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Archive for February, 2011

7/7 Inquest: Was someone afraid to reveal the causes of the deaths?

February 26, 2011

It is quite startling to realise that a special room had been set up to receive the dead of the July 7th bombings in a temporary morgue built on army land, the contract for which (see [1] below) arrived on the contractor’s desk on July 6th, the day before the massacres.

All the bodies of the dead were taken and placed in cold-storage there.

Not until the Inquest, five years later, did startled lawyers acting on behalf of the victim-families get to hear, that NO POST MORTEMS had been performed on the dead.

Let us repeat this astonishing statement, the better to realise our own astounded bafflement:

NO POST MORTEMS HAD BEEN PERFORMED ON THE DEAD.

Let’s listen to the bewildered comment from pathologist Dr. Awani Choudhary, one of the first doctors on the scene from the BMA at Tavistock Square, who testified to the Inquest about his attempts to save the life of Gladys Wundowa:

‘I have not seen the post-mortem report, but I thought that she was bleeding from somewhere … So if the post-mortem says that she was not bleeding from anywhere, just had a spinal injury, I will be surprised…
Q. Since you ask about the post-mortem, can I simply inform you that, as with all the other casualties of the day, no internal post-mortem was conducted into Gladys Wundowa, so unfortunately, much as we would like the answers to the questions that you’ve asked, they don’t –
A. I… I’m absolutely sure that she had had internal injury as well as a spinal injury, and I’m absolutely surprised that a post-mortem has not been done through and through.
Q. Well, Mr Choudhary, that isn’t a matter to concern you.
A. Sorry.
Q. … we don’t need to concern ourselves about that matter.     (Jan 20 am, 63:22- 65:6)

No, of course not. 52 dead and no post-mortems, nothing to worry about.

WHAT COULD POSSIBLY EXPLAIN THE ASTONISHING DECISION NOT TO CARRY OUT POST MORTEMS? THE GREATEST MODERN ACT OF MASS-MURDER ON BRITISH SOIL AND NO ONE WAS INTERESTED IN COLLECTING PRECISE EVIDENCE OF CAUSE OF DEATH.

SO MUCH COULD HAVE BEEN LEARNED ABOUT THE EXPLOSIONS AND THE EXPLOSIVES FROM SUCH MEDICAL EXAMINATIONS.

IS IT UNFAIR TO SUSPECT THAT THE FAILURE TO COLLECT THIS BASIC INFORMATION WAS CAUSED BY FEAR (OR WORSE) THAT POST MORTEMS WOULD THROW UP SCIENTIFIC EVIDENCE TO CONTRADICT  A PREORDAINED NARRATIVE OF SUICIDE-BOMBER TERRORIST ATTACKS? MIGHT THE INJURIES HAVE INDICATED THE USE OF MILITARY-GRADE EXPLOSIVES TO WHICH THE ‘TERRORISTS’ COULD NOT POSSIBLY HAVE HAD ACCESS?

The lawyer acting for the families expressed shock and outrage at the fact that ‘cause of death’ had not been definitely confirmed. Would their clients have to put up with ‘brief, neutral and factual’ statements over this most basic of issues? The Telegraph reported from the Inquest:

‘But the bereaved families said the coroner should be allowed to go into much greater detail about how the deaths came about. They do not want a ‘’sterile” conclusion that their loved ones were unlawfully killed that fails to rule on whether the security agencies could have prevented the atrocities or whether the emergency services could have saved more lives, their lawyers said.

‘Patrick O’Connor QC, for the relatives, told the inquest in a legal argument hearing: ”Of course the bereaved interested persons would be very disappointed. But the public may well be quite astonished if that were the position and we were literally kept to the kind of one, one-and-a-half, two sentence verdict in the inquisition that is suggested by some.”

‘He added: ”The statue of Justice is very often depicted blindfolded, but never gagged.” (18 Feb., 2011)

An Inquest without any post-mortems? By way of to trying to remedy this situation, the Inquest turned to the MOD. Why should it be their business? They had to construct a model to show the probable fatal injuries and likely causes of death for those with no obviously fatal external injuries. Colonel Mahoney, Defence Professor of Anaesthesia and Critical Care at the Royal Centre for Defence Medicine in Birmingham, spent a couple of days at the Inquest explaining the situation, whereby ‘virtual Underground carriages’ had been constructed as models, but it all seemed rather vague:

Q. But your approach must, overall, be read subject to a number of caveats?
A. Yes.
Q. Firstly, as you mentioned, there was no invasive post-mortem in any case.
A. Yes.
Q. Secondly, the X-ray examination was limited, as you’ve just said, to fluoroscopy?*
A. Yes.
Q. Thirdly, although you have photographic evidence, in some cases the photographs were difficult to interpret, for reasons I won’t explore with you?
A. Yes.        [Jan 31 pm 5:3-17]

Still Clueless about the Explosions

Colonel Mahoney was faced with not only an absence of post-mortems, but also with a weird absence of a coherent theory about the explosive that had been used … We saw how earlier in February the Government’s explosives experts at the Inquest had to tiptoe around the fact that none of them would endorse the government’s peroxide-and-black pepper story. Asked to prepare a report for the Inquest, Colonel Mahoney did so. We note a couple of remarks he made there, from comments he had heard from Clifford Todd, the forensic expert.

His report alluded to ‘Mr Todd’s opinion that the devices were consistent with the use of high explosives.’ In no way can peroxide and black pepper be called a high explosive. Secondly, he found ‘There is little evidence from Mr Todd’s evidence to suggest that the devices produced a significant heat output.’ (‘Blast waves and their effect on the Human Body’, pp.18 & 19) Any peroxide bomb with back pepper as a base is a thermal bomb, because the heat comes from the rapid oxidation of the pepper. The more home-made the bomb the more it is going to be ‘thermal’ ie produce heat. Only the high-blast expertly made explosives of the military will yield a pure blast without heat.

Thus Colonel Mahoney’s report nullifies the Inquest’s silly joke about peroxide and black pepper – it points back to the first theories about the 7/7 blast, which emerged in the week after the event, when the real experts were averring that a military explosive had been used.  Colonel Mahoney is the author of several books on this topic: Lady Justice Hallett alluded to ‘the area in which you are most expert: namely, the effects of explosive devices.’  (Jan 31 am, 66:3-4)

What happened to the Bodies?

Why did the families have to wait for a week or sometimes even more, before they learned of the fate of their lost ones? A study by Jenny Edkins (University of Wales, Aberystwyth, author of ‘Trauma and the Memory of Politics’) about the way 7/7 victims were treated explained, ‘This paper is motivated by a concern, an anger even, at the way in which people were treated by the authorities in the aftermath of the London bombings of July 2005. In particular, communication with those searching for missing relatives or friends was one-way or nonexistent. This treatment, it seems to me, provides an example of what Michael Dillon has called “governing terror…”’

‘Families were plunged into a world of Disaster Victim Identification Forms, Police Liaison Officers, and stonewalling by officials…. In the aftermath of the explosions on the London underground and in Tavistock Square in Bloomsbury on Thursday 7 July 2005, relatives of the missing were kept waiting for up to or over a week for information about where their sons and daughters, friends and family members might be.’

Full Article Here:-

Categories: News of the moment

The New York Time’s journalistic obedience

Monday, Feb 21, 2011 13:22 ET

The NYT's journalistic obedience Full Article Here:-

AP Photo/Hamza Ahmed, File

In this Jan. 28, 2011 file photo, Pakistani security officials escort Raymond Allen Davis, a U.S. consulate employee, center, to a local court in Lahore, Pakistan.

Earlier today, I wrote in detail about new developments in the case of Raymond Davis, the former Special Forces soldier who shot and killed two Pakistanis on January 27, sparking a diplomatic conflict between the U.S. (which is demanding that he be released on the ground of “diplomatic immunity”) and Pakistan (whose population is demanding justice and insisting that he was no “diplomat”).  But I want to flag this new story separately because it’s really quite amazing and revealing.

Yesterday, as I noted earlier, The Guardian reported that Davis — despite Obama’s description of him as “our diplomat in Pakistan” — actually works for the CIA, and further noted that Pakistani officials believe he worked with Blackwater.  When reporting that, The Guardian noted that many American media outlets had learned of this fact but deliberately concealed it — because the U.S. Government told them to:  “A number of US media outlets learned about Davis’s CIA role but have kept it under wraps at the request of the Obama administration.”

Now it turns out that The New York Times — by its own shameless admission — was one of those self-censoring, obedient media outlets.  Now that The Guardian published its story last night, the NYT just now published a lengthy article detailing Davis’ work — headlined:  “American Held in Pakistan Shootings Worked With the C.I.A.” — and provides a few more details:

 

The American arrested in Pakistan after shooting two men at a crowded traffic stop was part of a covert, C.I.A.-led team of operatives conducting surveillance on militant groups deep inside the country, according to American government officials. . . . Mr. Davis has worked for years as a C.I.A. contractor, including time at Blackwater Worldwide, the controversial private security firm (now called Xe) that Pakistanis have long viewed as symbolizing a culture of American gun slinging overseas.

But what’s most significant is the paper’s explanation for why they’re sharing this information with their readers only now:

 

The New York Times had agreed to temporarily withhold information about Mr. Davis’s ties to the agency at the request of the Obama administration, which argued that disclosure of his specific job would put his life at risk. Several foreign news organizations have disclosed some aspects of Mr. Davis’s work with the C.I.A.. On Monday, American officials lifted their request to withhold publication, though George Little, a C.I.A. spokesman, declined any further comment.

In other words, the NYT knew about Davis’ work for the CIA (and Blackwater) but concealed it because the U.S. Government told it to.  Now that The Guardian and other foreign papers reported it, the U.S. Government gave permission to the NYT to report this, so now that they have government license, they do so — only after it’s already been reported by other newspapers which don’t take orders from the U.S. Government.

Categories: News of the moment

This week in winning hearts and minds

Raymond Davis, a former U.S. Special Forces soldier, has shot and killed two Pakistani citizens in Lahore.

Monday, Feb 21, 2011 06:22 ET

Full Article Here:

In terms of understanding how the U.S. is perceived in the Muslim world — and why some people might become sufficiently enraged to give up their own lives to attack us — consider the following:

(1) On January 27, Raymond Davis, a former U.S. Special Forces soldier, shot and killed two Pakistani citizens in that nation’s second-largest city, Lahore, using a semi-automatic Glock pistol.  Davis claims he acted in self-defense when they attacked his car to rob him — both of the dead were armed and had lengthy records of petty crimes — but each was shot five times, and one was killed after Davis was safely back in his car and the victim was fleeing.  After shooting the two dead, Davis calmly photographed their bodies and then called other Americans stationed in Pakistan (likely CIA officers) for assistance; one of the Americans’ Land Rovers dispatched to help Davis struck and killed a Pakistani motorcyclist while speeding to the scene.  The Pakistani wife of one of Davis’ victims then committed suicide by swallowing rat poison, saying on her deathbed that she had serious doubts that Davis would be held accountable.

For reasons easy to understand — four dead Pakistanis at the hands of Americans, two of whom (at least) were completely innocent — this episode has become a major scandal in that nation.  From the start, the U.S. Government has demanded Davis’ release on the grounds of “diplomatic immunity.”  But the very murky status of Davis and his work in Pakistan has clouded that claim.  The State Department first said he worked for the consulate, not the embassy, which would make him subject to weaker immunity rights than diplomats enjoy (State now says that its original claim was a “mistake” and that Davis worked for the embassy).  President Obama then publicly demanded the release of what he absurdly called “our diplomat in Pakistan”; when he was arrested, Davis “was carrying a 9mm gun and 75 bullets, bolt cutters, a GPS unit, an infrared light, telescope, a digital camera, an air ticket, two mobile phones and a blank cheque.”  Late last week, a Pakistani court ordered a three-week investigation to determine if Davis merits diplomatic immunity, during which time he will remain in custody.  And now it turns out, according The Guardian last night, that “our diplomat” was actually working for the CIA:

 

The American who shot dead two men in Lahore, triggering a diplomatic crisis between Pakistan and the US, is a CIA agent who was on assignment at the time. . . . Based on interviews in the US and Pakistan, the Guardian can confirm that the 36-year-old former special forces soldier is employed by the CIA. “It’s beyond a shadow of a doubt,” said a senior Pakistani intelligence official. . . . He served in the US special forces for 10 years before leaving in 2003 to become a security contractor. A senior Pakistani official said he believed Davis had worked with Xe, the firm formerly known as Blackwater.

A few caveats are in order here.  Though The Guardian uses unusually strong language for its claim (“the Guardian can confirm”), the reporting appears based mostly if not entirely on Pakistani sources and is entirely anonymous (though Davis’ CIA connection has been speculated from the start and never denied by the U.S. Government).  Most countries, including the U.S., have on occasion been forced to release perpetrators of heinous crimes because they had “diplomatic” status (or were family members of diplomats):  including murder, rape and pedophilia, and it often (and understandably) engenders public rage.  The U.S. is hardly alone in spying under diplomatic cover.  And the general custom is that once a person enters a country with a diplomatic passport — as Davis did here — they are entitled to immunity regardless of their specific work.  In sum, both the factual and legal issues here are both unclear and complex (The Guardian today has an excellent article [link fixed] gathering all the known facts, while The Washington Post‘s “fact-checking” feature reviews the international legal issues and “withholds judgment” on who is right).

But several points are quite clear.  There’s the gross hypocrisy of the U.S. State Department invoking lofty “rule-of-law” and diplomacy principles under the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations — the very same State Department that just got caught systematically violating that convention when WikiLeaks cables revealed that U.S. “diplomats” were ordered to spy on U.N. officials and officials in other countries.  Then there’s the delusional notion — heard mostly from progressives with romanticized images of the State Department — that WikiLeaks’ release of diplomatic cables was terrible because it’s wrong to undermine “diplomacy” with leaks, since the State Department (unlike the Big, Bad Pentagon) is devoted to Good, Humane causes of facilitating peace.  As this episode illustrates, there’s no separation among the various arms of the U.S. Government; they all are devoted to the same end and simply use different means to accomplish it (when the U.S. Government is devoted to war, “diplomatic” functions are used to bolster the war, as Colin Powell can tell you).

Categories: News of the moment

Raymond Davis Does Not Have Diplomatic Immunity

February 24, 2011 1 comment

Take this as definitve from a former Ambassador

February 23, 2011   Craig Murray  http://www.craigmurray.org.uk/

There are five circumstances in which Raymond Davis, the American killer caught in Pakistan, might have diplomatic immunity. They are these.

1) He was notified in writing to the government of Pakistan as a member of diplomatic staff of a US diplomatic mission in Pakistan, and the government of Pakistan had accepted him as such in writing.

2) He was part of an official delegation engaged in diplomatic negotiations notified to the government of Pakistan and accepted by them.

3) He was a member of staff of an international organisation recognised by Pakistan and was resident in Pakistan as a member of diplomatic staff working for that organisation, or was in Pakistan undertaking work for that organisation with the knowledge and approval of the Pakistani authorities.

4) He was an accredited diplomat elsewhere and was in direct tranist through Pakistan to his diplomatic posting.

5) He was an accredited courier carrying US diplomatic dispatches in transit through Pakistan.

2) to 5) plainly do not apply. The Obama administration is going for 1). My information, from senior Pakistani ex-military sources that I trust, is firmly that the necessary diplomatic exchange of notes does not exist that would make Davis an accredited US diplomat in Pakistan, but that the State Department is putting huge pressure on the government of Pakistan to overlook that fact. This passes a commonsense test – if the documents did exist. La Clinton would have waved them at us by now.

A brilliant article here by Glenn Greenwald.
http://www.salon.com/news/opinion/glenn_greenwald/2011/02/21/heartsandminds/index.html

Categories: News of the moment

Cameron rattling the collection tin for armaments manufacturers-Steve Bell

Steve Bell

Steve Bell 24.2.11

Categories: Cartoons

Mervyn King, Ratcatcher – Steve Bell

Steve Bell's If... 21/2/11

Steve Bell's If... 22/2/11

Steve Bell's If... 23/2/11

Steve Bell's If... 24/2/2011

 

 

 

Categories: Cartoons

Ouka Leele

Ouka Leele is the pseudonym for Barbara Allende Gil de Biedermann ( Madrid , June 29 1957 ), photographer Spanish , niece of the poet Jaime Gil de Biedermann and cousin of  Esperanza Aguirre .

She was one of the main protagonists Movida in the early 80’s . Self-taught, its features include black and white photographs and colored prints. Spanish traditions mix with a colorful typical of this artist. Her prestigious work has been exhibited in cities such as Paris , London , Tokyo , São Paulo and New York . In 2005 , she was awarded the National Prize for Photography .

Her stage name comes from a work of the painter ” El Hortelano ‘, a star map completely invented by him, which appeared in the constellation called “Ouka Lele.Barbara was amazed by this picture and decided I wanted to sign his works as well. Reinforced in this decision for his first gallery, Albert Guspi, exhibited his work since under this pseudonym, slightly changed in 1999 to “Ouka Leele.”

In her own words, Ouka Leele understands photography as “visual poetry, a way of talking without using words.” Fellow artists as labors of Javier Mariscal , Ceesepe , Alberto Garcia-Alix or Pedro Almodóvar , lived in Barcelona, Madrid or New York since his youth. Cancer survivor. Traffic was stopped in the Paseo de la Castellana in Madrid, in order to make the renowned photography Rappel-toi Barbara Barber after the series concluded.

Her work has been reproduced in many magazines as Diorama, Photo Magazine, Telos, Dezine, or Of Actuel. She has worked in almost every edition of the festival ARCO , which houses part of  this work in her collection.  She has taught workshops in her field at festivals, cultural centers and universities.

She has also been active as an illustration: in 1996 illustrated the book Concha Garcia Campoy The double gaze and 2002 produced a series of drawings and serigraphs for the Song of Songs of King Solomon . In Ceuta (a Spanish independence on the northern tip of the Moroccan coast) she has made an outdoor mural of almost 300 square meters called “my garden metaphysical ‘, and the only work until to date of such characteristics.

Today, working with the film director Rafael Gordon in the final cut of the film’s look Ouka Leele, whose premiere is expected next year, which runs largely on Ceuta, during the preparation of their mural. She is also about to launch her new official website, where you will find updated much of his work and biography. Leele Ouka just been appointed Ambassador for the Candidacy of Segovia to European Capital of Culture in 2016 .

OukaLeeleFL07.jpg

Translation from Wikipedia Here:-

Ouka Leele – Biography
1957
Born in Madrid. From an early age she discovered that painting was her true calling and discovered photography almost by chance. She began to exhibit her work at home, putting a sign in the lobby of her apartment building, “Exposition on the 5th floor”, or setting up an art gallery in her garage with her siblings.

1976
Published her first black and white photographs. She feels passionate about this medium given the popularity of its language.

1978
She began to exhibit her work.

1979
She completed her famous series “Peluquería”. Decided to fuse painting and photography to create her own system of artistic communication, applying watercolors to the black and white pictures.

In the early 80s, she began signing her work as Ouka
Lele, the name taken from a star map invented by El
Hortelano.

…and she continues to be true to herself, speaking only about what she knows: her life, studying, learning, outside any definition, fashion, or concepts understanding art as her one and only devotion.
http://www.photogaleria.com

Video Collection Here:-