    November 19 - 21 2004 ~ Non-Iraqi journalists have little choice .... "The hotel has become a prison, and every foray outside its fortified gates is tinged with anxiety about returning in one piece. Baghdad has never been tougher for journalists. Treacherous roads and kidnapping squads restrict travel. 'Embedding' with the military or going with Iraqi government officials is the safest way to leave the capital. Our ability to uncover and tell the truth about Iraq -- good and bad -- has suffered terribly…" More at

    November 19 - 21 2004 ~ Meanwhile, the fighting goes on. Al Jazeera says, " fierce clashes erupted on Saturday morning between US and Iraqi National Guards troops and armed fighters. . . clashes were spreading to other districts of the city including Al-Amiriya, Al-Gazaliya, and al-Dura.
    "Fighters have pushed their way to streets and roads and are using rocket-propelled grenade launchers. US forces responded with artillery fire. t A large blast rocked central Baghdad as fighting spread in Baghdad and a large plume of gray smoke could be seen rising from the area near the health ministry. ..."

    November 19 - 21 2004 ~ Pressure is now building to postpone the elections. Guardian

    November 19 2004 ~ "The past several days posed a characteristic difficulty for the US Department of Defense: how to wage war upon a population while doing so on behalf of that population..." 'Covering Iraq' provides analysis and discussion of US mainstream news in light of Dahr Jamail's reports and photographs from Occupied Iraq.

    November 19 - 21 2004 ~ In Baghdad, "U.S. troops and members of the Iraqi National Guard raided a holy Sunni mosque earlier today following Friday prayers. The site of the raid, the Abu Hanifa mosque, is considered to be one of the most important Sunni places of worship in Iraq. Arrested in the raid was the mosque's imam." More

    November 19 - 21 2004 ~ In Iraq 47 political parties have announced they would boycott the elections. Allawi's aide said, "I don't think within the time available we can do everything, so I think a delay or postponing elections is more likely than holding them on time." Prime Minsiter Ayad Allawi is a former Baathist who has ties to the CIA and British and Saudi intelligence. Read what Andrew Cockburn (Independent etc) said about Allawi in June this year.

    November 18 2004 ~ "... anger across the Sunni heartland - even among moderates - against the occupation and Allawi has reached incendiary proportions. His credibility - already low before the Fallujah massacre - is now completely gone. Allawi insists on the record that not a single civilian has died in Fallujah...... ... refugees tell horror stories ... of the Americans using cluster bombs and spraying white phosphorus, a banned chemical weapon." See extract from the Asia Times

    November 18 2004 ~ "Even the dogs have started to die, their corpses strewn among twisted metal and shattered concrete in a city that looks like it forgot to breathe. .." Read shortened version with link to orignal on TomDespatch

    November 18 2004 ~"Some of my readers still want good guys and bad guys, white hats and black hats. That's not the way the world is. It is often grey, and very bleak.." As usual, Professor Juan Cole tries hard to tell it like it is. (Read an extract of the entry for today)

    November 17 2004 ~ "....For the bureaucrats and the Western leaders who will today express their outrage and sorrow at her reported death, she had nothing but scorn.."

    November 17 2004 ~ "The abduction and murder of Margaret Hassan is a prime example of cui bono, who benefits. It certainly isn’t the Iraqi resistance—that is if we believe, as we are told through the corporate media, that they are responsible for this heinous act. However, when we consider the past behavior of the CIA and its long and sordid history of covert activity, another dimension emerges, one that cannot be discarded out of hand." Kurt Nimmo

    November 17 2004 ~ Who killed Margaret Hassan? "...such a good and saintly woman, that is the question that her friends - and, quite possibly, the Iraqi insurgents - will be asking. This Anglo-Irish lady held an Iraqi passport. She had lived in Iraq for 30 years, she had dedicated her life to the welfare of Iraqis in need. She hated the UN sanctions and opposed the Anglo-American invasion. So who killed Margaret Hassan? .." Read Robert Fisk's Independent article

    November 17 2004 ~ Having watched and waited with anxiety for so many days, we are desperately sad at the news that Margaret Hassan has been murdered. See, among many other reports, this from The ".... "The whole of CARE is in mourning," the organisation said in a statement. "Through her courage, tenacity and commitment, Ms Hassan assisted more than 17 million Iraqis living in the most difficult of circumstances. Everyone who met her was touched by her personality and compassion."

    November 16 2004 ~ "The Black Watch could be pulled out of the "Sunni Triangle" within days now the US assault on Fallujah is at an end, it emerged yesterday. .." Scotsman

    November 16 2004 ~ "Unfortunately it looks as if Margaret Hassan, the British-Iraqi aid worker kidnapped in Iraq, may have been killed. Her family fears as much following reports of a video appearing to show her murder." Channel 4 update.

    November 16 2004 ~ " Martial law means in practice a daily curfew, no political meetings and no free press - but the resistance won't go away. .... There could not be a more tragic exercise in futility than Phantom Fury as Vietnam revisited - to destroy Fallujah in order to "save" it..... Few Sunni Iraqis will believe this was all about protecting them from "terrorists" and promoting "democracy". Precision-strike democracy is a neo-conservative phantom, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing."

    November 16 2004 ~ "...This one's faking he's dead. He's dead now" The Independent on the video showing, inside a Fallujah mosque, a US soldier killing an unarmed and wounded man in cold blood.

    November 16 2004 ~ http://www.sorry - 27 million hits since the US election.

    November 15 2004 ~ From the Barnes and Noble bookshop: Confessions of an Economic Hit Man by John Perkins "..his job was to implement policies that promoted the interests of the U.S. corporatocracy (a coalition of government, banks, and corporations) while professing to alleviate poverty-policies that alienated many nations and ultimately led to September 11 and growing anti-Americanism.... reveals the hidden mechanics of imperial control behind some of the most dramatic events in recent history, such as the fall of the Shah of Iran, the death of Panamanian president Omar Torrijos, and the U.S. invasions of Panama and Iraq..."

    November 15 2004 ~ Colin Powell has submitted his resignation to President George W Bush. See World Net

    November 15 2004 ~ "The UN nuclear watchdog has partly cleared Iran of charges it tried to make a nuclear bomb, issuing its report one day after Tehran pledged to freeze what critics said was an atomic weapons programme.." Reuters

    November 15 2004 ~ A hollow victory in Fallujah. Independent ">..plenty of evidence across Iraq that the war is far from over, and the devastation of Fallujah is likely to have fuelled the resistance...."

    November 14 2004 ~ An emailer writes, "At the 11th hour ... I just stood in the garden and prayed for the town and people of Fallujah and all those brave people that have given their all - for what ?"
    When the smoke has cleared around Fallujah, what horrors will be revealed?

    November 14 2004 ~ " U.S. officer, who demanded anonymity, said that Fallujah is now "occupied but not subdued." .....The U.S. military has moved about 500 of its soldiers from Fallujah to Mosul, as violence flares in other areas in Iraq.... On Saturday, a Red Crescent convoy reached Fallujah with the first aid since U.S.-led offensive broke out last Monday. "Conditions in Falluja are catastrophic," said Iraqi Red Crescent spokeswoman." Al Jazeera

    November 14 2004 ~ "...five heavy explosions rocked central Baghdad after nightfall. There was no immediate explanation for the blasts. Sirens were heard coming from the fortified Green Zone, which houses the U.S. and Iraqi leadership.." AP via Guardian.

    November 14 2004 ~ "a Communist representative in the 100-member National Council in Iraq, which serve..s as a sort of interim parliament, was assassinated while traveling in the north near Kirkuk on Saturday. This would be like a senator being assassinated in the United States." Professor Juan Cole

    November 13 2004 ~"...We are becoming Aunt Sallys in Iraq. “Catch-me-if-you-can”, our aim is increasingly just to demonstrate from behind sandbags that we can be there without being killed. In April it was the Sunnis in Fallujah; in the summer it was Shia rebels in Najaf; now in Fallujah and elsewhere it is the Sunni insurgency again. .." Matthew Parris in the Times. Lucid and well informed.

    November 12 2004 ~ "And so we barge through another door marked "Open With Caution" and into yet another wing of our new age of extremity whose rooms now seem to extend in all directions forever. And this descent into barbarism is being reported to us in the anodyne language of embedded war reporters. ..."Mark LeVine, Four Times Falluja Equals?

    November 11 2004 ~ "Mainstream media speak as if Fallujah were populated only by foreign "insurgents". In fact, women and children are being slaughtered in our name. ..It is the function of the experts, and the mainstream media, to normalise the unthinkable for the general public." New Statesman

    November 11 2004 ~ "Allawi's aged cousin and the man's wife and daughter-in-law were abducted and guerrillas threaten to behead them if the Fallujah compaign is not stopped. In Iraqi society, PM Allawi is responsible for protecting his clan, including especially his first cousins, so this kidnapping makes him look weak and brings substantial shame on him."Professor Juan Cole

    November 11 2004 ~ " The Fallujah fighting has killed fair numbers of Iraqi noncombatants, including Shaikh Abdul Wahhab al-Janabi of the respected Association of Muslim Scholars." Professor Juan Cole

    November 10 2004 ~ "...the evil is not mindless but part of a rational programme of activity that British news media have willfully and systematically failed to comprehend...." Today's letters in the Independent remind us how the UK media in general, by following the current dogmas, fail to inform the people of things that the government find it better that they should not know.

    November 10 2004 ~ Fallujah. Independent "... Local people claimed US warplanes bombed a clinic, causing many casualties. The main hospital was captured by US and Iraqi government forces on Monday, when, according to government figures, more than 40 "terrorists" were killed."

    November 10 2004 ~ "voices abroad including the United Nations' refugee agency and the Red Cross expressed fears over civilians' safety. ..." AP

    November 9 2004 ~ "I am reminded of the description of British soldiers as "lions led by donkeys" in the First World War. Now surely the phrase should be "lions led by liars"..."
    "Sir....In mobilising his party for the invasion of Iraq, Mr Blair often illustrated the monstrosity of Saddam Hussein by pointing out that he had used chemical weapons against his own people.
    In contrast, Mr Allawi, the new thug of choice but with no air force of his own, is outsourcing to US warplanes the attack on his own people in Fallujah. And they are killing civilians with conventional bombs and missiles and not counting the bodies. So that's all right then."
    The Independent letters are always worth reading to know we are not alone in our horror and dismay. Other media, including the BBC, are not reflecting the widespread despair in the UK.

    November 9 2004 ~ "....The former defence minister Peter Kilfoyle accused Mr Blair of allowing Britain to be dragged into an unwinnable war. "It is a throwback to the misjudgements of the Vietnam war," he said....
    In the lead-up to the redeployment, Lt-Col James Cowan, the commanding officer of the battalion, expressed concern .... In one e-mail, Lt-Col Cowan wrote: "I hope the Government knows what it has got itself into. I'm not sure they fully appreciate the risks. .." Independent

    November 9 2004 ~ Depleted Uranium and the legal position on taking military action against Iraq. In a written answer yesterday Geoff Hoon excuses a refusal to place a letter in the Library because of " legal professional privilege". We note with dismay how often the government now uses the "Code of Practice on Access to Government Information."

    November 9 2004 ~ Extracts from Professor Juan Cole's site today "dramatic rates of desertion among Iraqi forces being committed to Fallujah....that serious opinion polling of the American public does not find anything like a mandate for Bush doctrines like preemptive war or unilateralism..."

    November 9 2004 ~ ".... it should stop all further trials at Guantanamo Bay. " a possible glimmer of hope in the continuing, miserable fiasco. See BBC

    November 8 2004 ~ " If President Bush could be as courageous as General Charles de Gaulle was in Algeria when he admitted that the Algerian insurgency had “won” and called for a “peace of the braves,” fighting would quickly die down in Iraq as it did in Algeria and in all other guerrilla wars. Then, and only then, could elections be meaningful. ..." Read the guest editorial on Professor Cole's site.

    November 8 2004 ~Allawi declares Martial Law for 2 months. Maybe it is just me, but is it really possible to have democratic elections coming off 2 months of martial law? asks Professor Juan Cole

    November 8 2004 ~ Iraq's interim prime minister said on Monday that he had given authority to international and Iraqi forces to rid Fallujah of "terrorists", promising that the "rule of law" would be restored "very soon". Independent We note the ambiguous use of quotation marks.

    November 7 2004 ~ Tony Blair is charged with "gross misconduct" over the war in Iraq in a parliamentary motion to impeach him, published today. IoS

    November 7 2004 ~ "...U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan and others have warned that a military offensive could trigger a wave of violence that would sabotage the ballot. The influential Sunni clerical Association of Muslim Scholars has threatened to call a boycott of elections if Fallujah is attacked...." Observer

    November 7 2004 ~ "The voter registration cards are being based on the old UN food rationing cards, which were assigned by household rather than by individual. The charge that the Shiites may be getting too few is plausible, since Saddam clearly favored Sunnis over Shiites. The Allawi government insists that there are mechanisms in place for persons to complain about and appeal any irregularities deriving from the food ration cards.." Prof Juan Cole

    November 7 2004 ~ "... (MoD) has ordered an infantry regiment known as the Tigers to be ready to boost British forces. The second battalion of the Shropshire-based Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment is already completing final preparations to deploy. Army chiefs have also drawn up plans to reinforce Black Watch soldiers based near Iraq’s “triangle of death” with tanks and possibly 100 Royal Marines from southern Iraq. ........ Only 10 days ago Tony Blair told the Commons that there were no plans to send extra troops. .." Sunday Times

    November 7 2004 ~ "...Soldiers’ relatives will lay a wreath at the door of No 10 to mark the deaths of the 73 British soldiers killed in the conflict so far. The government is facing a backlash from families following the deaths of the Black Watch soldiers Sergeant Stuart Gray, 31, and privates Paul Lowe, 19, and Scott McArdle, 22, during a suicide bomb attack near Falluja on Thursday. .." Sunday Times

    November 7 2004 ~"...The protest, on Wednesday, has been organised by Rose Gentle from Glasgow and Reg Keys from Solihull in the West Midlands, both of whom have lost sons in the conflict. After visiting Downing Street, where they will demand an end to Britain’s military involvement in Iraq, they will meet anti-war MPs, including Alice Mahon, Peter Kilfoyle, Lynne Jones and Bob Marshall-Andrews. Jim Buchanan, 57, whose son Craig, 27, is a Warrior driver with the Black Watch, will join the protest. “I want to know why the families have been lied to and why our boys have been deployed to Camp Dogwood,” he said.

    November 6 2004 ~ "More than 10,000 American troops are massing for the assault on Fallujah. ...reports grow that the insurgents have been spilling out of the city in all directions. And what of the tens of thousands of civilians still thought to be trapped in the city? ...." Channel 4 update

    November 5 2004 ~ American warplanes pound Fallujah; residents say attacks are strongest in months - Associated Press "....U.S. planes dropped five 500-pound bombs at several targets in Fallujah early Saturday...The drone of U.S. aircraft heading toward Fallujah could be heard over Baghdad. The U.S. military said the main highway into Fallujah has now been completely sealed off. Residents reached by telephone Friday said the air raids were the most intense in months, and that, as well as bombs, U.S. planes dropped leaflets urging women and children to leave Fallujah, a city of some 300,000 people 40 miles west of Baghdad. .."

    November 5 2004 ~"Just a phase " Letter in the Independent Sir: It is an experiment that America, and the world, have to experience. Bush will bankrupt the federal government. He will open the fissures in the governance of the USA and show the barbarism of the neo-liberal programme. He will expose the danger of religiosity. Americans themselves have to feel the effects of deregulation, de-greening and disinformation.
    Orpington, Kent

    November 5 2004 ~ A "major offensive" - the euphemism of war.
    Reuters " The US military blocked roads round Falluja on Friday after mounting air strikes overnight that local hospital sources said killed three people... US. marines are preparing a major offensive against Falluja as part of the U.S.-backed Iraqi interim government's drive to crush all rebels in the country before elections due in January. Interim Prime Minister Iyad Allawi, visiting Europe, has not publicly given the go-ahead .... But the Marines say they need only the order from him and newly re-elected U.S. President George W. Bush."

    November 5 2004 ~ Independent ".....Outside the gates of the regimental museum in the centre of Perth, locals listening to the news of the tragedy on the radio were clearly bitter. "This is all Blair's fault," said Margaret Gardner. "I have a lot of friends who have boys in the army and they are all worried sick. They should have been coming home, fighting an illegal war just to make George Bush look ...This is all Blair's fault," said Margaret Gardner. "I have a lot of friends who have boys in the army and they are all worried sick. They should have been coming home,.. fighting an illegal war just to make George Bush look good."

    November 5 2004 ~ "This pooled dispatch from Richard Lloyd Parry of The Times was compiled under Ministry of Defence restrictions " says the Independent article below. This is surely a new and worrying departure.

    November 5 2004 ~ Independent "... to local people the main source of danger was the British soldiers themselves. Black Watch officers found themselves facing a crowd of more than a hundred distraught and excited schoolchildren and a furious teacher from a nearby school whose way home was blocked by the soldiers. "The teacher is very angry because we're bringing danger to the children," said Captain Kelmanson. "By us being here, we attract the terrorists into the area. She's quite right, and if we knew it was a school we would have got the timing better."After yesterday's attack it is clear that local anxieties have been dramatically .."

    November 4 2004 ~ 3 Black Watch soldiers have died in Iraq, Armed Forces minister Adam Ingram has told MPs. Mr Ingram was unable to give details of the incident in his Commons statement. Manchester Online

    November 4 2004 ~ Lancet research: "... Its finding are truly horrifying. Recent reports indicate that the US is placing a far greater reliance on air power as a way of reducing Coalition casualties...... The continued US war in Iraq cannot be justified on any conceivable humanitarian grounds when many tens of thousands of Iraqis are being killed and many more injured. Surely, this study should be a wake up call for all those, regardless of their opinions about the original justifiability of the war, who sincerely are concerned about the fate of the Iraqi people. ..."

    November 4 2004 ~More than 80 per cent of Fallujah's population of 300,000 are believed to have fled by now. .... "All the shops are closed and those who could leave have left. The resistance seem to have lots of weapons, and they have been coming in despite all the American checkpoints. ....The mujahedin inside the city say they do not expect to live, but they want to kill as many of the invaders as possible." Independent

    November 4 2004 ~ "Hungary will withdraw its 300 non-combat troops from Iraq by the end of March, its new prime minister said yesterday, dealing a blow to President George Bush's efforts to hold the multinational force together." Independent

    November 4 2004 ~ "A car bomb hit a bus taking workers to Baghdad airport, a road which has become one of the most dangerous in the country.." Independent

    November 4 2004 ~ "...three headless corpses were found along an approach route to the Green Zone, the heart of US power in Iraq." Independent

    November 3/4 2004 ~ "The invasion has produced a toxic mix of insurgents, resistance fighters, former soldiers, foreign "jihadists" and bandits, with no shortage of weapons, including thousands of mortars and rocket-propelled grenades - and, we now know, enough explosives to make thousands of bombs, and powerful enough to detonate nuclear weapons.." Richard Norton-Taylor in the Guardian

    November 3 2004 ~ It hardly matters - but results from the US Election for the Rest of The World show a very different picture.

    November 3 2004 ~ "Ohio settles it. The question is whether Ohio settles it sometime Wednesday (with Bush pulling ahead so far that the provisional ballots no longer matter) or on November 13.... the Democrats maintain that there are over 200,000 provisional ballots yet to be counted, and that they could make up the difference. CNN is saying that it is believed that the provisional ballots are largely Democratic..An Ohio official, Secretary of State Ken Blackwell, is saying on CNN that the provisional ballots won't be counted for 11 days. ." Read Professor Cole

    November 3 2004 ~ Guerrillas tried to use a car bomb to assassinate an Iraqi general in Mosul. The explosion killed seven soldiers and 4 civilians, but missed the general. Daily

    November 3 2004 ~ The news that Margaret Hussan could be handed over "to the terrorist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi" if the kidnappers' demands are not met within 48 hours is grim. No one seems to know who is holding her. The treatment shown on the latest video is distressing in the extreme. For a report see Guardian

    November 3 2004 ~ Geoff Hoon has astonished MPs by revealing how he was apparently kept in the dark about controversial US plans to request the redeployment of the Black Watch in Iraq. Telegraph

    November 2 2004 ~ "... fears that if the vote totals were extremely close, the final result could remain muddled. Democrats and Republicans had already been swapping charges of fraud in voter registration and of plans to intimidate voters at the polls. The elections were being watched as closely as ever, even by teams of international monitors, ....." International Herald Tribune

    November 2 2004 ~ Hard Weapons for Soft Targets - depleted uranium, what effects it is having.. "Basrah is in desperate need of an oncology centre. If even a few of the young children we met are dying from the allied use of radiological weapons, then the lack of medicine and pain relief created by the long years of sanctions and now occupation, compounds a most terrible crime. " by Joanne Baker, director of Child Victims of War. (See also warmwell's depleted uranium page)

    November 2 2004 ~" is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the peacemakers for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country." - Hermann Goering, April 18, 1946, while awaiting the Nuremberg trials.

    November 2 2004 ~".....We want the UN to take a stand on the situation in Fallujah. Best wishes, in the name of the people of Fallujah, the shura council of Fallujah, the trade union association, the teachers union, and the council of tribal leaders..." Letter from Fallujah to Kofi Annan

    November 2 2004 ~" ...The most frightening thing of all is that the Project for a New American Century group, which has made an internal coup in the Bush administration, ultimately has its sights on China..." Professor Juan Cole

    November 2 2004 ~The (Iraqi) interim president, Ghazi al-Yawar, has told the Kuwaiti daily al-Qabas: "I completely disagree with those who see a need to decide [Falluja] through military action. The coalition's handling of this crisis is wrong. It's like someone who fired bullets at his horse's head just because a fly landed on it; the horse died and the fly went away." His remarks seemed a direct challenge to the interim prime minister, Ayad Allawi. " (Guardian)

    November 2 2004 ~ A US citizen is among six people reported kidnapped as gunmen storm an office in central Baghdad. says the BBC

    November 1 2004 ~ "You should see the mail I’ve been getting lately from our troops over there. They know how much the Iraqi people hate them. They are sitting ducks anytime they go out on the road. Many believe we are not that far away from a Tet-style offensive inside the Green Zone with hundreds of Americans and Brits killed." part of the latest email from Michael Moore to his hundreds of thousands of supporters.

    November 1 2004 ~ Bin Laden's words on the video of Oct 29:"....Bush is still engaged in distortion, deception and hiding from you the real cause and thus the reasons are still there for a repeat of what occurred..." See transcript "It never occurred to us that the Commander in Chief of the armed forces would abandon 50,000 of his citizens in the twin towers to face those great horrors alone at a time when they most needed him..."

    November 1 2004 ~ Iraqi toll - Guardian letter "Medact's forthcoming report, Enduring Effects of War, will also highlight how further damage to essential infrastructure such as water, sanitation and electricity and the health system, is likely to lead to long-term deterioration in the health of Iraqis. .... Medact endorses the Lancet's call for major independent studies by the WHO or other bodies.
    Dr Elisabeth McElderry Medact"

    November 1 2004 ~ Guardian "We invaded Iraq to free Iraqis from a dictator who, by some accounts, oversaw the killing of about 300,000 of his subjects - although no one has been able to verify more than a small fraction of the figure. If it is correct, it took Saddam decades to reach such a horrific statistic. The US and UK have, it seems, reached a third of that total in just 18 months.

    November 1 2004 ~ Guardian "The war on Iraq has made moral cowards of us all Scott Ritter: More than 100,000 Iraqis have died - and where is our shame and rage?"

    November 1 2004 ~ The killing of the deputy governor of Baghdad is the latest in a series of attacks on officials linked to Iraq's US-backed interim government. It follows a rocket attack on Sunday in the city of Tikrit, which killed at least 15 civilians and wounded eight. BBC

    November 1 2004 ~ Bogeyman to scare US into condoning the destruction of Fallujah? "......the flowery language of communiqus attributed to Zarqawi, including the December letter outlining Tawhid and Jihad's plans to sow instability in Iraq -- and the recent oath of loyalty to bin Laden -- sound far too sophisticated to have been authored by Zarqawi, who is said to be an inarticulate high school dropout." Boston Globe

    November 1 2004 ~ "American officials have grossly inflated the role of Jordanian Abu Musab al-Zarqawi in the violence in Iraq in their eagerness to blame foreign terrorists for the insurgency, according to Jordanian analysts and Western diplomats...Convicts ...remember Zarqawi ... as brutal and inarticulate, dependent on others for direction.." Boston Globe

    October 31 2004 ~ "One of the US Army's top procurement officers yesterday called the Bush administration's grant of multibillion-dollar contracts to oil services giant Halliburton "the worst case of contracting abuse she has ever seen". IOS

    October 31 2004 ~ "Stephen Hawking, Britain's most eminent scientist, has become the latest prominent opponent of the Iraq war by agreeing to take the lead role in a ceremonial protest to coincide with the United States presidential election." IOS

    October 31 2004 ~"...Last week the Bush re-election team replaced one of its campaign adverts after acknowledging that a photograph had been doctored to increase the number of soldiers appearing to listen to the president." Sunday Herald

    October 31 2004 ~ A suicide attacker detonated a car bomb yesterday next to a US military convoy west of Baghdad, killing eight Marines and wounding nine. Boston Globe

    October 30 2004 ~ a website called allows people who are not US citizens to vote in the next American Presidential election and is filled with information about all of the candidates; it may be useful for Americans to understand how we feel about their choices.

    October 30 2004 ~ "Osama bin Laden released a video tape just days before the country goes to the polls.." This is London

    October 30 2004 ~".On the one hand, it is a painful reminder that Bush dropped the ball, left the fight against al-Qaeda half-finished, and ran off to the Iraq quagmire....On the other hand, because so many Americans confuse Bush's swagger and aggressive instincts with being "strong on terrorism," any big reminder that al-Qaeda is out there could actually help W. It shouldn't, but it may well." Read Juan Cole today

    October 30 2004 ~ "..Two months after 9/11, late November 2001, Bush distracted our top military commanders from the hunt for Bin Laden with rushed plans for a new war in Iraq. This shifted their focus at a critical moment, when we had Osama cornered at Tora Bora. The facts now show that it helped Bin Laden escape. The details are all public information, but the story never got out. Until now." See

    October 30 2004 ~ "... Mr Bush put himself among dangerous — in Mr Cheney’s case very dangerous — men. The so-called War on Terror and the occupation of Iraq involved stunning errors of analysis and execution. But democracy’s antibodies will emerge to rectify them. No foreign policy can be based on myth for ever.." As usual, Simon Jenkins (The Times) writes a clear, humane analysis.

    October 29 2004 ~ The first Black Watch soldier has been killed . Roger writes, "One dead already. " Road accident ". How can you have a road accident in the middle of a massive desert ? ....."

    October 29 2004 ~ "...something has obviously gone badly wrong at the apex of power in the UK. .. In the late 1980s Mikhail Gorbachev introduced glasnost ...also exposed himself to fundamental public criticism... George W Bush and Tony Blair over Iraq and Vladimir Putin over Chechnya have gone the other way by restricting and distorting information available to their electorates....Blair used Alastair Campbell to bully the BBC as a way of diverting attention from the ghastly mess he and Bush had made in the Middle East. In a democratic system, it is time for the PM, whose quasi-apology was an insult to the public, to pay the final price."
    Robert Service, Stalin's biographer, finds some surprising parallels between the PM and the Soviet tyrant. The Dictator of Downing Street Important reading

    October 29 2004 ~ "There will be a massive onslaught of firepower on Fallujah and Ramadi and hundreds will die. But this time, they intend to finish the job so elections can take place there in the New Year. The timing - a week before the US elections - is supposed to be coincidental but draw your own conclusions.." Jon Snow's Channel 4 update.

    October 29 2004 ~ Squaddies criticise American forces for 'ruining things' - Independent "..despite the pledge by Colonel James Bashall, chief of staff of the British-led Multinational Division in Iraq, many soldiers are upset. .."

    October 29 2004 ~ "Not a word suggests that the American onslaught on the population of Iraq was and is systematically atrocious, of which the torture of prisoners at Abu Ghraib was merely a glimpse. The coming atrocity in the city of Fallujah, in which British troops, against the wishes of the British people, are to be accessories, is a case in point. For American politicians and journalists - there are a few honourable exceptions - the US marines are preparing for another of their "battles". ..." Will there be a war against the world after November 2? by John Pilger is essential reading today

    October 28 2004 ~ Iraqi Officials Deny Early Disappearance of Explosives Dr. Muhammad Sharaa who leads Iraq's science monitoring department, denies that the 380 tons of high explosives that has gone missing could have been moved in spring of 2003 before or during the war. AFP reports:

    October 28 2004 ~A militant Islamist group today calling itself Al-Islam's Army Brigades claimed to be in possession of some of the missing explosives - and would use them if foreign troops threaten Iraqi cities. The statement said they had been taken while the al-Qaqaa facility had been under the protection of the American forces." See Guardian

    October 28 2004 ~ "one form of tyranny has been replaced by another. Bombs, kidnappings and shortages have turned their lives upside down.." says Kim Sengupta in the Independent

    October 28 2004 ~"The function of intelligence is to speak truth unto power. If it doesn't do that, it fails and I felt somebody had to speak up for intelligence standards. I did that. I got sacked and I don't regret it for a moment.".....John Morrison in the Guardian

    October 28 2004 ~ Bush has fallen victim to his own hubris "...the people's own mobilisation has produced new voter registrations in the millions, and hundreds of thousands of activists have spread in the last week throughout the battleground states. The Republicans desperately cast out ploys to suppress these voters, many of them African-American. In the end, the American people refuse to be frightened into becoming an unrecognisable nation that disdains, as the Declaration of Independence said, "a decent respect to the opinions of mankind". Sidney Blumenthal today in the Guardian. Read in full

    October 27 2004 ~ Did the government and the MOD send untrained soldiers to Iraq in order to hide their political intentions? " .. Army chiefs wanted the training for the Army to start at the beginning of December 2002. However, due to "sensitivities" the training was delayed. ..."Because ... If the UK had mobilised while all this was going on that would have shown an intent before the political process had been allowed to run its course." Independent

    October 27 2004 ~ Washington Post "..insurgents made a new threat of nationwide attacks against U.S. and Iraqi forces "with weapons and military tactics they have not experienced before" if American forces try to storm the militant stronghold of Fallujah. .."

    October 27 2004 ~An Amnesty International report criticises the US over its treatment of prisoners during the war on terror BBC

    October 26 2004 ~ "We will stay in Iraq for as long as we are invited to do so." says Adam Ingram.
    Peter Kilfoyle "To ask the Prime Minister how often the full Cabinet has considered the committal of extra troops to Iraq." As usual Mr Blair's answers to Parliamentary Questions on Iraq are so obscure as to be meaningless. Andrew Turner's and Glenda Jackson's attempts to get clarity and truth are also in this Hansard extract

    October 26 2004 ~ Juan Cole writes, "Helena Cobban at Just World News insightfully analyses last Friday's Shiite sermons in Iraq, showing the ways in which the clergy are threatening Shiites with hellfire if they don't vote.
    I pretty much feel that way about Democrats who don't vote in 8 days."

    October 26 2004 ~ Pentagon Probes Halliburton's Iraq Contracts - Washington Post

    October 26 2004 ~ "...the director of the IAEA, is said to be "extremely concerned" about the "potentially devastating consequences" of the vanished explosives.... "The coalition was responsible" for looking after the weapons, an IAEA spokeswoman said. "We had hoped that they would be protected." .... Agency officials denied suggestions that the IAEA director had been under pressure from the administration to keep the news quiet until after the presidential election next Tuesday..." Read Independent report in full

    October 26 2004 ~ "Allawi has ordered an urgent investigation into whether information was leaked to the insurgents who ambushed the unescorted convoy and why the young soldiers were unarmed, said the source, who asked not to be named. America's top enemy in Iraq, Jordanian militant Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, claimed responsibility for what is one of the worst attacks on Iraq's new security forces..." Reuters

    October 26 2004 ~ However, Arab News asks Zarqawi the Terror Monster: But Does He Really Exist? "Zarqawi is a semi-literate former petty thief with a low IQ,” says Husam Ghassen, a Jordanian ex-militant who knew the fugitive in the 1990s. “Having lost a leg in an American air raid on one of the Mujahedeen camps in Afghanistan, Zarqawi is more likely to be hiding somewhere in Pakistan or Iran than leading holy war in Iraq"....The US has justified its daily attacks against Fallujah, west of Baghdad, with the claim that it is targeting Zarqawi. On Saturday, however, Zarqawi was supposed to be near Kirkush, some 200 kilometers east of Fallujah .."

    October 25 2004 ~ "Why hasn't Rumsfeld been fired? He ran Iraq for most of the last 18 months and it is beginning to be as cratered as the dark side of the moon..." Professor Juan Cole today

    October 25 2004 ~"I know someone is going to write me asking whether the existence of all this equipment and dangerous explosives doesn't prove that Saddam still had an active weapons program. The answer is a categorical "no." ..." Professor Cole

    October 25 2004 ~ "Bush is Making us Safer?" asks the respected Professor Juan Cole. "The complete lack of interest of the Bush administration in actually securing dangerous materials connected to the old, abandoned Iraqi nuclear program has long belied Bush's stated concern with Iraq's alleged weapons as a pretext for the war... officials warned Bush before the war that these explosives needed to be safeguarded... " Read in full

    October 25 2004 ~ The Iraqi interim government has warned the United States and international nuclear inspectors that nearly 380 tons of powerful conventional explosives are missing from one of Iraq's former military installations - formerly under American military control but now a no man's land. These explosives could be used to demolish buildings, make missile warheads and detonate nuclear weapons. The White House and Pentagon officials acknowledge that the explosives vanished "sometime after the American-led invasion last year." See also

    October 25 2004 ~ "Eminem... his immense popularity.. extends across demographics of ethnicity, region, and to some extent, even age. People from the ghetto and the trailer park alike burned in the WTC; as for class, both the investment bankers and the custodial staff were pulverized to the same powder. About twenty million people who were minors in 2001 have since become eligible to vote, and that's not all they're eligible for: some are in those boxes we're not supposed to photograph as they're unloaded at Dover Air Force Base...." and see also Juan Cole's comment: "Until they bring our troops home" is a lyric that makes a moral claim.

    October 25 2004 ~ Jimmy Carter ".. it's just become almost unpatriotic to describe Bush's fallacious and ill-advised and mistaken and sometimes misleading actions." Mr Bush and Mr Blair are blamed for helping to fuel the depth of anti-American feeling in the Islamic world. Guardian

    October 24 2004 ~ New York Times - "....if Mr. McKibbin and Mr. Stoeckel are correct in their estimate, the real cost of the war to date (in the US), including direct spending and lost economic growth, is in the neighborhood of $270 billion. ..spending on things like the occupation and peacekeeping in Iraq does not do anything to bolster the American economy's productive capacity. And it adds to the growing budget shortfall. "With a budget deficit already at 3.5 percent of G.D.P.," Mr. Roach said, "that's a really big deal."..."

    October 24 2004 ~ Independent on Sunday Clare Short claims Sir Andrew Turnball, Cabinet Secretary told her the decision had been made at least seven months earlier "...that Blair had given his commitment to be totally with the US in August or before". She discloses that Gordon Brown told her in September 2002 "that Number 10 had already asked Geoff Hoon [the Defence Secretary] to make 20,000 troops available". Read in full

    October 24 2004 ~ Lord Haseltine Lord Hurd and Kenneth Clarke speak out. Observer ".... Lord Heseltine ... "I think he has lied about the situation in the Middle East,'' he told ITV1's "Jonathan Dimbleby'' program. "We were told that there was a threat. We were told there were weapons of mass destruction. There were no weapons of mass destruction; there was no threat.'' ...... said the transfer of the Black Watch was far too big to be a purely operational matter... the transfer was "militarily extraordinarily ill-judged'' and linked to the Nov. 2 presidential elections in the United States.
    Hurd, a former foreign secretary, described the redeployment as "a highly political decision.'' Clarke, a former Treasury chief who served in the governments of prime ministers Margaret Thatcher and Major, said it was "absurd.'' ......

    October 24 2004 ~ Channel 4 News update tells us that President Bush's local paper - "the Lone Star Iconoclast -- circulation 900 -- has endorsed his rival, John Kerry, setting off a storm of controversy in the small town. Loyal Bush supporters are now boycotting the paper -- cutting its readership in half. But its editor has been deluged with support from all over the world."

    October 24 2004 ~"....we found out that they were shot after being ordered to lay down on the earth,” General Walid al-Azzawi, commander of the Diyala provincial police, said, adding that the bodies were laid out in four rows each, with 12 bodies in each row." Associated Press report on the ambushed unarmed Iraqi soldiers. They were on their way home after completing a training course north east of Baghdad when their buses were stopped yesterday evening by rebels near the Iranian border around 95 miles east of Baghdad.

    October 24 2004 ~"Some were shocked this week when two leading American neo-conservative thinkers, Irwin Stelzer and William Kristol, called our prime minister a neocon ".... neocon philosophy in its purest form: war as the ultimate lever of change." Guardian - read in full

    October 24 2004 ~ "Far from a limited number of pro-Saddam resistance groups fighting coalition forces, well-funded cells and militias representing a spectrum of Islamic groups are now spread across Iraq." Sunday Herald. Read in full

    October 24 2004 ~ Brian Haw and his collection of anti-war posters - Ministers have been forced to pass a specific law against Mr Haw's activities as a desperate last resort. Westminster Council's injunction against the lone 55 year old peace protestor was thrown out by a judge who ruled that he was not an obstruction. In May the Commons Procedure Committee was forced to admit that Mr Haw's rights to protest could not be over-ridden by medieval statutes guaranteeing MPs safe passage in the streets of Westminster. Like many Americans who have wept to read Mr Haw's posters, warmwell mourns the passing of the Englishsense of fair play and its affectionate tolerance of brave eccentrics.IoS reports

    October 23 2004 ~ "Sir: I am sure that time will prove that the Prime Minister was telling the truth when he stated that the Black Watch would be home for Christmas. I am concerned, however, that time will finally show that this statement was incomplete as he made no mention of which units would be replacing them. MATTHEW MINSHALL King's Lynn, Norfolk" Independent letters

    October 23 2004 ~ Independent "In An Honourable Deception?, Ms Short alleges that Mr Blair deliberately misled the country - a charge which would, if proven, force him to resign. Rejecting the findings of the Butler inquiry that the Prime Minister acted in good faith, she says: "I am afraid it is clear that the Prime Minister did knowingly mislead." read in full

    October 23 2004 ~ "Several lawmakers questioned the timing of the operation, saying it would put British and American troops in a major combat operation just as Americans were voting in their own election. Prime Minister Tony Blair said Wednesday that any redeployment would have nothing to do with the American elections." The New York Times leaves this - without comment - at the end of its article on the deployment of UK troops.

    October 23 2004 ~ "By abolishing the army, we destroyed in the Iraqi mind the last symbol of sovereignty they could recognize and as a result created a significant part of the resistance." New York Times quoting Col. Paul Hughes of the Army, a retired three-star general and the first civilian administrator of Iraq, who served as an aide to Jay Garner, .

    October 23 2004 ~ Sunni group urges boycott of elections because of Falluja action. The New York Times quotes cleric, Sheik Qasim al-Hanafi: "The clerics will call upon all the Iraqi people to boycott the elections and consider them bogus if Falluja continues to be subject to the incursions and bombardments."

    October 22 2004 ~ "..the Carlyle Group is a story of dealings inside the “Iron Triangle,” the place where the world’s mightiest military intersects with high-powered politics and big business. It is a company whose history includes ties to CIA cover-ups and secret arms deals, and an astounding trail of corporate cronyism... " Michael Moore's website has a link to excerpts from The Iron Triangle: inside the secret world of the Carlyle Group" By Dan Briody

    October 22 2004 ~ Yesterday's stop was number 38 of Moore’s 60-city "Slackers Uprising" tour of 20 battleground states. "I wish you could be with me on this tour, because you would have a lot of cautious optimism as to how things are going," .....The crowd — which included members of virtually every age group —rose to its feet and joined Moore in chanting "Bush has to go."

    October 22 2004 ~ Tony Blair must resign or be impeached for taking the UK to war in Iraq on the basis of a "lie", Green Party principal speaker Caroline Lucas has said. BBC Meanwhile, an emailer writes, "It seems Lord Butler was very selective in the choice of whose story he listened to - and bothered to remember. Why didn't any of the Select Committee members ask him why had had ignored the testimony from those within the intelligience services who raised doubts about the intelligience used in the dossier? ..... If Butler had been up before Caroline Lucas his comments would not have gone unchallenged."

    October 22 2004 ~ Lord Butler insisted yesterday that no one - neither Tony Blair nor John Scarlett, now head of M16 - could be held responsible. ..Guardian "..he was satisfied that he was not prevented from a proper investigation .."

    October 22 2004 ~ Alex Thompson in the Channel 4 news update: "...On Al Jazeera TV a short while ago a new videotaped message from the Dublin-born hostage Margaret Hassan. It's upsetting stuff from a hostage in no way involved with the military occupation. The British-Iraqi head of the aid agency CARE International's Iraq operation is in tears, begging for her life and begging for British troops to leave Iraq and - in an apparent reference to the Black Watch - not to come north. These videos put the TV media in an invidious position. Do we censor and not show the video and prevent viewers from knowing what is going on? Or do we show it in full and effectively become used as publicity outfits by the kidnappers? If there is an easy answer out there, it eludes me thus far.."

    October 22 2004 ~ Highly significant number of letters in the Independent, not a single one pro Blair. Independent

    October 22 2004 ~ The indefatigable Anne Lambourn - who sends so many invaluable links to warmwell - writes, "We aren't told in the UK of the Fallujah sheiks wanting to negotiate - it's already been decided to launch massive attack on Fallujah, and I don't think anything can stop it.
    I've copied three items/links from New York Times which provide further insight into Iraq situation re:
    1. Higher level of opposition and funds than thought; here
    2. Fallujah sheiks want to negotiate; and here
    3. Pentagon deliberately skews CIA's views of Quaeda ties. hereThis last one is particularly worth reading.

    October 22 2004 ~ Blair has taken us towards an elective dictatorship Hutton and Butler exposed the decay of accountable government Michael Quinlan, former Permanent Secretary to the MOD, in the Guardian today.

    October 22 2004 ~ Terry Jones - Bush has words with the Almighty...Guardian

    October 22 2004 ~ Fisk's case, that the war had succeeded only in consigning Iraq to a state of "anarchy and madness", comfortably held sway among the audience of 500...... There was also eloquence from the floor. A former US naval officer, worrying that the West had "lied about Iraq like we lied about Vietnam", urged The Independent to continue "challenging the lies" in a way no other paper has. "It is astonishing," concluded Kelner, (Chair of debate) "that despite the illegality of the war, the thousands of Iraqis and hundreds of soldiers who have died, that nobody on either side of the Atlantic has paid a political price." Independent

    October 22 2004 ~ Lord Butler "defended his decision not to apportion blame in hisreport. Questioned about the conduct of his inquiry, Lord Butler of Brockwell revealed that ministers had attempted to resist disclosing some documents, including the advice from the Attorney General on the legality of the invasion." Independent This does not make clear whether Lord Butler saw the Attorney General's advice.

    October 22 2004 ~ The highly respected Juan Cole writes today ( "Bush now becomes a symbol of grasping, stupid Federal interference, and Iraq is reconceived as a carpetbagging operation. "Until they bring our troops home" is a lyric that makes a moral claim. Bush & Co. have kidnapped US young persons in uniform and are holding them prisoner in an Iraqi cauldron for no good reason. ..... If any significant number of lower middle class white youth are thinking like this, it could make a difference...."

    October 22 2004 ~"The Black Watch regiment was yesterday ordered by the Cabinet to help US forces throw a "ring of steel" around Fallujah before an all-out assault on insurgents in the city." Independent. Please see Iraq page Those of us who believed the labour rebels would stand firm can only watch with sick concern as the Whips successfully head off a mutiny and Mr Blair "convinces" those such as Anne Campbell.

    October 22 2004 ~ Caroline Flint denies that UK enforcement agencies were used in the action by police in Britain in co-operation with other agencies that led to the temporary closure of 21 of the more than 140 Indymedia web sites worldwide. (reported on warmwell democracy page)

    October 22 2004 ~ "Behind the long list of parliamentary expense claims released yesterday lie 659 different excuses," says the Guardian "MPs hit taxpayers' pockets with £209m expenses claim" is the Independent headline

    October 22 2004 ~ Clare Short has revealed that Tony Blair did indeed offer to retire as PM if Gordon Brown backed plans to join the euro. Ms Short's book An Honourable Deception? is serialised in the Independent . BBC report. ".. he said two other ministers had given him the same message. "Gordon's answer was, firstly, that such deals were not worth talking about because previous agreements had not been kept," said Ms Short.

    October 21 2004 ~An American Little boy asks his Daddy.... Q: Daddy, why did we have to attack Iraq?....
    This extract from the Expat World Messenger spells out in words of one syllable what is usually wrapped up in rhetoric.

    October 21 2004 ~ Read the Guardian Leader "Just say No" and wonder, with us, how on earth the UK government can get away with saying "Yes"
    ..." no prime minister could now maintain public support for a campaign on the Western Front for a single day in the way that Lloyd George and his contemporaries were able to do for more than four years..."

    October 21 2004 ~ "..'No passion so effectually robs the mind of all its powers of acting and reasoning as terror,' wrote Edmund Burke. But not even the eve of destruction will stifle turnout.." Sidney Blumenthal's Guardian article America's hidden vote is essential reading.

    October 21 2004 ~ Kerry and Bush : "The polls, nearly all showing a dead-even race, fail to account for the new voters, who have no past records. They do not measure those for whom a mobile is their main phone - 6% of the population - who will vote Democrat by a margin of two-and-a-half to one. The Democracy Corps poll, however, filters in newly registered voters. Four months ago, the newly registered made up only 1% of the sample. One month ago, they comprised 4%. Now they are at 7% and rising. And they will vote for Kerry over Bush by 61% to 37%. ..." Guardian

    October 21 2004 ~ Guardian ".. chief of the defence staff, General Sir Michael Walker, and senior army commanders expressed what defence sources describe as "real concern" about the security gap the Black Watch would leave in the British-controlled area around Basra in southern Iraq. If violence erupted again there, other British troops, now engaged in training Iraqi forces, would have to fill the gap. That would delay the Iraqi training programme, delaying in turn the departure of British troops in Iraq... "

    October 21 2004 ~ Guardian "The deputy prime minister, John Prescott, said he was confident the people of the north-east will vote "yes" in the referendum on whether to set up a regional assembly. Bernard Jenkin, for Tories, said the Federation of Small Businesses in the north-east has said it would rather money was spent on up-grading the A1 road than on a "toothless talking shop". ..."

    October 21 2004 ~ More disturbing news about freedom of speech on the internet: "Indymedia NL won't give the Public Prosecutor and the police access to the webserver-logs of ... ...By using threats, the police, with help from the Public Prosecutor , tries to deprive an independent medium of its editorial confidentiality...." More

    October 21 2004 ~ “everything has been globalised except our consent”...See democracy page and click here for Amazon page and reviews of the Monbiot's "Age of Consent: A Manifesto for a New World Order"

    October 21 2004 ~ BBC families of Black Watch tell of their worry ".....Mr Buchanan's sons, Gary, 32, and Craig, 27, fought in the war in the Middle East. One son remains in Iraq, the other is back in Britain for the time being. Mr Buchanan ... said he was now distrustful of any official information coming out about Iraq and added: "The government have been lying through their teeth, they have already lied, so they will probably lie again."

    October 21 2004 ~ "...will the oil rich Kurds have to pass another winter without kerosene for heating, cooking and other basic necessities?" Oil crisis in the land of oil

    October 21 2004 ~ The news that the Cabinet has - unanimously - decided to agree to the decision made- who knows when - to send 650 troops to patrol volatile areas near Baghdad. This is ".....a step that will make Tony Blair a political hostage to events in Iraq through to the year-end and beyond..."comments Reuters. " Some critics have accused Blair of acting to help President George W. Bush ahead of U.S. elections on November 2, in which Iraq has proved a pivotal factor."

    October 21 2004 ~ Mr Blair is getting too skilled at ducking Parliamentary Questions and this leaves ordinary people like us with no chance of getting their MPs to elicit clear answers in the proper democratic process of parliament. An emailer sends this

    October 21 2004 ~"A People's Tribunal on U.S. War Crimes in Iraq: Overcoming the Silence," held by members from by the Human Rights Film Series, Streets Project, Penn State Amnesty International and the State College Peace Center, was part of War Crimes Week at Penn State..."

    October 20 2004 ~ " Twenty Labour MPs tabled a motion last night demanding a Commons vote before the Cabinet agrees to the US request to send British troops to the "triangle of death" near Baghdad....Tony Blair will face renewed demands by the MPs today at Prime Minister's Question Time to allow a vote...." Independent
    (Comment from a senior MoD source that the Black Watch would be "back home for Christmas" makes one wonder if senior MOD personnel have never read any history at all)

    October 19 2004 ~Charles Kennedy is rightly furious with Jack Straw "To try to suggest or imply, as he did, that somehow those of us who were against the war were, in fact, covertly in favour of some form of strengthened Saddam Hussein is an absolute insult to the integrity as well as the intelligence of people." See Guardian

    October 19 2004 ~ Annabelle Ewing (Perth) (SNP): As the MP for Perth, where the Black Watch has its regimental headquarters, I know that people in my constituency do not understand how it could be operationally necessary to deploy the 600-plus battalion in the US zone, where there are already more than 130,000 US soldiers. What does the Secretary of State have to say to my constituents who are anxiously awaiting news about their loved ones, who are currently on their second tour of duty within a year and who are being stabbed in the back at home by the Government's plan to disband their historic regiment? My constituents want to know when the Black Watch will come home.
    Iraq debate yesterday

    October 19 2004 ~ Channel 4 news update on the kidnapping of Margaret Hassan "....She has lived in Iraq for 30 years, is married to an Iraqi and has worked for the charity Care International for 15 years or so.
    She lasted right through Saddam's tyranny and now, in the deepest insecurity that has followed, she has been seized. Those who know her are very deeply affected and that includes me and my colleagues; this is a very bad development. She wasn't there as a soldier or an entrepreneur of fortune. ...."

    October 19 2004 ~ "Please, don't go. Please don't make yourselves complicit with the atrocities which will undoubtedly be committed against ordinary Iraqi people in Falluja. Please don't put yourself closer to harm for the sake of an ill-advised attack that will only make things worse" Read Jo Wilding's letter - Iraq page She, unlike Bush, Blair, Hoon and the rest, has been, in her ambulance, under fire from US marines.

    October 19 2004 ~ From "....In the 1970s and 1980s, some prognosticators spoke about the world "running out of oil." That prospect is not what drives the current fears. It is the apparently inevitable supply-and-demand driven market movements that may force the price of oil to $100. And that's a lot scarier." Even the most conventional business pages are now discussing peak oil. See peak oil news page

    October 19 2004 ~"Like an abject timeshare salesman making a pitch that he knows is dud, Geoff Hoon went through the motions.." Guardian

    October 19 2004 ~ "....there were a few farmers in the audience who, if the Yes speakers had been one of their animals, would have reached for the shotgun to put them out of their misery..." See democracy page on the fiasco of the North East referendum

    October 19 2004 ~ Independent - Iraq: Pro-war MPs draw a line in the sand "..... PAUL FARRELLY (MP for Newcastle-under-Lyme) Voted for the war "There is no way we should give this dangerous American president any encouragement to inflict the sort of civilian casualties that we have already seen in Fallujah. We should instead be praying that he leaves office shortly."....." Read in full

    October 19 2004 ~ "Government whips reported back to Mr Blair of their alarm at the change of mood on the Labour back benches. "The worm has turned," said one anti-war Labour MP..." More encouraging news from the Independent - read in full

    October 19 2004 ~ North East Assembly Why has it become acceptable for politicians to lie?
    Telegraph "....Mr Prescott, who was accompanied by the former Cabinet minister Stephen Byers, said he had met more pro- than anti-assembly voters among the public. However, The Telegraph, speaking both to people Mr Prescott had met as well as other passers-by, found no one positively in favour of the assembly plan. Four people - three of them Labour voters - were determined to vote against." Read in full

    October 18 2004 ~ Odd that the only place to go for a smile and a bit of optimism now is "...Moore had everyone in the audience over the age of 22 who didn't vote in the last election stand. Instead of boo-ing these so-called "slackers" (myself, sadly, included), Moore said, "let's hear it for our non-voting friends who promise to vote this year." Moore didn't make anyone promise who they were going to vote for, he just made them promise they were going to vote...."

    October 18 2004 ~ "...Repeated protests by doctors in local hospitals that the vast majority of the casualties are civilians have been dismissed as rebel propaganda. Now the town is waiting for an imminent ground and air assault, amid fears of a bloodbath. Among the dead in the al-Jabouri family were 26-year-old Atika, who was six months pregnant, her three-year-old son Omar, her husband Thamir, 28, her sister Athra and her mother. Atika’s prematurely born baby lived for a few hours after her, but they were buried in the same grave. The only member of the family to come out alive was Atika’s five-year-old daughter, Ayisha. She was asleep, hugging her grandmother, who was killed instantly. ...for the Pentagon, a whole lot of Fallujahans, including three year old Omar al-Jabouri, look a lot like Abu Musab al-Zarqawi."

    October 18 2004 ~ Guardian "...our troops are already in great danger in the "peaceful" south, where armed resistance to the occupation is intense; and "how the Americans do things" already makes life very difficult for British soldiers. .."

    October 18 2004 ~ Mr Hoon got a bruising reception today when he said Britain will "have failed in its duty as an ally" if it does not send UK soldiers to fill in behind US troops. It was suggested on Radio 4 that the "tipping point" may have been reached since Hoon was opposed today by such as Andrew McKinlay and Sir Gerald Kaufman - former supporters of the war.

    October 18 2004 ~Stocks in British Airways and EasyJet are nosediving. See peak oil news page. The price of oil has increased 68 percent this year.

    October 18 2004 ~ Gulf Daily " Thousands of anti-war campaigners took to the streets of London last night calling for an end to the "illegal occupation" of Iraq by US-led coalition troops..... The brother of Kenneth Bigley, a British hostage beheaded in Iraq earlier this month, called for people to join the march. The protest comes at the close of a three-day European Social Forum in which thousands of trade unionists, environmental and peace campaigners and politicians gathered in London for a conference to oppose war." (See European Social Forum) and also George Monbiot "...At the European Social Forum in mid-October you will find everything that the Labour Party has lost: the passion, the ideology, the freedom and the chaos..."

    October 18 2004 ~" Carne Ross, a former first secretary to Britain's UN mission between 1998 and mid-2002 in charge of Iraq issues...resigned because Downing Street "did not tell the whole truth" about the Iraqi threat... " Independent Carne Ross' boss, " Sir Jeremy Greenstock, who served the Government loyally at the United Nations before becoming Britain's senior envoy to Iraq, has said the inspectors should have been allowed to complete their work. Sir Jeremy has retired from the diplomatic service."

    October 18 2004 ~"....While in the past the Government tried to create a feelgood factor, now it ramps up the fear phenomenon. Next month's Queen's Speech will be dominated by legislation intended to prove Labour's commitment to "safety and security". Ministers warn, Cassandra-like, of ever more terrible threats. Recently, they even published a "terror advice" pamphlet telling us to stock up on baked beans in case of a chemical weapons attack.
    The Power of Nightmares: the Politics of Fear starts on Wednesday on BBC2 at 9pm Telegraph

    October 18 2004 ~ UK soldiers to move under US control. Reuters "Officials say ...Geoff Hoon will confirm the request in a "holding statement" to parliament today, but will stress he has made no decision yet....Analysts say up to 650 British troops may be moved north .....Commentators suggest the volatile towns of Iskandariya, Latifiya and Hilla as possible destinations. Opposition politicians accused Blair of preparing to put the lives of UK troops at greater risk for the sake of President George W. Bush, whose performance in Iraq is a key issue in upcoming presidential elections in November...."

    October 17 2004 ~An emailer writes of the Anti War demo "Between 20,000 police figure to 100,000 stop the war." See also and Guardian

    October 17 2004 ~Star Wars missiles designed to shoot down incoming nuclear weapons will 'inevitably' be based on British soil following a secret deal between Tony Blair and George Bush - Scotland on Sunday

    October 17 2004 ~North East Referendum Neil Herron sends this: ".....Support for the Yes perspective is plummeting in the polls as people of the North East realise that all that is being offered are empty promises and emotional arguments. Bear in mind that a hand-picked 50-50 audience will produce a 50-50 result. What is coming back from the streets is massive opposition to the proposition..."

    October 17 2004 ~ We are ashamed to say we knew nothing about the Anti-war march today which expects a 50,000 turnout. Is the UK press banned from reporting plans for Stop the War coalition announcements - or do editors choose not to? See Telegraph today and remember - as we now shall - the Stop the War coalition website.

    October 17 2004 ~"....'Right, we are going to throw the whole PR operation of the Government against you'. These are not nice people..." Greg Dyke in the IOS reveals a lot about government intimidation over the dossier story that, sadly, does not surprise us.

    October 17 2004 ~ a unique insight into the mind of a Prime Minister determined upon war...Six of Britain's leading experts on Iraq trooped into No 10 Downing Street on a Tuesday afternoon in November 2002, determined to warn Tony Blair that occupying the country would be difficult at best and catastrophic at worst. ...(they) represented a formidable body of knowledge about Iraq's politics, history and economy..... "I was staggered at Blair's apparent naivety, at his inability to engage with the complexities. For him, it seemed to be highly personal: an evil Saddam versus Blair-Bush. He didn't seem to have a perception of Iraq as a complex country." He recalled that the Prime Minister had interjected only occasionally and cryptically. At one point he had exclaimed: "But he [Saddam] is evil, isn't he?" Independent

    October 17 2004 ~ We are aghast to report that Mr Blair has given the go-ahead for UK troops to be moved under US command. On "Today" yesterday Nicholas Soames, the shadow defence secretary, said: "We need to watch the timing of all this and be careful this isn't just a kind of political gesture to reassure the Americans of Blair's support for the American elections." Readers of this website will share the sense of frustration and desperation that - in spite of all reason, all facts, all decency and all humanity, the UK under Mr Blair is sliding ever further into the morass. See Times report

    October 17 2004 ~ A senior official, Carne Ross, who was Britain’s Iraq expert at the United Nations before the war, said he has resigned in “total disillusionment” with the government’s behaviour over the conflict. See report in the Sunday Times "Westminster insiders say the real reason is that grave doubts about the legality of the war persisted at the highest levels right up to the invasion.
    "It is a major scandal," said one senior figure familiar with the details. "It has to do with the attorney-general's view, which was that the war was illegal. It's all been hushed up."...." Read in full

    October 17 2004 ~ "...In a interview with the ITV1 Jonathan Dimbleby programme, to be broadcast today, Annan said: “I cannot say the world is safer when you consider the violence around us, when you look around you and see the terrorist attacks around the world and you see what is going on in Iraq..." Sunday Herald

    October 16/17 2004 ~ US soldiers were under arrest in Iraq last night after refusing to carry out a dangerous mission for which they say they were inadequately equipped. Scotsman

    October 16/17 2004 ~ Independent letter "Sir: Charles Kennedy is the latest senior politician to describe the Iraq War as the greatest foreign policy disaster since Suez (14 October).
    The Suez campaign saw fewer than 1,000 casualties (almost none of them civilian) and merely caused embarrassment to two former colonial powers (Britain and France) who were firmly put into their place in the new world order by the USA.
    Contrast Iraq, with a minimum of 10,000 civilian casualties, instabilities is the region that will last for decades and a vastly increased risk to British citizens, both at home and abroad.
    Suez didn't come close. But the prime minister did have the decency to resign."

    October 16/17 2004 ~ "If Mr Blair could apologise for the Irish potato famine, why not now apologise to the Kurds for turning a "blind eye" to Hatra? Instead he continues to inflict similar death and destruction on Iraqi civilians..." Simon Jenkins Don't say sorry if you aren't

    October 16/17 2004 ~ "Blair under new pressure over Iraq war: did he ignore advice of officials that it was unlawful?...."secret papers, including a highly confidential memo from Mr Straw to Mr Blair, which have been seen by The Independent, show that as long ago as March 2002 members of the Cabinet had been warned that invading Iraq could be fraught with legal problems. The full extent of the doubts in Whitehall is revealed in the astonishing series of confidential documents written at the highest levels of government a year before Mr Blair agreed that Britain should join the invasion..." Independent - or read in full here

    October 16/17 2004 ~ "Our local Copeland Borough Council are advertising for Officers who will be fully qualified to run the Council when it becomes a 'Regional Assembly'. They are asking existing administrator Chiefs to re-apply for their own jobs. They need staff that can run 'Regional Assemblies..' Frustration and anger in this email.

    October 16/17 2004 ~ The residents of the heavily-populated Fallujah now face a massive US onslaught.....more than 1,000 US and Iraqi ground troops are advancing towards Fallujah after weeks of almost daily air strikes...
    As Juan Cole wrote (see below) "Collective punishment is an ugly tactic, famously practised by the Nazis in Europe to keep their conquered populations in line. It is forbidden by the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949.. Iraq page

    October 15 2004 ~ "The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved a gimmick from Florida-based Applied Digital Solutions to chip people with RFID implants - previously confined to tracking animals - thereby making it easy to access their medical records, even when they cannot, or would rather not, cooperate..." (The Register)
    I did not find credible a science fiction story about this - and here we are in 2004. Blunkett's biometrics are but a small step behind. See democracy page.

    October 15 2004 ~ A three part new TV documentary The making of the terror myth starts next Wednesday. See Guardian "...During the three years in which the "war on terror" has been waged, high-profile challenges to its assumptions have been rare.."

    October 15 2004 ~ The Ambassador in Tashkent, Craig Murray, was suspended by the Foreign Office this week. He leaked his own highly critical memo accusing officials of turning a blind eye to torture in Uzbekistan by accepting intelligence that the CIA obtained via the regime's torture chambers.

    October 15 2004 ~ "....he said of Blair that he was our first elected monarch .... and how diminished and debased our democratic system had become.... looked like balloons who had been pricked - really he (Dr David Starkey) was saying 'Why are you sitting here, spouting a load of hot air - and getting personal payment for it - when, if you're an elected politician you should be getting on with the job of making parliament and democracy work?'
    Faced with such incontrovertible honesty they were completely floored.
    Went to bed invigorated - it was such a gale of fresh air blasting into the stale and tawdry state of politics today." An email about last night's This Week.

    October 15 2004 ~ A Colorado congresswoman is seeking a congressional investigation into allegations that Iraqi war veterans near the end of their enlistments were given a choice between re-enlisting or being sent back to Iraq. AP
    British troops are to support American forces in Fallujah and Baghdad - the troops would also be under American control.

    October 15 2004 ~ "....the Attorney General owes it to himself, never mind the rest of us, to state what would have been his opinion on the legality of the war if he had been given the true facts. It may be prudent on his part to prepare a revised opinion, as now it can only be a matter of time before the legality of the war is challenged in the British or international courts. .." Robin Cook in the Guardian.
    See warmwell pages on Lord Goldsmith

    October 15 2004 ~ Poll reveals world anger at Bush. Guardian "....George Bush has squandered a wealth of sympathy around the world towards America since September 11 with public opinion in 10 leading countries - including some of its closest allies - growing more hostile to the United States while he has been in office. According to a survey, voters in eight out of the 10 countries, including Britain, want to see the Democrat challenger, John Kerry, defeat President Bush in next month's US presidential election. "

    October 15 2004 ~ " US forces launch fresh air attacks on the rebel-held Iraqi city of Falluja after the collapse of peace talks" BBC - but let us be under no illusions about what this means. "...when you bomb a city repeatedly to get at a guerrilla group hiding out there, you are implicitly punishing the civilian population for the actions of the militants. Collective punishment is an ugly tactic, famously practiced by the Nazis in Europe to keep their conquered populations in line. It is forbidden by the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949....When a five hundred pound bomb hits a building, it turns the building itself into shrapnel. Glass, stone and adobe fragments fly out, into eyes and into hearts, killing and maiming for hundreds of feet around. Iraqis are organized in clans, and are fiercely protective of their kin. Each innocent Iraqi death produced by an American bomb creates another clan feud with the U.S." Juan Cole opinion

    October 14 2004 ~ "Speeding care" ... If you thought that biometric compulsory ID cards were sinister in the massive grasp of present or future governments, here is the US Food and Drug Administration today, approving an implantable computer chip that can "pass a patient's medical details to doctors, speeding care"

    October 14 2004 ~ Mr Blunkett has not thought it necessary to wait for the response to the "consultation" on ID cards nor get an actual bill passed. The ad for the ID Head of Spin has already gone out. (Closing date tomorrow, actually.) Of Mark Oaten's plaintive cry of foul play, the Register's John Lettice comments, "it's nice to see MPs starting to notice that the Home Office regards them as a tiresome formality"

    October 14 2004 ~ We're living in a land of honeyed words from all sides. Channel 4 news update says that former pensions minister, honourable John Denham, says that no parties are now being honest about the terrible pensions truth.

    October 14 2004 ~ "For those of us who care about the way this country is run, and have a duty to hold the government to account, it's necessary to keep pursuing the truth .." Charles Kennedy

    October 14 2004 ~ "...Scarlett should go - perhaps being kicked upstairs to the House of Lords, in time-dishonoured fashion, as Lord Scarlett of Epsom-cum-Dossier, there to give us the benefit of his wisdom at 45 minutes' notice." Today's article in the Guardian about this "whole tawdry affair" by Timothy Garton Ash.
    See also warmwell pages on John Scarlett
    "It turns out the buck does not stop with Blair or John Scarlett or Richard Dearlove or anybody. In government, it seems, there is no buck. .." (Jonathan Freedland in July)

    October 14 2004 ~ A senior figure on the Butler inquiry into the intelligence failings over Iraq told The Independent that Lord Goldsmith "should consider his position" after the withdrawal of the intelligence claims that Saddam could ready weapons of mass destruction in 45 minutes..." Lord Goldsmith had been reassured by the Prime Minister, but MPs last night said those grounds had been blown apart by the withdrawal of the 45-minute claim. It was also disclosed yesterday that two senior Foreign Office legal advisers, in addition to its deputy legal adviser, Elizabeth Wilmshurst, went to Lord Goldsmith warning him of their fears that the war would be illegal, and subsequently resigned from the civil service.."

    October 14 2004 ~ Mr Blair still refuses to answer, apologise for, or even it seems to understand, the real criticism - the misuse of false intelligence. Yesterday in Parliament he was still angrily defending the war because without the invasion "Saddam Hussein and his sons would still be running Iraq..." It was left to a nervous sounding Bob Waring (Liverpool Lab ) to ask" does the Prime Minister explain his statement to this House on 25 February 2003, in which he said:

    Hansard The Prime Minister spluttered that his position was consistent.
    See also Independent.

    October 14 2004 ~ "a patriot must always be ready to defend his country against his government" Read Seymour Hersh, Warmwell Iraq page

    October 14 2004 ~ Part of an email from "a member of the public who is extremely concerned by the behaviour of the Prime Minister.....To be told by a laughing Labour party official in an extremely mocking tone on the telephone that Blair has been cleared by four separate independent Inquiries is a lie in itself, and has made me extremely angry. I feel so strongly that something has to be done, even though it will rock the boat in the Westminster village. The electorate deserve some honesty, and if impeachment is the only way, then so be it..."

    October 13/14 2004 ~ Being PM means never being able to say you're sorry....Channel 4 news update " ....Mr Blair did say he 'apologised' for relaying duff information (whilst key purveyors of it go on to be decorated and promoted in the "intelligence" services). But somehow the 's' word eludes him - just when the rest of the cabinet are spraying it around with utter abandon on the duff-intelligence issue. Is he being advised to do this? Does being PM mean never being able to say you're sorry?" (PM: I did not mislead on Iraq Blair apologises for wrong evidence but refuses to accept he had acted dishonestly or that war in Iraq was wrong.)

    October 13/14 2004 ~ Fishy business on a little dishy...three Government Ministers breaching the referendum's purdah period to make the Yes boat come in ... North East Referendum.
    Neil Herron: ".. We were also told that if we, as a permitted participant, breached any of the rules, you would come down on us, "like a tonne of bricks (whether metric or imperial wasn't specified but we got the message). Gordon Brown :"I believe that a `yes' vote in this referendum would be good for the people and the businesses in the North-East - moving us forward from an old Britain weakened by centuries of centralisation towards a new Britain strengthened by local centres of initiative, energy and dynamism."....." .....

    October 12 2004 ~NE Referendum - " a forced referendum by easily corruptible postal ballot on a non-issue which leaves ordinary people cold (unless they're whipped up into knee-jerk them-and-us regional "patriotism" or anti-Toryism by people who play on their emotions)What on earth has all this got to do with "democracy" ?" Gill writes about the second burglary at the NO headquarters See also democracy page

    October 12 2004 ~ "... because the giant US oil corporations are seen as the very embodiment of US power, anything to do with oil - pipelines, wells, refineries, loading platforms - is seen by insurgents as a legitimate and attractive target for attack ....(President) Carter's principle of using force to protect the flow of oil was later cited by president George H W Bush to justify US intervention in the Gulf War of 1990-91, and it provided the underlying strategic rationale for America's recent invasion of Iraq..." Read The oil that drives the US military Michael T Klare in the Asia Times

    October 12 2004 ~ Massive amounts of equipment and even buildings relating to Saddam's nuclear . have gone missing. Guardian

    October 12 2004 ~ Oil now $54...see peak oil news page

    October 12 2004 ~Surge in greenhouse gases "...A background fear is that extra human emissions, by cars, factories and power plants, may be blunting the planet's ability to absorb CO2. In the worst case, that could lead to a runaway warming.." .IOL

    October 12 2004 ~ "...Now that we know that Labour's infamous September dossier was full of careless holes and conscious omissions, shouldn't Andrew Gilligan and Greg Dyke be reinstated at the BBC, for it is now clear that the dossier was, as Andrew Gilligan first implied, "sexed up"..." From one of the stream of letters in the Independent that show the population is not at all prepared to move on just yet.

    October 12 2004 ~ Mr Blair ducks parliamentary questions asking about the lack of "substantive mention of GCHQ" in the Butler Report, whether signals intelligence relevant to the Iraq crisis was received and why such intelligence was not included in the report. Another PQ, asking if he will "instruct the Attorney-General to evaluate Kofi Annan's statement about Iraq" was similarly shrugged off. A very angry emailer sends this extract from Hansard, adding "Blair just makes a mockery of the PQ procedure"

    October 12 2004 ~ An impecunious maths expert has a brief word to say the impending UK pensions crisis...

    October 12 2004 ~ "Our betrayals and broken promises have created a kind of irreversible disease that cannot be forgiven... journalists can scarcely travel in Iraq any more, there is no longer any independent witness to this awful war. What is going on in Ramadi and Hilla and all the other cities where US forces carry out their brutal raids?" Read Robert Fisk. Iraq page

    October 12 2004 ~ A new IT system for the NHS (its £90million pound new email system crashed yesterday) will cost up to £31 billion pounds - three to five times the declared figure - in order for example that "..patients should also be able to book appointments and operations using an electronic booking system" (BBC) Is no journalist going to make the obvious remark about this? At least the fiasco of spiralling costs will be examined by the Public Accounts Committee. It all reminds us of what the Guardian's Paul Lashmar (September 25, 2004) calls "... the delicate balance between the freedom of the individual and intrusion into our daily lives by the state.." an article that should be read in full - although it unwisely assumes that government t IT systems actually work. See also democracy page

    October 11 2004 ~ Channel 4 news update: "Tony Blair thinks Britain is still keen for grandiose visions. In a speech today he attacked the "minimalist" policies of the Tories, saying people in this country expect better. He now wants to move from a welfare state to an "opportunity society", whatever that means. He will not rest, he claims, until Britain is a land of opportunity for all. All very well, except he didn't say anything about what that actually involves, what it means for policy or what it will cost the taxpayer..."

    October 11 2004 ~ "Mr. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney may well be the last two people on the planet who won't face the truth about Iraq." Quotation from Mr Kerry. See New York Times on the redefining of "Pre-emption".

    October 11 2004 ~ "A dilemma lies at the heart of U.S. attempts to tame the Middle East—the more it intervenes, the more it antagonizes the people of the region. Then, faced with widespread opposition to its policies—in some cases full-scale rebellion—the U.S., along with Israel and the hated Arab regimes, cracks down, citing a threat to its security or to its national interests as the reason. This, in turn, provokes yet more hostility and the vicious cycle continues..." Useful history lesson from Oil and Empire in the Middle East

    October 10/11 2004 ~ We are simply staggered by the news that Mr Blair intends to reward with Honours the already knighted Sir David Omand the Cabinet Office permanent secretary, and others involved in intelligence for dossiers. Has he forgotten one apology that actually was made? Are we expected to forget the tragic fallout from that fiasco? The death of Dr Kelly? Remember how John Morrison was sacked, and how Air Marshall Sir John Walker referred to "... the whole dossier effect, the politicisation of the JIC, the decapitation of the BBC and the way this whole matter has been handled.."? You cannot fool all of the people all of the time.

    October 10/11 2004 ~ Rumsfeld's optimism silenced by bombing. Independent "Bombs in Baghdad killed 18 people as the US Defence Secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, declared during a visit to Iraq that America was winning the war against insurgency.."

    October 10 2004 ~ "Tony Blair offered to stand down as Prime Minister before the next election if Gordon Brown agreed to abandon the pound for the euro, according to extracts from Clare Short's diary..." Telegraph An Honourable Deception?: New Labour, Iraq, and the Misuse of Power, to be published on November 1 by Free Press. (Clare Short herself famously accused Blair of perpetrating an “honourable deception” in presenting the case for war.)

    October 10 2004 ~ Comment in the Independent on Sunday: Scott Ritter and Hans Blix - compare "if you had seen what I have seen..." (New window)

    October 10 2004 ~ "Every time I hear the President speak, I get an anxiety attack that’s a lot more complicated than merely disagreeing with him. I become desperate for oxygen. ... What GOP heavies do at street level — keep anyone who might harbor unscripted thoughts out of the arenas and assembly halls where their leader is scheduled to talk — White House speechwriters do with far more efficiency at podium level. .... terrorism begins with murdered language. What’s intolerable about listening to Bush is the airtightness of the lie he constructs out of the shredded language of human hope." An eloquent opinion column from the New Hampshire Sunday News

    October 10 2004 ~ Blix accuses Blair as Labour MPs turn up heat over WMD Independent on Sunday See Iraq page

    October 10 2004 ~ Booker's Notebook "....he wrote about his plight to his MP; to ministers such as the Environment Secretary, Margaret Beckett, and the ministry's spokesman in the Lords, Lord Whitty; to the shadow agriculture spokesman, Tim Yeo; and to several others.
    Most did not reply...."
    ( a common problem in one's dealings with public servants.) Archive August 2004 - October