|Freedom In Fourteen Rose|
''As you know, Nu£abour, Bankers, News International and the Westminster Coalition have turned Britain into a neocon shitpit. Do you want to leave?'' Yes/No (Delete as preferred).
Prior to the fall of Saddam Husain, Iran had to contend with decades of hostile, expansionist pan-Arabist ideology, espoused by Sunni-dominated Iraq. Both the monarchical and revolutionary Iran had to grapple with a hostile Arab neighbor to the west. While the pro-American Shah of Iran was bent on reining in the intransigence of Soviet-backed Baghdad – a state which engaged in territorial disputes and sponsored separatist movements within Southern Iran – a nascent post-revolutionary Iran greatly suffered as a result of the 1980 Iraqi invasion. From here.
When embassy personnel move throughout the country, small helicopters buzz over the convoys to provide support in case of an attack. Often, two contractors armed with machine guns are tethered to the outside of the helicopters. The State Department began operating some drones in Iraq last year on a trial basis, and stepped up their use after the last American troops left Iraq in December, taking the military drones with them. More.
Posted by TONY on 30.1.12
… “Movements like Occupy Wall Street are just the beginning of the end of the imperialism of America and its Western allies,” he [Rehman] said.
“We are being forced to become extremists. When you and your religion are humiliated in Guantanamo Bay detention centre and your children are being crushed under tanks, then what the victims will ultimately do? They’ll counter your extremism with extremism.” Link.
Posted by TONY on 30.1.12
A Senate committee even tried to prevent it being debated, leading the leaders of both parties’ Senate groups to hack a deal to persuade dissidents in their own ranks to abstain.
When it came to the vote only 57 out 132 UMP senators and 56 out of 130 Socialists backed it. Nine Socialists and 19 UMP members went so far as to vote against.
The Communists and their allies and the centrists were also split, although they officially supported the bill.
A number of senators either abstained or refused to take part in the vote.
Only the Greens and a cross-party group called the Rassemblement démocratique et social européen managed to maintain unity. They all voted against. From here.
Billions of dollars in spending are not reported to Iraq under the current system, the report says.
In a response letter, Peter Bodde, assistant chief of mission for the U.S. Embassy in Iraq, says that while the current system is incomplete, "it does capture the vast majority of reconstruction projects and there is no other alternative that captures more." LINK.
"The cost of foreign products, whose value is linked to the dollar, has risen by 20 and 50 percent in recent months," says Ali, who runs a grocery in north Tehran.
"On the other hand, the government closely controls the price of products made in Iran," which represent 90 percent of consumed products. "Dairy products for example have not risen by more than five to 10 percent."
But with inflation officially now pegged at around 21 percent, the real cost of numerous consumer goods is significantly higher, aggravated by the weaker rial.
Iran's long overvalued currency, which the central bank allowed to weaken in recent months to shore up its foreign currency reserves, has almost halved in value over the past year.
The rial tumbled in black market trading to a new record low against the dollar, news agencies said earlier this week, with the unofficial rate in central Tehran at around 20,500 for one greenback.
All imports, notably electronic equipment such as computers, mobile phones, televisions and fridges, have shot up in price by more than 50 percent. More here.
I was alongside a rebel battalion photographing for The Sunday Times as they pushed headlong into Sirte, the last pro-Gaddafi stronghold in the country. It was a nasty day, Gaddafi's forces amassed and stopped the rebel advance dead in its tracks, killing 24 and wounding over 70 by the time it got dark.
But the noises, the hellish cacophony, the crashes of the RPGs and the complete chaos - all of it had been eerily similar to that hour-long session of digitised warfare on my computer.' Link.
Statistics as at December, 2011.
|Political Map of Scotland December, 2011|
Then there is Gordon Brown, who keeps his silence at home in Fife. "He's lost confidence," I was told by one of his former aides. "He keeps asking himself - 'What was that all about?' He can't quite believe what has happened to him and to Labour." (not quite the) Full story.
Indigenous Australians regard Australia Day celebrations on January 26 – which marks the arrival of the First Fleet from Britain in 1788 – as "invasion day". Relations between the Aboriginal community and Canberra's politicians have often been strained as governments failed to overcome high rates of indigenous crime, poverty and poor health. More.
François Hollande prévoit le retour à l’équilibre budgétaire en 2017 et entend réduire la dette publique à 80,2% du PIB à cette date contre 88,7% en 2012. Il a construit son projet sur une hypothèse de croissance à 2 à 2,5% à partir de 2015.
Quatre jours après son premier grand discours de campagne, dimanche au Bourget, le candidat socialiste tient ce jeudi une conférence de presse matinale à la Maison des Métallos, à Paris.Il sera le soir l’invité principal de l’émission de France 2 'Des paroles et des actes', où il débattra avec le ministre des Affaires étrangères, Alain Juppé.
“This is an assault on the blood of Iraqis,” lamented Khalid Salman, a Haditha councillor and lawyer for the victims.
“That is only a punishment for... small crimes. But killing 24 innocent people, and only receiving a punishment of three months? This is an assault on humanity.” More here.
Posted by TONY on 24.1.12
|One of the Haditha victims is carried away from the massacre scene|
House 1—7 killed, 2 injured (but survived), 2 escaped
1. Abdul Hamid Hassan Ali, 76—grandfather, father and husband. Died with nine rounds in the chest and abdomen.
2. Khamisa Tuma Ali, 66—wife of Abdul Hamid Hassan Ali
3. Rashid Abdul Hamid, 30.
4. Walid Abdul Hamid Hassan, 35.
5. Jahid Abdul Hamid Hassan, middle-aged man.
6. Asma Salman Rasif, 32.
7. Abdullah Walid, 4.
Injured: Iman, 8, and Abdul Rahman, 5.
Escaped: Daughter-in-law, Hiba, escaped with 2-month-old Asia
House 2—8 killed, 1 survivor: Shot at close range and attacked with grenades
8. Younis Salim Khafif, 43—husband of Aida Yasin Ahmed, father.
9. Aida Yasin Ahmed, 41—wife of Younis Salim Khafif, killed trying to shield her youngest daughter Aisha.
10. Muhammad Younis Salim, 8—son.
11. Noor Younis Salim, 14—daughter.
12. Sabaa Younis Salim, 10—daughter.
13. Zainab Younis Salim, 5—daughter.
14. Aisha Younis Salim, 3—daughter.
15. A 1-year-old girl staying with the family.
Survived: Safa Younis Salim, 13.
House 3—4 brothers killed
16. Jamal Ahmed, 41.
17. Marwan Ahmed, 28.
18. Qahtan Ahmed, 24.
19. Chasib Ahmed, 27.
Taxi—5 killed: Passengers were students at the Technical Institute in Saqlawiyah
20. Ahmed Khidher, taxi driver.
21. Akram Hamid Flayeh.
22. Khalid Ayada al-Zawi.
23. Wajdi Ayada al-Zawi.
24. Mohammed Battal Mahmoud.
Posted by TONY on 24.1.12
A Marine accused of killing unarmed Iraqi women and children pleaded guilty to dereliction of duty on Monday, reaching a plea deal and ending the largest and longest-running criminal case against U.S. troops to emerge from the Iraq War.
Staff Sgt. Frank Wuterich, of Meriden, Conn., led the Marine squad in 2005 that killed 24 Iraqis in the town of Haditha.
Wuterich's former squad members testified that they did not take any gunfire during the 45-minute raid on the homes nor find any weapons, but several squad members testified that they do not believe they did anything wrong, fearing insurgents were inside hiding. The prosecution was further hurt by the testimony of Wuterich's former platoon commander who said the squad was justified in its actions because house was declared "hostile," and from what he understood of the rules of combat at the time that meant any use of force could be used and Marines did not need to positively identify their targets.
Wuterich has said he regretted the loss of civilian lives but believed he was operating within military combat rules.
After Haditha, Marines commanders ordered troops to try and distinguish between civilians and combatants.
The killings in Haditha on Nov. 19, 2005, still fuel anger in Iraq and was the primary reason behind demands that U.S. troops not be given immunity from their court system. It is considered among the war's defining moments, further tainting America's reputation when it was already at a low point after the release of photos of prisoner abuse by U.S. soldiers at Abu Ghraib prison.
The trial was delayed for years by pre-trial wrangling between the defense and prosecution, including over whether the military could use unaired outtakes from an interview Wuterich gave in 2007 to CBS "60 Minutes." Prosecutors eventually won the right to view the footage
Six squad members have had charges dropped or dismissed, including some in exchange for testifying at the trial. One was acquitted.
Between 500 and 700 Palestinian children are arrested by Israeli soldiers each year, mostly accused of throwing stones. Since 2008, Defence for Children International (DCI) has collected sworn testimonies from 426 minors detained in Israel's military justice system.
Their statements show a pattern of night-time arrests, hands bound with plastic ties, blindfolding, physical and verbal abuse, and threats. About 9% of all those giving affidavits say they were kept in solitary confinement, although there has been a marked increase to 22% in the past six months. More here.
Firstly, nobody in the EU has ever left the EU voluntarily, let alone been expelled, and the idea that 5 million EU citizens in a stongly pro-EU country would be thrown out against their will is not in the realm of practical politics. The whole dynamic of the EU is expansive, with countries continually accepted into membership who technically should not be. Everybody knows, for example, that Romania and Bulgaria were not remotely close to compliance with the acquis communitaire when they were admitted. There is no appetite anywhere in the EU to argue that an EU member successor state would have to re-apply.
Secondly, Scots are much liked internationally. There is a strong popular understanding throughout Europe of Scottish desire for independence – bagpipes, Braveheart and a separate football team are an intrinsic part of this strong Scottish popular recognition. There are no votes in Europe in being beastly to the Scots, and that includes Spain. The Spanish government are not stupid. It would be very unpopular in Spain to act against the Scots, and would infuriate the Catalans and actually boost the independence movement there. Tactically, there are times when it is best to pretrend to be relaxed about self-determination, as Cameron is doing.
Thirdly, there is a real difference here with the Kossovans. Spain does not oppose Slovenia, Croatia or other parts of the former Yugoslavia from EU membership. It did not oppose the Czech Republic or Slovakia. Spain does not automatically argue against EU membership for splitting states – that is a lie spread by English unionists. Unlike Kossovo, the Scottish state is not inextricably linkes with organised crime, and is not outside the EU.
Finally, as an example of Unionist lies and tricks, read the Independent article very carefully. You will see that the anaonymous “source” of the claim that Spain will veto Scottish EU membership is not anything to do with the Spanish government, but a Whitehall official.
The actual headline of the article should be:
Whitehall Official Lies that Spain Would Veto Scottish EU Membership”.
Hussein Talib, a member of parliament from the Sadrist bloc, said they would oppose Asaib's inclusion in the political process.
"We will not allow their participation; it threatens Iraq's unity," he said.
Muqtada al-Sadr issued a statement accusing Asaib of being "killers with no religion - all they care about is position." From Here.
One, By Hugh Macdiarmid, from here in Scotland, the other, like all Edith Sitwell's poetry, applies to the wider world (maybe the universe). I hope Macdiarmid's poem doesn't come true for us in 2014.
The Little White Rose - Hugh Macdiarmid
The rose of all the world is not for me.
Excerpt From Sleeping Beauty - Edith Sitwell
Posted by TONY on 18.1.12
“Friends have relayed moments when Rob would try to share his haunting memories from the war, but even the memories were overwhelming and difficult to express.”
Long, 26, was shot while threatening officers with a rifle. Full story.
Posted by TONY on 18.1.12
SCOTLAND was last night fleeing in terror after a surprise attack from the first battalion of Her Majesty's Daily Telegraph.
The newspaper launched an all-out assault on the tiny northern country with repeated salvos of debt-ridden commentary and a devastating air strike about the Euro or something. Communities across Scotland dived into Telegraph shelters, huddling together as the newspaper's air force bombarded them with made-up facts about oil revenues and why Alex Salmond wants to pelt the Duchess of Cambridge with 'neeps'. Bill McKay, a rebel from Carnoustie, said: "Ah hud a squatch at the Telegraph websitey aroon ten o' the clack.
"Within meenits the sirens were blairin' like a hoolie.
"Even inside the shelter ah could hear the terrifyin' soond o' some fat, baldin' English journalist sayin', 'you'll be exactly the same as Zimbabwe!'.
"Ah don't mind tellin' ye, ah fair shat mahsel."
Meanwhile, as at least seven heavily kilted weirdos launched a counter-attack near a 'burn', Captain Peter Oborne of the Queen's Light Telegraph shouted 'Princess Anne!' before collapsing into a hedge and urinating involuntarily.
Under the Geneva Convention any Scottish person that captures him will have to call him a taxi.
|Søvndal Compliments Clinton On Looking So Well|
Foreign Minister Villy Søvndal said that the closing of the Baghdad embassy is part of a 'change in priorities' i.e they are broke.
“A modern Foreign Services must ensure that Denmark has the right presence to ensure proper safeguarding of Denmark’s global interests,” Søvndal said.
He also added that the embassy closings were also in part due to the savings efforts the Foreign Ministry has been forced to undertake. It is a testimony to the dire economic straits of the US that they can't even subsidise one or two Danish Embassies as a reward for years of sycophancy.
“Self-interest saw thee stand in freedom’s ways
So thy old shadow must a tyrant be.
Thou’st heard the knave, abusing those in power,
Bawl freedom loud and then oppress the free.”
The landlord was exercising his freedom to cut the tree down. In doing so, he was intruding upon Clare’s freedom to delight in the tree, whose existence enhanced his life. The landlord justifies this destruction by characterising the tree as an impediment to freedom: his freedom, which he conflates with the general liberty of humankind. Without the involvement of the state (which today might take the form of a tree preservation order) the powerful man could trample the pleasures of the powerless man. Clare then compares the felling of the tree with further intrusions on his liberty.
He said he could not recall how many gunshots he had heard. Dela Cruz also said that when he looked back in the direction of the car he did not see any of the men anymore.
“I run through there and crouched on the side of the vehicle. I saw four to five Iraqis dead near the trunk area of the car,” he said.
“I saw Sergeant Wuterich approach the bodies, he shot at them,” said Dela Cruz, adding that Wuterich went around to each corpse and shot it in the upper body from close range. More here.
The prime minister, David Cameron, warned Iran during a visit to Saudi Arabia on Friday that the world would "come together" to ensure the straits remained open. Link
The madness of war goes back to the Crimea and long, long before. A great poem by ALT, meant to reflect glorious warfare but only succeeding, despite it's majestic rhythms, in spotlighting the waste and futility. I wonder how many of their families even found out what happened to them.
Cracknell then contacted the Guardian, describing himself as "an adviser" to the government of Bahrain and saying that it had asked him to request a right of reply.
Cracknell offered an article presenting "the counterview" of Bahrain. But the "counterview" he proposed would not come from some Bahraini spokesperson; it would come from Sir Harold "Hooky" Walker, a former British ambassador. This unwittingly reaffirmed the point made in the original article – that relations between Britain and the Bahrain regime are too close for comfort. More here.