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BBC retrospective on the Iraq War.

By Craig Murray  21st January 2015.   Find Article Here:-

The BBC led their 10 O’clock News today with a five minute piece on the delay to the Chilcot report. It gave a retrospective on the Iraq War that did not mention, once, Weapons of Mass Destruction as the raison d’etre but told us the war “removed a brutal dictator”. They said the dead of the war were in thousands – not hundreds of thousands, not even tens of thousands. “Thousands died”, they said. Literally true, but diminishing the scale. They could equally have said dozens died, also literally true – just an awful lot of dozens.

Then they allowed Blair unanswered and unquestioned to speak sincerely to camera about how much he wanted the report published, and the reporter stated without challenge that Blair had not delayed publication and had not objected to the publication of his correspondence with President Bush – both statements which are a very long way from the whole truth.

Even by recent BBC standards, it was the most vomit inducing production. They compounded it by finishing with Ed Miliband in parliament demanding publication, when he has a shadow cabinet packed with the very criminals who launched the illegal war – a fact they did not note. Anti-war opinion was briefly represented by – Nick Clegg!!!

I do not recognise what the British state has become. Or rather I do recognise precisely what kind of state it has become, and it bears no relation to the democracy it claims to be.

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Inevitable Payback.

By Craig Murray  21st January 2015.       Find Article Here:-

In this globalised world, if we launch weapons of great destructive power into communities abroad, incinerating and shredding women and children, we cannot avoid the fact that those who identify with those communities – ethnically, culturally and religiously – will take revenge on people here. If we are lucky it will be revenge on combatants. If we are unlucky it will be on our innocents. But either way, the truth is this. We caused it.

We caused it by our invasions, occupations and bombings of Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Syria, none of which had ever attacked the UK. We caused it by all the dead women and children that British bombs, missiles or bullets killed accidentally. We caused it by the terrible deaths of the people we killed deliberately, who were only defending their country from foreign invaders, just as most of us would do. We caused it by the detainees killed or tortured. As a country, the United Kingdom caused it.

This is not the 19th century. Imperialist aggression now brings a danger of retaliation from empathetic communities embedded in western societies. This is so obvious as not to need stating. The danger of terrorism from Islamic sources would be much reduced if we just minded our own business on the international scene.

All that is very obvious. It does not, however, seem to have occurred to John Sawers, immediate past head of MI6, who has no sensible thoughts at all of the causes of terrorism. The right wing like to think that anyone opposed to the West is, by definition, spontaneously evil. If only they could look in the mirror sometimes and ask why people hate us, that would be a major psychological breakthrough. I have known John Sawers a great many years, and he is somebody who looks in the mirror very often. Sadly, not for that purpose.

At least he has the intellectual honesty to admit an open advocacy of the extreme big brother society. Abandoning the notion of smart intelligence, he has come out with a justification of the mass surveillance society which Snowden revealed. We cannot prevent terrorism without spying on innocent people, he declares.

In a sense, that is a truism. I have very often argued that it is impossible to prevent all evil and daft to try. You have a far, far higher chance of being murdered by a member of your own family than you have by a terrorist. Over the last 10 years terrorists have been responsible for almost exactly 1% of all murders in the UK. Let me type that again. In the last ten years terrorists have been responsible for almost exactly 1% of all murders in the UK. And about 0.007% of woundings. It remains true that the most likely person to kill you is in your own family. It is worth remembering that the number of people who died in the Charlie Hebdo atrocity was the same number murdered in France on average every week.

Now assuming the aim is to prevent murder rather than make propaganda, let us concentrate for a moment on – don’t worry, you will never in your life be asked to do this again, unless by me – let us concentrate on the 99% of murders which are not by terrorists. To take the John Sawers system, if we had permanent CCTV monitoring of every kitchen in the UK, we could probably prevent quite a few of those murders and a vast amount of non-fatal violence. It would take an enormous police and security service, of course, but we are getting there anyway. Sawers’ point is completely correct in logic – you cannot prevent all murders without massive surveillance of the innocent. It would have been even more correct if you just stopped the sentence at you cannot prevent all murders. Precisely the same is true of the tiny risk to individuals that is murder by terrorism.

The surest way to reduce the terrorist threat in the UK is to stop bombing or invading other countries. That simple fact needs to be screamed from the rooftops. The next thing you can do is solid old fashioned evidence-based police and intelligence work. The least effective thing you can do is simply trawl the email and online chat of millions of people. That clogs up the intelligence system with a vast mound of undigestable information, and results in the conviction of fantasists and boastful men who, while unpleasant, are guilty of nothing but thought crime. It is exactly the same result as if you tackled murder by arresting everyone who in an email or chat wished harm to their husband or wife. It is wrong to express that, but the percentage who would have really gone on to murder would be vanishingly small.

The great worry is the presumption which is sneaking in to the mainstream media narrative that it is the responsibility of the state to prevent all crime before it happens. It is not, and that is not an achievable goal. The restrictions on liberty it would entail would do more damage to society than crime itself, which mankind has managed to live with since civilisation began. The entire debate around terrorism needs to be recalibrated. The answer is not the ultimate Big Brother surveillance state. The answer is to stop our hideous violence towards communities abroad.

Israeli newspaper edits out Angela Merkel from front page on Paris march.

Associated Press in Jerusalem 14th January 2015.     Find Article Here:-

Small Jewish ultra-orthodox newspaper Hamevaser digitally removed female world leaders present at Sunday’s unity march after Charlie Hebdo attacks.

Hamevaser front page
A crop of the photo from Hamevaser’s front page. Merkel who marched next to François Hollande was digitally removed. Photograph: Israel Sun/Rex

A small Jewish ultra-Orthodox newspaper in Israel has found itself in the spotlight after digitally removing Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel from a photo of this week’s Paris march.

World leaders had linked arms to march in Paris against terrorism after Islamic extremists killed 17 people. At the march, Merkel stood in the front row between the French president, François Hollande, and Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas.

But readers of the Hamevaser newspaper’s Monday edition didn’t know, as she had been digitally removed, leaving Abbas standing next to Hollande. Israeli media joked it was meant to bring Abbas closer to Israeli premier Binyamin Netanyahu, who was standing nearby.

European Commission President European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, former French President Nicolas Sarkozy, Malian President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, French President Francois Hollande, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, EU president, Donald Tusk, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi march
The un-edited line-up of world leaders at the unity march in Paris on Sunday.
Photograph: Philippe Wojazer/AP

Within the insular ultra-Orthodox community, pictures of women are rarely shown, due to modesty concerns. In Jerusalem, ultra-Orthodox vandals frequently deface buses and billboards with advertising deemed to be immodest.

Hamevaser full front page
‘Including a picture of a woman into something so sacred, as far as we are concerned, it can desecrate the memory of the martyrs and not the other way around,” Hamevaser’s editor said. Photograph: Israel Sun/Rex

The picture in Hamevaser also cut out other women, like the Paris mayor, Anne Hidalgo, though the newspaper clumsily left her dark glove on the sleeve of a marcher. The European Union’s foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, was cropped out.

Binyamin Lipkin, editor of Hamevaser, said the newspaper is a family publication that must be suitable for all audiences, including young children.

“The eight-year-old can’t see what I don’t want him to see,” he told Israel’s Channel 10 television station. “True, a picture of Angela Merkel should not ruin the child, but if I draw a line, I have to put it there from the bottom all the way to the top.”

He also said he did not want to tarnish the memories of the people killed in the attacks.

“Including a picture of a woman into something so sacred, as far as we are concerned, it can desecrate the memory of the martyrs and not the other way around,” he said.

 

When will Palestinians learn? Turning to international law isn’t the answer — just ask America and Israel.

By Robert Fisk  4th January 2015.                                Find Article + Photos Here:-

If Palestine’s request is ‘entirely counterproductive’, what does that make Israel’s slaughtering of civilians last summer?

Throw an old dog a bone and sure enough, he’ll go chasing after it. So it is with “Palestine’s” request to join the International Criminal Court. An obvious attempt by Mahmoud Abbas to try Israel for war crimes in Gaza this year, we are told.

Or maybe a “two-edged sword” – yawns are permitted for such clichés – which could also put Hamas “in the dock”. Israel was outraged. The US was “strongly opposed” to such a dastardly request by the elderly potentate who thinks he rules a state which doesn’t even exist.

But hold on a moment. That isn’t the story, is it? Surely the real narrative is totally different. The BBC didn’t get this. Nor CNN. Nor even Al Jazeera. But surely the most significant event of all is that the descendants of the PLO – excoriated only a quarter of a century ago as the most dangerous “terrorist” organisation in the world, its mendacious leader Yasser Arafat branded “our Bin Laden” by Israel’s mendacious leader Ariel Sharon – actually wants TO ABIDE BY INTERNATIONAL LAW!

Heavens preserve us from such a thought, but these chappies – after all their past calls for Israel’s extinction, after all the suicide bombings and intifadas – are asking to join one of the most prestigious judicial bodies on earth. For years, the Palestinians have demanded justice. They went to the international court in The Hague to have Israel’s apartheid wall dismantled – they even won, and Israel didn’t give a hoot. Any sane Palestinian, you might think, would long ago have turned his or her back on such peaceful initiatives.

Yet still these wretched Palestinians persist, after this most humiliating of insults, in resorting to international law to resolve their conflict with Israel. Here they go again, dutifully seeking membership of the International Criminal Court. Will these Arabs never learn?

And of course, the Americans are threatening to punish such effrontery. Stop those millions of dollars in aid to the Palestinians. Stand by Israel’s refusal to accept any such approach to the International Criminal Court by “Palestine”. The EU – especially Britain and France – have gone along with this tosh. Israel has already decided to stop more than £80m in tax owed to the Palestinian authority.

The US State Department’s spokesman told us that his government is “deeply troubled” by the Palestinian application. It is “entirely counterproductive”, he informed the world. It does “nothing to further the aspirations of the Palestinian people for a sovereign state” – though one might have thought that membership of so august a judicial body would have done a lot to persuade the world that Palestinians were ready to shoulder all the burdens of statehood.

After all, the Palestinians would indeed have to abide by international law and – if the law applied retrospectively – they would have to carry the burden of opprobrium themselves for both Hamas crimes and past PLO murders. The United States, of course – and this fact oddly did not feature in the flurry of news reports on “Palestine’s” request to join – has itself refused to join the International Criminal Court. And with good reason; because, like the Israelis – although this is not quite how the whole fandango was explained to us – Washington is also worried that its soldiers and government officials will be arraigned for war crimes. Think waterboarding, Abu Ghraib, the report on CIA torture…

No wonder Jeffrey Rathke, the windbag who speaks for the State Department, says that the Palestinian request “badly damages the atmosphere” with Israel, “undermines trust” and “creates doubts about their (Palestinian) commitment to a negotiated peace”. And remember, Abbas only made his request after America had voted against – it has previously used its veto more than 40 times on Israel’s behalf to reject Palestine’s self-determination since 1975 – a UN Security Council resolution to end Israel’s occupation of Palestinian land by 2017.

But of course, what this whole kerfuffle is really about is quite simple. The world is tired of witnessing the suffering of Palestinians. Those with an ounce of human sympathy are sickened at being slandered as anti-Semitic or anti-Zionist (whatever that is) every time they express their outrage at Israel’s cruelty towards the Palestinians.

Killing more than 2,000 Palestinians last summer, hundreds of them children, was a mass slaughter. We’ve watched this grotesquerie so many times now – in Gaza, for the most part – that even our statistics have become spattered with blood.

Who now recalls the fatalities of the 2008-9 Gaza war? One thousand four hundred and seventeen Palestinians dead, 313 of them children, more than 5,500 wounded. That was the conflict upon which President-elect Obama had no comment to make.

And who knows what other gory Pandora’s box ICC membership would open? That bomber pilot who in 2002 killed 15 civilians, 11 of them children, in a Gaza apartment block to assassinate a Hamas official, for example? Wouldn’t that constitute a war crime? Don’t these outrages “damage the atmosphere” and “undermine trust”. Were these bloodbaths not “entirely counterproductive”? And the Jewish colonisation of the occupied West Bank?

Sure, bang up those behind Hamas and Islamic Jihad suicide attacks for war crimes. Get the Palestinian Authority thugs who torture and murder their own prisoners. But that’s not what Israel and the US are worried about. They are concerned that, after months of arguing and rowing and delving through thousands of documents, jurists may decide that Israel – horror of horror – may have to answer for itself before international justice, something which no routine US veto could prevent.

Now just imagine if Israel and America wanted the Palestinians to sign the Rome document. Conjure the thought – for a split-second only – that Israel and America insisted that the Palestinians must abide by an international treaty and become members of the International Criminal Court to qualify for statehood. Abbas’s refusal to do so would be further proof of his “terrorist” intentions. Yet when Abbas does sign the Rome document, when the Palestinians want to abide by an international treaty, they must be punished – surely a “first” in modern history.

I can only think of two phrases that fit the bill for this scandal of the West’s politicians. Confound their politics. Frustrate their knavish tricks.

The impasse in the Middle East in a nutshell

Apropos of which… Avi Shlaim, among the finest of Israeli historians, has just brought out a new edition of his great work The Iron Wall: Israel and the Arab World. “The prospect of a real change in American foreign policy looks slim to non-existent,” he writes. “Nor is there at present any evidence to suggest that Israel’s leaders are remotely interested in a genuine two-state solution… They seem oblivious to the damage that the occupation is doing to their society and to the reputation of their country abroad.” That’s it in a nutshell, isn’t it?

We think the Paris terrorists were offended by Charlie Hebdo’s satire. What if we’re wrong?

By   8th January.                Find Article + Videos Here:-

We’ve bought the idea that Islamic terrorists are genuinely outraged by satirical cartoons. But maybe we’re playing into their hands.

Here’s a theory. Terrorists aren’t offended by cartoons. Not even cartoons that satirise the Prophet Muhammad. They don’t care about satire. For all I know they may not even care about the Prophet Muhammad.

Instead, they merely pretend to be offended by cartoons, in order to give themselves a pretext to commit murder. Murder so horrifying, on a pretext so unWestern, that non-Muslims – blinded by grief and rage – turn on Muslims. Blame them. Persecute them. Burn their book, attack their mosques, threaten them in the street, demand their expulsion from Western societies. Actions that, in turn, scare Western Muslims, isolate them, alienate them. And thus drive some of them to support – and even become – terrorists.

Result: terrorists swell their ranks for a civil war they long to provoke non-Muslims into starting.

In our angry innocence, however, we persist in thinking this is somehow about cartoons. In thinking that the terrorists “win” if we don’t reproduce those cartoons, and “lose” if we do. As if, at this very moment, terrorist leaders across the West are privately wailing in anguished disbelief because satirical cartoons have been reproduced this morning in several European newspapers.(“Disaster! Our plan has backfired in a way we couldn’t possibly have foreseen! Ink really does beat Kalashnikovs! Satire defeats us once again!”)

On the whole, I’m not sure that’s very likely. I don’t think the terrorists “win” if we fail to reproduce cartoons. I think the terrorists “win” if we leap up, gulp down their bait – and hate Muslims.

This is not about satire. This is beyond satire.

Egyptian student arrested carrying copy of Nineteen Eighty-Four.

By   10th November 2014.                Find Article Here:-

Police accuse Cairo student of filming security forces without permission and say they are unaware of book’s significance.

George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four
George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four. 

Orwellian fiction and reality appeared to blur into one on Sunday when reports suggested that an Egyptian undergraduate had been arrested for possessing a copy of Nineteen Eighty-Four.

Al-Masry al-Youm, Egypt’s leading private broadsheet, said a student identified only as Mohamed T had been caught in possession of the book at Cairo University, where a year-long wave of anti-government protests has seen several students killed by police, dozens expelled and hundreds sent to jail.

Government critics have likened the country’s return to strongman rule to the book’s plot, and social media users pounced on the story on Sunday evening.

Doubt was cast on the report when police stressed their collective lack of affinity for the western literary canon. While Mohamed T had indeed been in possession of Nineteen Eighty-Four at the time of his arrest, police said, they were unaware of its literary significance, and had instead accused him of filming security forces without their permission.

“None of us knows anything about this novel in the first place,” Mahmoud Farouk, the local investigations chief, claimed to Mada Masr, a Cairo-based news website.

Some nevertheless joked that it was only a matter of time before possession of Nineteen Eighty-Four became a reason for arrest. The book could be seen as particularly subversive in an Egyptian context, given the obvious parallels between Nineteen Eighty-Four’s critique of authoritarianism and the criticisms Egypt’s dissidents make of their government.

In Egypt, the regime claims to have seized power to save democracy and says its authoritarianism will build a freer future – an argument Orwell pre-empted more than 65 years ago when he wrote that many regimes in history “pretended, perhaps they even believed, that they had seized power unwillingly and for a limited time, and that just around the corner there lay a paradise where human beings would be free and equal”.

Hosni Mubarak cleared of conspiring to kill protesters in Egypt’s 2011 uprising.

By   29th November 2014.             Find Article & Video Here:-

Two killed in clashes between police and protesters after judgment overturns life sentence Mubarak received in June 2012 for 846 deaths.

Two people were killed in clashes between police and protesters after the former Egyptian dictator whose overthrow came to symbolise the promise of the Arab spring, Hosni Mubarak, was cleared of the murder of hundreds who called for his removal in 2011.

A Cairo court ruled on Saturday that it did not have jurisdiction over what it judged to be politically motivated charges, and dismissed the case. Mubarak, 86, was also acquitted of several other corruption charges. His interior minister, Habib al-Adly, and several senior Mubarak-era police officials were acquitted at the same time, as were Mubarak’s two sons, Gamal and Alaa, and an exiled Mubarak-era businessman, Hussein Salem.

“It was not suitable to try him of crimes according to the penal code,” the presiding judge, Mahmoud Rashidi, said as he threw out the murder case.

Mubarak’s supporters erupted into celebration when the verdicts of the retrial were read out.

The judgment overturns the life sentence Mubarak received in June 2012, and means he will face no punishment for allegedly sanctioning the murder of 846 protesters during the uprising or for allegedly profiting from the export of gas at below-market rates.

The number of his supporters outside the court far outnumbered the families of protesters who died in the Tahrir Square revolt that had embodied the hopes of the Arab spring and forced Mubarak from power.

The father of Ahmed Khaleefa, 19, who was killed in 2011, said outside the court: “This is a political verdict. The judiciary has been procrastinating for four years so they could clear him after hope had been lost. The verdict hit us like bullets. I consider that my son Ahmed died today.”

For Egypt’s revolutionaries, the decision is the apogee of a counter-revolution overseen by the country’s new president, Abdel Fatah al-Sisi, who was head of military intelligence under Mubarak.

“It’s very depressing,” said Ahmad Abd Allah, a leader in the 6 April youth movement that helped lead protests in 2011 and has since been banned. “I saw the blood of the people who died in January 2011, and I carried some of them myself. What a shame for the judicial system, what a shame for Egypt as a state.

“But this wasn’t unexpected. The Mubarak era still hasn’t fallen. It hasn’t stopped killing – so why would they say Mubarak is guilty when they’re doing the same thing.”

Security forces fired tear gas and birdshot and aimed water hoses on a crowd of around a thousand demonstrators who had gathered in downtown Cairo.

They had been chanting slogans against Mubarak and against Sisi and Morsi, the two men who have served as president since him. An eyewitness said both Morsi supporters and liberal secular protesters appeared to be present.

Health ministry spokesman Hossam Abdel Ghaffar told Reuters two protesters were killed and nine injured in the clashes but said he had no further details.

A few dozen young people gathered to protest against the verdict in the city of Suez, site of the first death of the uprising, but they were quickly dispersed by police, security sources said.

For others in Egypt, Mubarak’s fate has become less significant, with millions either exhausted by the four years of political turmoil that his removal unleashed, or far angrier at his one-time successor, the ousted Islamist president Mohamed Morsi, whom Sisi unseated in July 2013.

The ruling leaves Mubarak convicted of just one crime during his three decades in power. He was found guilty in May on separate charges of misusing public funds, though his sentence ends soon.