Monday, December 19, 2005

 

A Carol Service is planned


Harold Bloom wrote in the Guardian on Saturday



And here we are in the week before Christmas 2005.

Ox and Ass looking benignly down onto a baby in a manger. The smell of fir needles, mandarine oranges and baking mince pies... Forgotten Magic.

Nowadays, like Scrooge, one would much rather not be reminded ("Are there no prisons? Are there no workhouses?") of the global malaise and grief elsewhere. For the survivors of earthquake-torn Pakistan and Kashmir snow is not a winter wonderland. The people whose communities were torn apart by the tsunami do not inhabit a beach paradise, and on the streets of Hong Kong people trying to do something, anything, to stem the globalised juggernaut of the Haves against the Have-Nots have been "held back" by Chinese police. Chinese police only last week, to make way for a power station, but away from the world's cameras, fired on and killed at least 70 peaceful farmers in Shanwei.

As for the charitable urge that swept through so many last Boxing Day - we hear that much of the money that has not simply disappeared has gone to build luxury hotels in glitzy new resorts that will have no place for the people whose lives were destroyed by the filthy giant waves.

Meanwhile, the Leader of the Free World, the president of Land of the Free, who allows torture, spies on his own people and even makes checks on people's library books, says in a televised address, that the war in Iraq is still being won and asks the people "not to give in to despair". And in England, if you stand within the area desgnated by the Mother of Parliaments and recite the names of the British dead in Iraq you are arrested and charged under Section 132 of the Serious and Organised Crimes and Police Act 2005 for committing such a serious and organised crime.

It does rather turn the taste of mince pies into ashes, the wrapping paper into sackcloth. But having the blessed and the cursed human ability to turn away from the unbearable, the possibility of a Happy Christmas remains.

A Carol Service is planned for 6pm on Wednesday the 21st of December 2005 in Parliament Square. It will contain both Christian and secular verse, and is expected to last no more than an hour. People are asked not to bring placards, banners or circulars to this event. Candles and song sheets will be made available, with donations going to Medical Aid for Iraqi Children. The details can be found at
bloggerheads.com
Anyone who attends will know they are in danger of being arrested. The police have been invited - but not "notified". So while singing policemen would be a festive addition - the police are as likely to be singing as red-nosed reindeer are to be flying over the Houses of Parliament.

God bless us every one.

Monday, November 28, 2005

 

a mess of memos, a wealth of whistle-blowers

28/29th November 2005 ~ David Keogh and Leo O'Connor will appear before Bow Street magistrates on Tuesday.

They are charged with leaking the secret 5-page FCO government memo. Iraq in the Medium Term - (which has been on warmwell via the Sunday Times since May 23 2004)

Like the excellent Blairwatch, we are confused as to why the names of Mr Keogh and Mr O'Connor have been linked (in this BBC report, for example) to the 5-page Downing St "Al Jazeera" memo about which the Attorney General has issued his threat of the OSA - in which it appears that George Bush, during a face-to-face meeting with Mr Blair at the White House on April 16 2004,talked about bombing al-Jazeera's building in Doha.

Blairwatch says that the Mirror

But the threat of prosecution under the OSA is surely not based on the May 23 memo - for which there are at least 25 Google link pages (including that of warmwell).

Blairwatch asks,


We wait and may see - can Keogh and O'Connor really be thought to have threatened "the country's security or to its international relations" by blowing the whistle on the FCO document?

Michel Berlins in the Guardian has

28th November 2005 ~Attorney General. "Me, of all people, gag the press? Heaven forfend." Michel Berlins in the Guardian

True, but only (Lord Goldsmith omitted to say) if the prosecution can prove that what was disclosed was damaging (I summarise) to the country's security or to its international relations and - an important "and" - that the newspaper knew (or had cause to believe) that it was damaging."



28th November 2005 ~ Sir Ian Blair is to be investigated by the police complaints commission over his role in the immediate aftermath of the killing of Mr de Menezes. See Reuters


Sunday, November 27, 2005

 

The notion that you can make the world a better place by making it illegal to say nasty and dangerous things has the intellectual sloppiness....

....the headline-seeking shallowness, the philosophical carelessness and the creepy mix of the sinister with the sanctimonious, that marks it out as absolutely characteristic of our Prime Minister’s mind..." wrote Matthew Parris in The Times on September 17th.

Now we have the extraordinary spectacle of Peter Goldsmith, the Attorney General, (or Witchfinder General, brandishing the Official Secrets Act) threatening all and sundry that if they publish the leaked Foreign Office memo, already referred to by the Mirror, they will be damned.

Simon Jenkins is not impressed.

27th November 2005 ~ "The Official Secrets Act is a reasonable tool of internal Whitehall discipline. But it cannot be an appropriate punishment for members of the public or reporters, once a secret is out. ..." Simon Jenkins in the Sunday Times

(and see Lord Goldsmith pages at warmwell.com)

"I'll go to jail to print the truth about Bush and al-Jazeera" says Boris Johnson Blairwatch asks "Would any other bloggers like to join us in this pledge? Please let us know by comment or trackback or email if you're with us." (We are.)
Peter Kifoyle's EDMs are EDM 1084 and EDM1117


Is your MP among Friday evening's list of those supporting Douglas Hogg's Early Day Motion?

( EDM 1088 : CONDUCT OF GOVERNMENT POLICY IN RELATION TO THE WAR AGAINST IRAQ Hogg, Douglas

Simpson, Alan

Campbell, Menzies

Llwyd, Elfyn

Salmond, Alex

Clarke, Kenneth

Price, Adam

Shepherd, Richard

Short, Clare

Holmes, Paul

Hopkins, Kelvin

Jackson, Glenda

Jones, Lynne

Marshall-Andrews, Robert

McDonnell, John

Mitchell, Austin

Browning, Angela

Corbyn, Jeremy

Cryer, Ann

Evans, Nigel

George, Andrew

Gibson, Ian

Austin, John

Bottomley, Peter

Wallace, Ben

Wareing, Robert N

Weir, Mike

Whittingdale, John

Williams, Hywel

Wishart, Pete

Jackson, Stewart

Pugh, John

Smith, Robert

Harvey, Nick

Keetch, Paul

Lilley, Peter

Moore, Michael

Brake, Tom

Hancock, Mike

Tapsell, Peter

Browne, Jeremy

Harper, Mark

Hosie, Stewart

Howarth, David

MacNeil, Angus
If not, and you wonder why not, trying faxing your MP online (new window). It is simple.



Many of al-Jazeera's employees have long been privately convinced that their offices in Kabul and Baghdad were deliberately targeted by the Pentagon in 2001 and 2003.

Gagging the press "It is time for the media and lawyers to view the current gag in light of Gun's case. It is time for an editor to challenge the political process and force the issue to be put before a politically unbiased court of law.


To the extent that the attorney general may choose to threaten the UK press, the press should robustly rebut such threat with reference to the European convention on human rights. Under Article 10 of the convention the freedom to receive and impart information can only be constrained if it is prescribed by law and necessary in a democratic society..." Guardian



On the 24th November 2005 ~Radio 4's Today interviewed Ambassador Joseph Wilson
(Mr Blair )"... will have to explain exactly how that happened but certainly, as an outsider, it looks like he was double crossed and had no choice but to go along with it." (written extracts from the Today Interview with Ambassador Wilson : warmwell transcript)



Plame Scandal On the Today Programme Ambassador Joseph Wilson spoke to James Naughtie (extracts: warmwell transcript)
BBC: "The husband of the CIA agent whose identity was revealed by the White House, says that Tony Blair was double crossed by those in the Bush administration who wanted to go to war with Iraq regardless of the situation on weapons of mass destruction." Listen Again And the interview with Mr Wilson himself: Listen Again
See also Valerie Plame pages and the Niger pages on warmwell.

(written extracts from the Today Interview with Ambassador Wilson.)

24th November 2005 ~Sending a signal to others?. Richard Norton-Taylor and Michael White in the Guardian - Secrecy gag prompted by fear of new Blair-Bush revelations today talk of , "this week's unprecedented threat by the attorney general to use the Official Secrets Act against national newspapers."

(What one finds odd about this "unprecedented threat" by Lord Goldsmith in gagging details of a conversation that happened 18 months ago, is that if a transcript were published openly it could justify those criticised by Sir Christopher Meyer. Sir Christopher's criticism that Britain never complains to Washington over what happens in Iraq caused an uproar. Why not refute it? Is there something more in the memo that could cause even more dismay if it came to light? )

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

 

Passing the Buck...

Alternet.org has a page called
Eight Big Lies About Katrina



The history of Katrina and the drowning of New Orleans is already being rewritten. The UK foot and mouth disaster, while it resulted in unnecessary and distressing slaughter, did not cause the loss of human life - except the suicides (and the number 60 has been quoted) of those who were in despair - but there are similarities.

When the authorities chose not to heed warnings, to disregard and criticise local expertise, and subsequently threw their weight about with arrogance, cruelty, ignorance and complacency, the cover-up that followed was almost wholly successful - to the extent that in April 2004, the Government voted to congratulate itself on "eradicating a major outbreak of Foot and Mouth Disease in seven months and on implementing the recommendations of the Lessons Learned and Royal Society Inquiries so that Government is better prepared to tackle a future outbreak of a major livestock disease"
.. Words fail.

This is not a frivolous analogy. A government that puts central power and its own importance before proper, ethical, informed and common sense planning is a disgrace to the name of democracy. One that takes an unwilling country into a miserably futile and filthy war, in spite of the many informed voices of warning, is criminally wrong. Faced with a catastrophe, it then tries to shift the blame away and stridently to proclaim its "triumph" - safe in the knowledge that there is no viable opposition left to hustle it into a straitjacket and consign it, as it deserves, to the padded cells.


Saturday, September 03, 2005

 

Another attempt to silence John Humphrys?

A disgraceful article appeared in the Times on Saturday with the headline Radio's king of rude launches another salvo at Labour 'liars'. "King of Rude" is nonsense and the whole article, written by Tom Baldwin and Andrew Pierce, is a crude smear. And who "leaked" the video of a speech, not intended for public ears, to the Times? Why is that nauseating article written in such tones of outrage? Who is the "source close to the BBC Governors"? One also close to Qinetic perhaps. The article concludes,

Or more? The various members of government whom he challenges so well would evidently like to see John Humphrys replaced. They are hardly likely to embrace his view that: Yes. The Today Programme provides the Opposition missing elsewhere and often brings a smile of relief to those of us sickened by high handed arrogance and ignorance. Who can forget Mr Blair's incoherent attempts at justification last September?

The BBC says that Michael Grade has "ordered an investigation" and a transcript. What nonsense it all is. Thank all the gods for the grasp and grit of John Humphrys. He may be arrogant and outspoken - but we need him desperately.

Of course the sycophants and the dark cabal want him silenced.. He is the voice gently and humorously reminding us that the Emperor has no clothes on.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

 

London police maintain "shoot-to-kill" policy

Reuters "London's police force has reviewed its controversial "shoot-to-kill" policy and left it largely unchanged despite the killing of a Brazilian mistaken for a would-be suicide bomber, Scotland Yard said on Saturday..."

Oh Great.

"Largely unchanged" presumably means that Sir Ian Blair can go on making lying statements to compliant journalists, "Gold Command" can go on giving the order to shoot to kill random passers-by who have not been identified as even "alleged" terrorists (but who may, perhaps have wrong looking eyes), no warning will be given, people may be held around the arms and torso by one plain clothes officer while another shoots them in the head at point blank range... and all this, to make us feel "safer".

Where, oh where, is the democratic opposition to this utterly unbelievable, frightening nonsense?

In his article for Dissident Voice, Mike Whitney writes, " It always astonishes how quickly the demagogues in Washington and London swing into action when there’s a chance to hack away at personal freedom. They seem to operate on the theory that people will only be safe when the country assumes the same standards of justice as, let’s say, Egypt or Saudi Arabia."

He quotes the Prime Minister of Great Britain on the subject of "terrorism"

I don't much like Mike Whitney's overblown rhetoric about Tony Blair. Yet, as day follows day I am myself more and more aware frustrated by the limitations of language when faced with the actions of these hollow men. He calls him
I too am despairing of seeing anything more than self-serving, high-handed vanity and callousness in the actions of the authoritarians we have allowed to rule our lives. The half-way decent ones such as Mo Mowlam and Robin Cook have gone, leaving behind precious few in whom we can have any trust. Reid? Clarke? Byers? Mandelson? Blunkett? Beckett? Blears? Howard and his ilk? Mere partners in a danse macarbre, choreographed elsewhere.

John Pilger writes in similar vein to Mike Whitney, describing a particularly nasty raid on the Iqra Learning Centre and book store near Leeds. The Iqra Trust is a well-known charity that promotes Islam worldwide as "a peaceful religion which covers every walk of life." Pilger, in his New Statesman article, says:

The raid took place on July 15th in LEEDS - a place I have always associated with people like Alan Bennett, northern decency, Wallace and Gromit, and a particular kind of cosiness. Not with English police smashing in doors. If I hadn't been so aware of similarly blank faced arrivals of slaughter teams, often early in the morning, on the farms of people knowledgeable enough to have protested against the foot and mouth slaughter in 2001 -I would have found this hard to believe.

John Pilger's article begins by raising fears of a black list here that will go far beyond terrorism. Thomas Friedman is the New York Times columnist who wants the US State Department to draw up a blacklist of those who make "wrong" political statements - such as those who believe American actions are the root cause of the current terrorism.
Websites such as warmwell.com, make "wrong" political statements every day. They are written by perfectly ordinary people trying to make sense of an increasingly senseless world. Are we also,(in small letters somewhere at the bottom), soon to find ourselves on a blacklist?

Dammit. I shall quote the quintessentially English John Betjeman - whose poem here would no doubt have landed him on Mr Blair's blacklist too - "Come, friendly bombs..."


Tuesday, August 16, 2005

 

Blown Away

Jonathan Porrit - whom I greatly admire - thinks wind turbines are "compellingly beautiful". Yes indeed. Some that I have seen in France are an elegant, silvery testament to Man's ingenuity. They slice the air with a majestic ruthlessness. An eerie sound surrounds them. They have all the compelling appeal of power.

Giant wind farms are to save the country from global warming. The wild beauty of the windiest parts of our country has a value that cannot be measured. And the country is to be desecrated in the name of green energy.

The Argyll and Bute Regional Council have just taken a decision that has left everyone thunderstruck. They have turned down a planning application for 16 wind-turbines to be erected on the ridge in the Inverliever Forest in Argyll. A probably temporary victory for the protesters.

Like them, that amiable and brilliant scientist Professor James Lovelock is not impressed with the rush to cover Britain with gigantic windmills. His Gaia theory sees the Earth as a single, living organism. He speaks urgently about how dire are the threats facing her. He is one of our very best scientists; kindly, and a true visionary. The turbines he bluntly calls dark satanic mills And what's more So my feeling of foreboding about the destruction of the planet, shared by many others - many, many others - is mixed with a deep scepticism. This is not directed at the dangers which I know to be perfectly real, but at the political urgency of the political targets that are to be met. 1,100 wind farms have already been erected and another 2,000 turbines at least are planned before 2010. In fact, it seems 8000 more would be needed to "meet the targets" to which the government has nailed its colours.

Rather than trying to involve us all in a united effort the political response is to create a Gold Rush involving only those in the know. This is not leadership from public servants. It may save political face - but it won't save the planet.

Undemocratic quick fixes need bribery and threats. In the foot and mouth crisis it was wildly inflated compensation payments made to those who otherwise would complain at the overkill - and a very nasty hidden blackmail to those who did protest anyway. Here, it is massive subsidies to the companies, and a careful PR campaign designed to make protest seem selfish nimbyism. Into its web, the environmental groupies with their decency and desire for activism were soon drawn. When Stephen Timms cried "Go forth and Build Turbines!" like a latter day Moses, the shining eyes of the environmentalists dared anyone to cry "Hang on a Minute!"

David Bellamy did - and has inevitably been condemned and smeared for pointing out the "government’s naive belief that wind farms produce green electricity"

At the end of the film "The Day After Tomorrow" the "Dick Cheney" character, the humbled Vice President who has escaped with a large number of his shaken fellow americans into Mexico, looks into the camera and delivers the film's message: "...for years we operated under the belief that we could go on consuming our planet's natural resources without consequence. We were wrong..."

Yes yes. Of course we are wrong. But it is no use looking to governments to take responsibility for helping us to take responsibility for ourselves.

Global Warming - whatever its causes - is not going to be stopped by wind turbines. Similarly, the global consequences of the depletion of cheap oil are not going to be addressed in public by anyone ruthless and powerful. Peak Oil is starting to get talked about at last. But governments are dodging the issues.

Dr. Robert Hirsch, a Senior Energy Program Advisor at the Science Applications International Corporation, an Energy expert with the best credentials, wrote a calm and measured US government sponsored report. It was described as "unprecedented" in US government circles. Its conclusions pulled no punches. It disappeared from the internet for weeks.

In fact, here is the elusive Hirsch Report (pdf new window. Loads slowly.)
Climate change and Peak Oil. Interlinked problems. No leadership. I have a mental picture of Corporal Jones rushing up and down,crying "Don't panic! Don't panic!" I also have a nasty feeling that we are on our own.

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?