30 September 2006

News September 06

30 September 2006:

Catching up on the news:

Who do you believe:
Did America, just after 11 Sept 2001, threaten to bomb Pakistan back into the Stone Age if it did
not co-operate and join the "fight" against al-Qaeda?? Well, that is the question, and Pakistan's
President Pervez Musharraf, on a trip to the US, claims that America did indeed make that threat.

The threat was alleged to have come from then Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage and
the warning was delivered to the director of Pakistan's intelligence services, the ISI.
(This man, interestingly, is known to have been in the US during the days immediately before and
after 11 Sept and it is alleged that he paid Mohammad Atta, the supposed leader of the supposed
hi-jackers, $100,000).

In a damage-limitation exercise, which seems to be a daily occurrence these days at the White
House, press secretary Tony Snow had this to say: "Mr. Armitage has said that he made no such
representations. I don't know. This could have been a classic failure to communicate, I just don't
know. US policy was not to issue bombing threats but we made it very clear that we went straight
to President Musharraf in the days after 9/11 and said it's time to make a choice: Are you going to
side with the civilized world or are you going to side with the Taliban and al-Qaeda".
(Excuse me, but I never know whether to laugh or cry when America includes itself and Israel in
the membership of the civilized world).

The Pakistani president said that, following 11 September 2001, the US made some "ludicrous"
demands of Pakistan:
-"The intelligence director told me that Mr Armitage said 'Be prepared to be bombed. Be prepared
to go back to the Stone Age'". Gen Musharraf says now: "I think it was a very rude remark".
-The US envoy also insisted that Pakistan suppress domestic expression of support for attacks on
the United States, but Musharraf's reply was: "If somebody is expressing views, we cannot curb
the expression of views".
-Mr Armitage allegedly demanded that Pakistan allow the US to use its border posts as staging
points for the war on Afghanistan, and indeed Gen Musharraf did agree to open up Pakistani
airspace to the US, as well as to share intelligence after 11 September.
Although American troops are not officially allowed to operate on Pakistani soil, they have launched
air strikes from bases in Afghanistan. In January, 18 local people were killed in a botched US raid
targeting al-Qaeda number two Ayman al-Zawahiri in a village in Bajaur Agency on the border with
Afghanistan. Five foreigners were also killed in the raid, Gen Musharraf said at the time, amid
anger about the attack.

Pakistan's support was considered crucial in the defeat of Afghanistan's Taliban government,
which Pakistan had helped to bring to power, and in a move which amazed almost everybody,
Pakistan agreed to side with the US, but Gen Musharraf says now it did so based on his country's
national interest.

Gen Musharraf seems to be deliberately distancing himself from the Bush administration these
days in the face of intense pressure within Pakistan over his close ties to America, although some
analysts say the timing of these revelations may be an attempt to generate extra interest in his
autobiography, just released.

Whatever the detail, maybe now we have the answer, or at least part of the answer, as to why
President/General Musharraf "chose" to become such a loyal ally of America and the West.
Certainly, that alliance is as mysterious as it is unnatural, and it is most unlikely to be long-lasting
because the vast majority of Pakistanis are against it.


American hospitality:
In the few years since the first Afghan was sent to Guantanamo, the US military has created a
global network of overseas prisons, its islands of high security keeping 14,000 detainees beyond
the reach of established law.

Disclosures of mistreatment and long-term arbitrary detentions have been repeatedly criticized from
many quarters, including the UN Secretary General and the US Supreme Court. But the harshest
words come from inside the system.

Baghdad shopkeeper Amjad Qassim al-Aliyawi, released last month without charge, said:
"It was hard to believe I'd get out. I lived with the Americans for one year and eight months as
if I was living in hell".

Captured on battlefields, pulled from beds at midnight, grabbed off streets as suspected insurgents,
tens of thousands now have passed through US detention, the vast majority in Iraq.
Many say they were caught up in US military sweeps, often interrogated around the clock, then
released months or years later without apology, compensation or any word on why they were taken.
US officers have told the international Red Cross that 70 to 90 percent of the Iraq detentions in
2003 were "mistakes". Defenders of the system, which has only grown since soldiers' photos of
abuse at Abu Ghraib shocked the world, say it's "an unfortunate necessity in the battles to pacify
Iraq and Afghanistan, and to keep suspected terrorists out of action".

A spokesman for US military detainee operations in Iraq said: "Every US detainee in Iraq is held
because he poses a security threat to the government of Iraq, the people of Iraq or coalition forces".

But dozens of ex-detainees, government ministers, lawmakers, human rights activists, lawyers and
scholars in Iraq, Afghanistan and the America agree that the detention system is unjust and actually
hurts the so-called War on Terror by inflaming anti-Americanism in Iraq and elsewhere.
Oh what a surprise!!

Human rights groups count dozens of detainee deaths for which no one has been punished or that
were never explained. The secret prisons -unknown in number and location- remain available for
future detainees. The new manual banning torture doesn't cover CIA interrogators. And thousands
of people still languish in a limbo, deprived of one of common law's oldest rights, habeas corpus, the
right to know why you are imprisoned.

Human Rights Watch in New York: "If you, God forbid, are an innocent Afghan who gets sold down
the river by some warlord rival, you can end up at Bagram and you have absolutely no way of
clearing your name, you can't have a lawyer present evidence, or do anything organized to get
yourself out of there".

The US government asserts it can hold detainees until the un-winnable "War on Terror" ends!!

The Navy is planning long-term at Guantanamo and expects to open a new, $30-million maximum-
security wing at its prison complex there soon, a concrete-and-steel structure replacing more
temporary camps. So much for GW Bush's words that he would like to see Guantanamo closed!!

In Iraq, Army jailers are a step ahead, last month they opened a $60-million, state-of-the-art
detention center at Camp Cropper, near Baghdad's airport, the Army oversees a total of about
13,000 prisoners in Iraq at Cropper, Camp Bucca in the southern desert, and Fort Suse in the
Kurdish north.
All those detainees are neither prisoners of war nor criminal defendants, they are just "security
detainees" held "for imperative reasons of security" a spokesman said, using language from an
annex to a UN Security Council resolution authorizing the US presence there.

What a shining example of Freedom and Democracy and respect for Human Rights and
the Law America is!! Today's America is a grotesque perversion of the noble visions of the
Founding Fathers, and all decent countries, should any still exist, should refuse to co-operate
at all levels with the US unless and until the Great Satan starts to behave in a civilized manner,
which, on past and current performance, we must be entitled to doubt it is capable of -
just like its illegitimate foster-child Israel.

29 September 2006:

Catching up on the news:

UN Lebanon deaths were 'tragic error':
An Israeli bombing raid on a UN post in southern Lebanon in July that killed four peace keepers,
one observer each from Austria, Canada, China and Finland, was the result of a "tragic error",
Israel has said. An official Israeli inquiry found the post was wrongly targeted because of flawed
military maps of the area during the conflict with Hizbollah.
The post, in the town of al-Khiyam, was hit by precision-guided munitions in the attack on 26 July.
You will recall that, in the hours immediately before the raid, the UN had contacted Israel many
times to ask it to stop firing in the area, and it was a well-established post, perfectly well known
to Israel.
At the time, UN Secretary General Kofi Annan described the raid as "apparently deliberate" and
Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert expressed "deep regrets" over the deaths but also said
"it was inconceivable that Kofi Annan could think it was a deliberate act".

Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Mark Regev said that the Israeli investigation found that there
had been a mistake in the duplication of maps during the deployment of fresh troops to the area:
"In that process, unfortunately, the UN post was not accurately mapped, when our aircraft launched
its ordnance it believed it was targeting Hizbollah" and he described the incident as "a tragic error,
a mistake". It must be SO nice to be an Israeli - they are always innocent and perfect.

Excuse me, we have had a steady stream of breathtaking shameless lies from Israel over the
decades but this is truly remarkable and only fools, like the Americans, will believe this one -
well, they probably won't but seem to have no choice in the matter.
What exactly was this "mistake" in the copying of maps? Precision guided bombs, as so-called
"smart" weapons (too frequently operated by dumb people!), use digital maps which are used by
the on-board computer controlled weapons guidance system for extracting the co-ordinates for
the target.
Now, if you copy such a map you simply use a piece of software to copy the digital file and the
copy procedure will either work or will fail, if it works you will have an identical copy of the original,
and if the operation fails, it will abort and the software will tell you that it failed and why it did so.
As a former software consultant, I simply do not believe that a mistake could occur during the
copying, and the reason I don't believe it is because it does not make sense.
Unless the Israelis make public ALL the information relevant to this atrocity, we must assume that
it was, as Kofi Annan probably correctly fumed at the time, "apparently deliberate".

Until proven wrong, I shall regard this as a case of "smart weapons" used by pathological killers.

Or are we to believe that paper maps were used??!!

The UN, which is preparing its own report into the attack, may well come to a conclusion very
different to the official Israeli one and if they do, I hope the UN will have the courage to publish it!


Separately, but still in Israel, former Chief of Staff, Gen Moshe Yaalon, has called for the
resignations of the prime minister, current Chief of Staff Gen Halutz and the Israeli Defence
Minister Amir Peretz, saying: "Going to war was scandalous and Olmert is directly responsible
for that, the management of the war was a failure and he is responsible for that", he accused
the Israeli government of launching a ground invasion that served no military objective into
Lebanon in the last few days of the war, saying: "It had no substantive security-political goal,
only a spin goal, it was meant to supply the missing victory picture. You don't do that".

It is most refreshing to hear such straight talk from an important Israeli -
maybe Moshe Yaalon would like to run for Prime Minister?

28 September 2006:

Catching up on the news:

Iraqi anti-US feeling rising:
According to reports by the US Department of Defense, back in 2003 only about 14% of Iraq's 5
million Sunnis supported the insurgency against the Coalition, but in the latest poll carried out in
Iraq, that figure has now risen to about 75%. A disastrous development for the US and surely an
irreversible one.

Currently, there are about 147,000 US soldiers in Iraq, and no sign of anyone going home anytime
soon, as was hoped, to boost Republican chances in November's mid-term elections.
This slide from reluctant tolerance of the Coalition to naked hatred is clearly linked to the barbaric
assault on Falluja in 2004, which was ordered directly by the White House and the Department of
Defense after the bodies of four American defence contractors were hung from a bridge in April
2004. The ferocity of the attack by the US marines convinced large numbers of Iraqi Sunnis that
their enemies were the Americans. The situation in the country as a whole has never seriously
improved since then, and Falluja itself has still not been entirely subdued.
Remember, GW Bush said last year he would accept nothing less than complete victory in Iraq.
Wishful thinking, indeed!! It seems more and more a case of determining when to cut their losses,
pack up and go home - and the sooner the better, for Iraq and the world.


Live appearance by Nasrallah:
Hizbollah's leader Hassan Nasrallah has made a live speech during a victory rally in south
Beirut in front of several hundred thousand supporters, who had come from all over Lebanon.
Nasrallah spoke for over an hour, said that Hizbollah would never disarm unless Lebanon could
defend itself, called for a new government of national unity, condemned America and Israel, said
"We have made one of the strongest armies in the world look like rats", and generally looked and
sounded very impressive and in control of the situation.
Given that Israel has threatened to kill him anywhere, anytime, anyhow, it was both an extremely
brave and defiant appearance by this charismatic and astute man.
I have said it before: were I Lebanese, I would vote for Hizbollah/Nasrallah.


At the UN General Assembly:
-In devastingly frank terms, Lebanese President Emile Lahoud has criticized the UN for failing
the "barbarous aggression" by Israel, and said Israeli fighter jets and bombs had targeted mostly
civilians "killing and maiming thousands and destroying all that made Lebanon a viable state.
This aggression became even more cruel when it won the tacit approbation of certain great
powers. The UN Security Council looked powerless to stop the slaughter of Lebanon's children
and protect the peace in Lebanon and the Middle East", he criticised the time taken by the UN
Security Council to agree resolution 1701 which led to the ceasefire between Israel and Hizbollah,
he welcomed investigations into Israel's indiscriminate use of cluster bombs during the war, and
showing a picture of a child killed in the conflict, he asked: "How many children like this one here
are going to die because nobody does anything for them?", he said peace in the Middle East could
not be achieved without addressing the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which he said was the "root
cause" of regional instability, and he also said: "Despite the horrid events in Lebanon, a window
of opportunity has presented itself and should be fully exploited".
I completely agree with all except the last point: a window of opportunity for the ME?
Where and how? Please prove me wrong!

-Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez was in cracking form, saying of GW Bush, who had spoken
from the same podium the day before: "The devil came here yesterday - right here. It still smells
of sulphur today", he said Bush promoted "a false democracy of the elite", a "democracy of bombs
and he came here talking as if he were the owner of the world", he said the UN in its current form
"doesn't work, I don't think anybody in this room could defend the system, let's be honest, the UN
system born after World War II collapsed, it's worthless".

-Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad spoke scathingly of the Americans and the British
for abusing their power to manipulate the UN Security Council and protect themselves from
accountability, he accused the two of being "prosecutor, judge and jury" whenever they have a
difference with another country but they use their privileged position whenever the international
body tries to hold them to account. "Which of the organs of the UN can hold them to account?
Can a council in which they are privileged members address their violations? Has this ever
happened?", and he said "some sought to rule the world relying on weapons and threats while
others lived in perpetual insecurity and danger".
"As long as the UN Security Council is unable to act on behalf of the entire international community
in a transparent, just and democratic manner, it will neither be legitimate nor effective" he said a
few hours after GW Bush's appearance.
Hear hear, well said Nejad!!


Those comments by the Pope:
I intend to write a longer article on this, inshallah, but in the meantime-
Like his predecessor John Paul II, whom I greatly admired, Benedict XVI is a man of razor-sharp
intellect and vast learning. It is therefore inconceivable that he was not aware of the effects that
this quote would generate in the Muslim world, and it is no defence for him to say, though correctly,
that during his speech in Regensburg he pointed out twice that what he said was a quote, and one
from long ago.
Having downloaded his speech and read it several times, I am surprised that he incorporated that
old quote at all - there was no real need for it in the speech, which was a fairly brief discourse on
religion and reason versus religion and violence.

We are asked to believe that Benedict encourages inter-faith dialogue, in which case it was crassly
unimaginably unforgivingly stupid to select and actually USE this quote in a public speech, given
the current world situation. Instead of repeating somebody else's deeply offensive remarks about
Islam's Prophet (pbuh), he should go down on his knees and beg forgiveness for the countless
unspeakable atrocities committed by the Christians in the Old World and the New, all done in the
name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost. If Benedict's main point was that Christianity is
a religion of reason and Islam is a religion of violence, or just to invite sincere discussion on the
topic starting from that premise, then it is a fatally flawed and pathetically biased point of departure,
totally unworthy of the current Pope.

Although he has now formally apologized, as I understand it, he has only apologized for the hurt
and not actually for saying what he said, and I for one am not impressed. He has now met Muslim
envoys in order to calm tempers, but that has not stopped Muslim leaders in Pakistan calling for
his resignation.
The whole sad story was incredibly inept and looks ominously like a premeditated provocation,
just like those dreadful cartoons of Muhammad (pbuh) indisputably were, however much they
may all protest their innocence.
It lends credibility to those persistent conspiracy theories that Christianity, led by the Catholic
Church, and the collective West, led by the US are running (read: ruining!) the world, in a
symbiotic relationship, through behind-the-scenes governments-within-governments, through
secret societies like Opus Dei and the Bohemian Grove - don't rule anything out!!


Tony Blair condemns anti-US feelings:
In a pamphlet, based on three major foreign policy speeches he has made this year,
Tony Blair has said the following:
"The strain of, frankly, anti-American feeling in parts of European politics is madness when set
against the long-term interests of the world we believe in. The reality is that none of the problems
that press in on us can be resolved or even contemplated without America".
He voices the opinion that there is a danger some countries will "pull up the drawbridge and
disengage", suggested that those with anti-US views join him by becoming "involved" and
"engaged" in tackling global issues such as terrorism and while the "war on terror" is
"unconventional", he believes it can be won by promoting values as much as through using force.

He concedes that mistakes have been made in the past in attempts to defeat extremism around the
globe but countries "are not being bold enough, consistent enough, thorough enough in fighting for
the values we believe in" and believes there will never be real support for "tough action" against
extremism unless global poverty, environmental degradation and injustice are tackled with equal
vigour and he also calls for an alliance of moderation "that paints a future in which Muslim, Jew
and Christian, Arab and Western, wealthy and developing nations can make progress in peace
and harmony with each other".

Same old arrogant rubbish from possibly the best Vice President that America has ever had!!

Even to the casual observer, it must be obvious that America is directly responsible for many
of the world's biggest and most pressing problems, ironically and perversely in precisely the
areas mentioned by TB - extremism, injustice, poverty, the environment.
Or am I missing something?

The classic definition of propaganda is: repeat the same obscene lies so often that the masses
believe them. Hitler's NAZI Germany was brilliant at it, so was Stalin's Soviet Union - today we
have Bush + Blair + the (other) Zionists.
Or am I missing something?

25 September 2006:

Catching up on the news:

US report on Iran "dishonest":
The UN nuclear watchdog the IAEA has protested to the US government over a report on Iran's
nuclear programme, calling it "erroneous" and "misleading". In a leaked letter, the IAEA said a
congressional report contained serious distortions of the agency's own findings on Iran's nuclear
activity and the IAEA also took "strong exception" to claims made over the removal of a senior
safeguards inspector.

There was no immediate comment from Washington over the letter.

But a member of the House intelligence committee, which released the report, said it had never
been meant for release to the public: "This report was not ready for prime time and it was not
prepared in a way that we can rely on. It relied heavily on unclassified testimony".

The IAEA letter raises objections over the committee's report released on 23 August and says the
report was wrong to say that Iran had enriched uranium to weapons-grade level when the IAEA
had only found small quantities of enrichment at far lower levels.
The letter takes "strong exception to the incorrect and misleading assertion" that the IAEA removed
senior safeguards inspector Chris Charlier for "allegedly raising concerns about Iranian deception"
over its programme. It said Mr Charlier had been removed at the request of Tehran, which has the
right to make such an objection under agreed rules between the agency and all states.
He remains head of a section investigating Iran, the IAEA says.
The letter went on to brand "outrageous and dishonest" a suggestion in the report that he was
removed for not adhering "to an unstated IAEA policy barring IAEA officials from telling the whole
truth" about Iran.
The letter, sent to the head of the House of Representatives' Select Committee on Intelligence,
was aimed at setting "the record straight on the facts" the IAEA said.
"This is a matter of the integrity of the IAEA and its inspectors" a spokesperson said in a statement.

Remember, the IAEA and the US clashed over intelligence that Saddam Hussein had weapons of
mass destruction in the lead-up to the war in Iraq in March 2003???
Yes, we have been here before - all lies and deception. What is the solution? Impeachment of
GW Bush, prosecution of all the major players in his Administration and, if found guilty, send them
to Guantanamo!!


On Hamas' refusal to officially recognize Israel:
Given Israel's illegal and barbaric behaviour over decades, seeking its destruction seems to
me to be a laudable goal. The time is LONG overdue for the civilised world, should it still exist
somewhere, to remove Israel from the illegally occupied territories with massive military force,
just like Saddam Hussein was removed from Kuwait. Can anyone think of a single reason to treat
Israel differently? Always using "security concerns" as its feeble excuse, Israel is forever committing
crimes against the Palestinians which would not be tolerated anywhere else in the world.
What can we do? Nearly half of Israel's total external trade is with the EU and you can help petition
the EU to terminate its agreements with Israel if you go to Petitions . It is free and if enough of us
do it, it CAN force a change. Please help! Justice for the Palestinians!! Free Palestine!!!


On Ahmadinejad's comment to "Wipe Israel off the Map":
It now appears that the translation chosen by the Western media, largely owned-controlled-directed
by Zionist and Christian interest groups, was misleading and incorrect.

According to this new information, the closest reasonable approximation would not come out as:
"Israel should be wiped off the map" but "Israel should be cleared from the scene of the world",
the proper meaning of which is: reduce Israel's influence, which I hope we can all agree is
substantially different to, and much milder than, the face value of the words "Israel should be wiped
off the map". But the damage has been done, everyone is now happily repeating the original
version, from the UN General Secretary to GW Bush to Tony Blair to Olmert and even the EU.


On the "American Map of the New ME":
To any clear-sighted observer, the US+Israeli "blueprint" for a new ME has indeed suffered a major
setback thanks to the steadfast resistance of Hizbollah, fighting the unstoppable Israeli army to a
standstill in the hills of south Lebanon, and we should all be grateful for that, even if we do not live
in the region. This was not terrorism defeating legality, it was right defeating wrong, it was decency
and honesty standing up to and defeating barbarity and deceit, and it will undoubtedly have long-
lasting effects, throughout the region and beyond, InshaAllah.
On the point, whether Hizbollah's fighters should be incorporated into the Lebanese army:
it is certainly one option, they are clearly much better than the army, they would give it a much-
needed boost, plus Hizbollah would grow in status throughout Lebanon which should help it in
future elections. Whether Hizbollah really would want to merge with the official armed forces is
an interesting point. No doubt much thinking has already been done on this very subject.
I have said it before: if I were Lebanese, I would vote for Nasrallah-Hizbollah.


On the news that it is now officially acknowledged in America both that there was no link between
Saddam Hussein and al-Qaeda and, separately, that secret detention facilities do indeed exist
(so obviously there must also be secret flights to these "non-existent" prisons).

Is it still possible to find Americans who believe a word of what their Administration tells them?
This is another obscene lie unmasked, and logic told us all the time that there could be no practical
relationship between Saddam's Iraq and al-Qaeda, on ideological grounds alone.
Yet another lie unmasked being the sudden acknowledgment that secret detention facilities did
indeed (and maybe still do??) exist outside the US - on this last issue, the Europeans also have
a lot of exceedingly interesting questions to answer!!
Nothing surprises us anymore but we still want to know the truth of what our governments do
"on our behalf", however embarrassing, inconvenient or painful that truth may be.
Looking the other way and covering our ears is no longer an option, neither on this nor the other
side of the Atlantic. Will anything be changed for the better after the November elections in the US?


Five years since 11 September:
Did you know that on the FBI website, Osama bin Laden is still not officially wanted for ANYTHING
in connection with Sept. 11, the FBI-poster is dated June 99, Revised November 2001.
Very strange, isn't it!
Whilst some murky kind of symbiotic relationship between al-Qaeda and the US Govt cannot be
ruled out entirely, I would be very surprised and am inclined to believe, despite ObLs half-claims
to be responsible, that it was primarily and maybe entirely an inside job by the neoCons and
Mossad, a classic "false-flag" operation.
Most intriguing question perhaps: what happened to all the passengers on the 4 planes, were any
remains found, identified and properly buried or did they all simply disappear? One WTC-survivor
is adamant that the plane he saw slam into the building a few floors below him had no side windows
and, if true, it must have been the cargo version of that plane - and the others?
Are the 4 "hi-jacked" planes and their passengers resting on 4000m water on the bottom of the
Atlantic Ocean maybe?

Bush and Cheney should once and for all tell America and the world what they know about 11
September 2001 and if they will not speak about it willingly, tens of millions of Americans should
DEMAND that they do:
- where was Cheney that morning and why had he, the Vice President, temporarily assumed overall
command of NORAD on 1 June (this has never happened before in US history)?
- where was NORAD? It is simply not credible that several large planes could go walkabout in
American airspace for over an hour unnoticed, unchallenged, unhindered.
- what really hit the Pentagon? Surely not a large commercial aircraft!
- what caused the towers, WTC1+2+7, to collapse at virtual free-fall speed? Never before nor since
has any tall steel-skeleton (external+internal!) building collapsed due to impact or fire - incredibly
and mysteriously, the only 3 ever to do so did it on this very day!!
To anyone who believes in the laws of physics, the only plausible explanation is expertly planned
and exquisitely executed controlled demolitions.
Study the newsreels carefully and repeatedly: you can SEE it!!
See my Links page.


"100 Taliban Killed":
We hear these stories from Afghanistan almost every day at the moment: that Coalition Forces
have killed a great number of "Taliban" or "terrorists" or "enemies of Afghanistan" and only 1
Coalition soldier was killed. What we don't hear is how many of those locals were civilians and
not fighters. How long will the Coalition stay on in Afghanistan?
The invasion was clearly illegal, the "war" is clearly un-winnable, as wars in mountainous countries
always are, always were and always will be. Small wonder that the fiercely proud locals (+ their
Islamic brothers-in-arms from near and far) want the foreigners out, is that really so difficult to
understand? All that shows is that the locals are normal human beings: nobody likes or wants
to be occupied and told what to do. The more Coalition soldiers are killed, the sooner the
populations in their home countries will say: enough is enough and demand the troops home
and leave Afghanistan to the Afghans.

23 September 2006:

Catching up on the news:

Howard's call to Australian Muslims:
Australian PM John Howard has called on moderate Muslims to be more critical of terrorism.
In comments to mark the anniversary of the 11 September 2001 attacks in the US, Mr Howard said
"We gather to reaffirm our commitment both as friends and allies of the people of the United States
but also as citizens of the world to maintain the fight against terrorism". And he said that no decent
genuine Muslim would support terrorism, that what happened five years ago was "an attack on the
values that the entire world holds in common", and that Muslims must fully accept that Israel had a
right to exist. "If we could reach a settlement whereby there was a total acceptance of Israel's right
to exist and also the establishment of a Palestinian state which was fully recognised, that would
remove one of the arguments used by the fanatics".

In a newspaper interview he insisted: "We are not attacking Muslims generally but you have to call
terrorism for what it is - it is a movement that invokes in a totally blasphemous and illegitimate way
the sanction of Islam to justify what it does. On occasions, the moderate Muslims should come out
and be more critical of terrorism. We shouldn't pussyfoot around".

Not surprisingly, Australian Muslim leaders have reacted angrily to the comments, saying John
Howard should not single out Muslims for criticism. "Instead of constantly singling out Muslim
people, he should be trying to promote cohesion" the president of the Islamic Friendship
Association said.

I don't know about you but I find it increasingly difficult to listen to comments like Howard's, which
sound of course just like those of George W Bush, Tony Blair, Angela Merkel and Danish PM
Anders Fogh "JyllandsPosten" Rasmussen.
Howard is quite right to say we shouldn't pussyfoot around:
No decent person, regardless of faith, would support state-terrorism which invades and occupies
sovereign nations on a pack of lies, as was indisputably the case with Afghanistan and Iraq -
so what exactly are those "common values" that they all parade and hide their atrocities behind??
Out with it, we have a right to know!!
As for Israel's right to exist, we could talk about that if ever the day comes when Israel proves
itself capable and willing to behave in a civilized manner and that must of necessity include abiding
by international law, of which UN resolutions are just one part. Israel is living by the very same
tactics that are called terrorism by the oh-so-civilized world, yet, mysteriously, Israel's continued use
of those tactics is not only tolerated and defended by the West but, incredibly and insanely, funded
by the West as well.
Unless and until Israel is brought to heel, don't talk to me of Western values, don't talk to me of
Islamic terrorism!
Long live Ismail Haniya and Hamas and Hizbollah!! Free Palestine!!!

(Mr Howard is of course a close ally of G W Bush and has sent Australian troops to both Iraq
and Afghanistan as part of the US-led so-called "War on Terror" - more body-bags please).


In an NBC television interview, US VP Dick Cheney has strongly defended the administrations
major policy decisions, like the invasion of Iraq. He said he now recognizes that the insurgency in
Iraq was not "in its last throes" as he said in May 2005 but "I think there is no question but that we
did not anticipate an insurgency that would last this long. It's still difficult. Obviously, major, major
work to do is ahead of us. But the fact is, the world is better off today with Saddam Hussein out of
power. Think where we'd be if he was still there".

Really? Is the world better off now? And if Saddam Hussein was still in power?
Obviously, tens of thousands of Iraqis would still be alive, Iraq would be a much safer place for all
but a tiny minority, the Middle East would be a safer place, the world, and therefore America, would
be safer - but I guess none of that is of any interest to this evil man so long as his evil actions help
to further his evil agenda, which quite clearly is American world domination.

The above should not be taken as my admiration or endorsement of Saddam Hussein, he was
clearly a brutal tyrant and a dictator - and also a former buddy and business-partner of the West,
in particular the USA! Perfect bed-fellows! So obviously he was NOT removed on humanitarian
grounds but for reasons of geo-political aspirations.

In the same interview, Cheney challenged polls suggesting that a majority of Americans no longer
believe the Bush administration's claim that the war in Iraq is the central front in the fight against
terrorism. "I think we've done a pretty good job of securing the nation against terrorists. You know,
we're here on the fifth anniversary (of the 9/11 attacks). And there has not been another attack on
the United States. And that's not an accident, because we've done a hell of a job here at home.
I don't know how much better you can do than no, no attacks for the past five years".
He said the US had done a good job on "homeland security, in terms of the terrorist surveillance
program we put in place, the financial tracking we put in place, and because of our detainee policy".

What a shameless demagogue! The reason there has been no further attacks on America at home,
is because 11 September 2001 was an inside job - don't take my word for it, there is now a wealth
of indisputable evidence available on the internet (see Links page).

Cheney disputed that he ever directly said Saddam had any role in the Sept. 11 attacks.
He defended his past statements both on links between Iraq and the al-Qaida network, and on the
existence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, saying the pronouncements were based on the
best intelligence he had at the time. No such weapons were found, nor is there clear evidence of
links between Saddam's government and Osama bin Laden's organization, in fact, most serious
observers would positively rule out any direct co-operation between them on ideological grounds
alone. And, as we know, the CIA actually engineered the "intelligence" to suit the White House.

Cheney was asked whether there are more terrorists in the world now than there were before the
Sept. 11 attacks: "It's hard to say. Hard to put a precise number on it" was his evasive answer.

Asked if the US would still have invaded Iraq had the CIA said that Iraq had no weapons of mass
destruction in 2003, incredibly Cheney answered yes. Why? His obscene excuse: "Iraq had the
capability of obtaining such weapons and would have done so once UN penalties were eased".

Well, you can't get clearer than that, can you? Regime change was the objective and it did not
matter one bit what Saddam did or did not do.
The real terrorists, dictators and brutal tyrants here are the leaders of America, hell-bent on forcing
their perverse views and "values" on the rest of the world.


Tony Blair in Israel-Palestine-Lebanon:
After talks with the UKs Tony Blair, Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas has said he is ready
for an "unconditional" meeting with the Israelis, which comes a day after Israeli PM Ehud Olmert
also said he was prepared for talks without conditions.

Mr Blair stressed the importance of the Palestinians forming a government of national unity that
recognised Israel and he babbled on about a "window of opportunity" for talks and "We have a
plan to get there - the Roadmap". What utter rubbish!
Why must the Palestinians form a so-called "unity" government when the free and fair elections in
January produced a clear indisputable majority for Hamas?
How about Israel finally recognizing the legal rights of the Palestinians to their land, and the right
of return or suitable compensation?
Not a word from Blair about the Hamas MPs and Cabinet Ministers detained illegally by Israel!
And Blair chose not to meet with the elected government or the PM Ismail Haniya - surely a
minimum requirement for any meaningful visit.

As for that Roadmap, it is no coincidence that it rhymes with Load-of-Crap!
Why does anyone expect and insist that the Palestinians take any notice of it when Israel never did?
The Road Map, which has been consistently and systematically violated by Israel, is still touted as
"the only way forward", whereas in truth it was irrelevant from day one, mainly because of the
contents of "that letter" which Bush gave to Sharon, in which Bush promises to support the perverse
and illegal Israeli view that what the rest of the world defines as the Occupied Territories, are in fact
"disputed territories", a fundamentally different status and one which, at a stroke, pulls the carpet
from under the feet of the Palestinians. Just like the West has abandoned the Palestinians, the
Palestinians should abandon the West and turn exclusively to the Islamic world.

As for meeting with Blair, Abbas should have refused and told him to stay away instead.
Mahmoud Abbas may be a nice old man but that is NOT what the Palestinians need to make vital
decisions on their behalf, besides, as I read the situation, Abbas is very much yesterday's man and
largely irrelevant.
How can Abbas even consider meeting with the brutal men who currently daily slaughter Palestinian
men, women and children? More than 200 Palestinians have died in recent attacks, the vast
majority of them civilians.
Imagine such a meeting: "Oh, good day to you Mr. Olmert, pleased to meet you again, how are you
this fine morning and how many Palestinians have you killed so far today?".
It would be absolutely grotesque and absurd for such a meeting to take place for the time being.

Blair said: "So far as I am concerned, this issue [the whole conflict], which I believe passionately in,
will be as important as any other priority for me in the time that remains for me in office".
Fine words, as usual, but he has no positive role to play here because, as he has proven again and
again and again, he is Israel's man, bought and paid for by the Zionists.

About Tony Blair urging Palestinians to form a government of national unity, his remarks are the first
suggestion that a broader Palestinian government, which still included Hamas, would be acceptable.

"I believe that such a government, based on the Quartet requirements, does offer the possibility of
re-engagement by the international community" Blair said. Again, utter rubbish!! The Quartet
requirements are outrageous and indirectly blame the Palestinians for the stalemate in "peace"
negotiations whereas, even to the casual observer, it is totally obvious that Israel will ALWAYS
add one more condition or obstacle, or engineer a situation, which makes it impossible for any
self-respecting Palestinian to accept.

Predictably, in a statement issued shortly after the Blair-Abbas news conference, Hamas rejected
calls to moderate its anti-Israeli position when spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said the group was ready
to form a coalition government with the Fatah movement but "not according to standards that are

Perplexingly, a spokesman for Tony Blair said: "The purpose of this visit was to hear the views
from all sides so we came here today to hear the views of the Palestinian president".
So why did TB not want to meet the Hamas government???

Prior to his meeting with Abbas, Blair met with the families of Israeli soldiers seized in Gaza and
Lebanon and a spokesman said TB would raise the subject during his visit and hoped the men
would be at home to celebrate the Jewish New Year later this month. Some wish!!
Did TB also enquire about the Hamas MPs and Ministers in detention in Israel and the many
thousand Palestinians wasting away in Israeli prisons? Of course he didn't - but why not??

TB said similar outrageous irrelevant things in Lebanon and Beirut, and PM Fouad Siniora should
have refused to meet him at all - Blair, along with Bush, is directly to blame for the delay in
agreeing a ceasefire during Israel's grotesquely savage attack on Lebanon and therefore directly
to blame for hundreds of lives lost and billions of dollars in structural damage.


Now it's official - Cartoons row hits Danish exports:
Danish exports to Muslim countries have been hit hard by a row over cartoons depicting
the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), officials in Denmark say.

Statistics just released show that a Muslim boycott of Danish goods led to a 15.5% drop in
total exports between February and June 2006. Trade to the Middle East fell by half.
An industry chief said there was little doubt the cartoons row was to blame.

Publication of the cartoons in a Danish newspaper in September 2005 sparked mass protests
among Muslims worldwide.
In January, Muslims in a number of countries were urged to show their anger with unofficial
boycotts of Danish goods.

National statistics show that exports to Denmark's main market in the Muslim world, Saudi Arabia,
fell by 40% following the boycott, while those to Iran -its third largest market- fell by 47%.
Exports to Libya, Syria, Sudan and Yemen also suffered big falls.
The cost to Danish businesses was around 134 million Euros ($170m), when compared with the
same period last year.

Although I am Danish myself, don't expect any sympathy from me.
It will be interesting to see whether those exports start to pick up again as people "forget" -
I shall keep my readers posted in due course.


On reading an article on Al-Jazeera Magazine entitled "US Lacks Intelligence On Iran",
I could not help laughing and asked myself, excuse me, shouldn't the title of this article simply be:
"US lacks intelligence." .....???


Bush compares Bin Laden to Lenin and Hitler:
A few days before the 5th anniversary of 11 September 2001, and attempting to defend his foreign
policy in the run-up to the Congressional mid-term elections in November, in a speech to US military
officers, Bush said, as he quoted extensively from Bin Laden and other al-Qaeda figures:
"Underestimating the words of evil and ambitious men is a terrible mistake. The world ignored
the writings of Lenin and Hitler and paid a terrible price. The world must not do the same with
al-Qaeda. Bin Laden and his terrorist allies have made their intentions as clear as Lenin and
Hitler before them. But America and our allies can be confident of victory in the great ideological
struggle of the 21st Century because we have seen free nations defeat terror before".

The speech covered many of the same themes as his first address in his current five-speech series
defending his administration's so-called Global War on Terror.
He outlined a newly-updated "National Strategy for Combating Terrorism" document, which
includes objectives such as preventing future attacks and denying weapons of mass destruction to
"The best way to protect America is to stay on the offence. In the 1920s a failed Austrian painter
published a book in which he explained his intention to build an Aryan superstate in Germany and
take revenge on Europe and eradicate the Jews - the world ignored Hitler's words and paid a
terrible price".

Other goals in the US strategy include denying terrorists control of any nation or area they could
use as a refuge - an aim he linked to the continued US presence in Iraq and Afghanistan.
And with less than a week until America marks the fifth anniversary of the 11 September 2001
attacks, he again portrayed US policy in Iraq as part of a broad strategy to maker the country safer.
He defended the controversial Patriot Act and terrorist surveillance programme, which involves the
government listening in on calls between the US and foreign locations without the warrant which is
normally required. "If al-Qaeda is calling somebody in America, we need to know why in order to
stop attacks" he said to the applause of his audience.

Oh the folly and gullibility of the great American public!!!
And who should we compare GW Bush with, then?? Well, of course the obvious candidates from
recent world history are Stalin and Hitler - both of them forcing the most incredible schemes of
deception and propaganda on their largely unsuspecting populations, ruthlessly silencing opinions
deviating from the state's dictated norm. Well, isn't that what is happening in America now?
It is generally accepted that the Nazis themselves arranged for the Reichstag (Parliament) building
in Berlin to be burnt down, blaming the Jews for it, in order to better justify their persecution.
Does anyone still not believe that 11 September 2001 was, at least partially and probably entirely,
an inside job (suitably aided by Mossad!) but blamed on Islamic militants, in order to facilitate this
whole absurd and self-perpetuating self-fulfilling War on Terror?
For Hitler and his book Mein Kampf (My Struggle) substitute the ultra-right-wing neo-Cons and their
policy document 'The Project for the New American Century' and, if you are truly looking for the
historical perspective and connection, you are nearly there!!

GWB is quite right on one point of course: the world must not make the same mistake again and it
is therefore vital that all civilized nations stand up to, reject and defeat the ghastly nightmarish
visions for the world that constitutes the neo-Con agenda.
One glimmer of hope is that, in its ignorance and arrogance, America decided to make an enemy of
Islam which accounts for approx 20% (and rising, al Hamdu Lillah!) of humanity.
Currently, the so-called radical element within total Islam may be small but, as a direct and natural
healthy reaction to the very policies pursued so blindly and brutally by America AND its allies, as
sure as night follows day, that radical sector and percentage will grow and grow, probably within
most Muslim countries and societies around the world - what is America going to do about it in the
long term? Just 'blow them away' as is their primitive cowboy mentality?? But it will not be possible,
the idiotic occupying forces in Afghanistan and Iraq cannot even handle the situations there today
so in the longer term they will be compelled, either by a sudden dawning of reason or failing that
sheer Muslim power-in-numbers and anger, to retreat and withdraw. The sooner that the Great
Satan realizes and accepts that these self-inflicted wars are un-winnable, the better for this planet.
As a by-product of that, at a stroke, Israel would become nearly sensible and possibly even willing
to consider the merits of international law and UN resolutions, both ignored for so long.


Euro MPs make new Turkey demands:
Some EU leaders are lukewarm about Turkey's bid and European MPs have criticised Turkey's
slow pace of reform and said it should recognise the massacre of Armenians in 1915 as genocide
before joining the EU. A new report by the European Parliament's foreign affairs committee insists
there are "persistent shortcomings" in areas such as freedom of expression, as well as religious,
minority and women's rights.

Turkey began EU membership talks last year and its progress will be assessed by the European
Commission in October.

The Turkish foreign ministry responded by saying that elements of the report lacked realism, were
politically biased, and set conditions for membership that were anything but objective.

Armenians say 1.5 million of their people were massacred by Turkish troops as part of efforts to
drive them out of eastern Turkey in 1915, but Turkey has always denied this was genocide, and
insists the number of Armenian deaths has been exaggerated.

The EU has already warned of the potential failure of Ankara's membership bid and the MEPs
report says that accession negotiations could even come to a halt, and the EU contact person
on Turkey called the slowdown in reform regrettable and urged Turkey to make progress because
lack of progress would mean stagnation, and stagnation would mean regression.

Sounds familiar? It seems that the EU will continue to 'move the goalposts' so as to make it
impossible for Turkey to comply with the EUs "reasonable demands" which in turn of course
will lead to a collapse of accession talks, which undoubtedly a number of EU member state
governments -Germany, Austria and France among them- would love to achieve, whilst
conveniently being able to blame Turkey for the failure.

For my own views of this matter, see the brief article Turkey and the EU .


Israel to expand Maale Adumim:
This is not unexpected but it is tragic news for the Middle East and the world generally, and for the
Palestinians in particular. It is also bad news for Israel itself, if only the Zionist fools could see it.
On any occupied land, It is of course totally illegal to make any substantial changes which might
affect the outcome of a resolution. The pathetic Israeli argument is that the West Bank is not
occupied but disputed land - apparently, that is also part of the "secret" letter which GW Bush
gave to Ariel Sharon during one of his many visits to America. That argument at a stroke pulls
the carpet from under the feet of the Palestinians because Israel will then want to "negotiate"
over who is to have exactly what, as opposed to reluctantly face the facts of international law
and a batch of UN resolutions.
That argument, which is nonsense, goes like this: modern Palestine had come into being after
the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, was under British mandate, and without proper recognized
borders and was therefore not a sovereign state.
Leaving aside the legal details of that argument, it is crystal clear that neither the Gaza Strip nor
the West Bank was any part of the state of Israel authorized by the United Nations in 1948.
It therefore follows that Israel can lay no claims whatsoever to those lands, which are therefore
occupied territories, and correctly described as such by the international community which,
tragically, lacks the courage and the will to enforce its own laws when it comes to Israel.


Iran's Khatami condemns US foreign policy:
Iranian ex-president Mohammad Khatami is the most senior Iranian official to visit the US since
the severing of ties with Iran in 1979 and his visit upset Jewish groups and some lawmakers.
He was granted a visa with no restrictions and is expected to travel on to Washington and then
speak at events at the United Nations and Harvard University.

Speaking in Illinois at the annual convention of the Islamic Society of North America, which drew
tens of thousands of Muslims from across the US and Canada, Khatami, the most anticipated
speaker at the convention, delivered a scathing criticism of US foreign policy.

"Media Islam is the result of a one-sided understanding of Islam that is represented to us in a
solitary, cliched and vicious way. The political version of Islam that is displayed is merely an
imaginary version of Islam. What has been stated is a dark and false perception of Islam and
the East".

The behaviour of Western power was a key theme of the speech:
Mr Khatami referred to vast, all-encompassing powers that expressed concern for the world, but
implemented policies aimed at devouring it. And he directly criticised US policies, which he said
exploited "the grandeur of the nation and country of the United States for the subjugation and
domination of the world. As America claims to be fighting terrorism it implements policies which
lead to the intensification of terrorism and institutionalised violence".

It is impossible to disagree with these views and sentiments, they are undeniably true, just look at
Afghanistan and Iraq, Lebanon and Palestine.....

03 September 2006:

Mixed News:

GW Bush ramblings:
In one of a series of speeches in which GW Bush is defending his security strategy as mid-term
polls approach (November) he said victory in Iraq is essential to the US winning the "war on terror"
against the Islamist groups ranged against it.
The US would not leave Iraq until victory was achieved, he told military veterans in Utah saying:
"The war we fight today is more than a military conflict, It is the decisive ideological struggle of the
21st Century".

He said those who brought down the World Trade Center in New York five years ago were united
with car bombers in Baghdad, Hizbollah militants who shot rockets into Israel, and terrorists who
had recently attempted to bring down flights between Britain and the US.

"Despite their differences, these groups form the outline of a single movement, a worldwide network
of radicals that use terror to kill those who stand in the way of their totalitarian ideology. And the
unifying feature of this movement, the link that spans sectarian divisions and local grievances, is
the rigid conviction that free societies are a threat to their twisted view of Islam".

Mr Bush said agreeing to calls from within the US to bring the troops home would create a disaster
in the Middle East. "Many of these folks are sincere and they're patriotic but they... could not be
more wrong. If America were to pull out before Iraq could defend itself, the consequences would be
absolutely predictable, and absolutely disastrous.
We would be handing Iraq over to our worst enemies - Saddam's former henchmen, armed groups
with ties to Iran, and al-Qaeda terrorists from all over the world who would suddenly have a base of
operations far more valuable than Afghanistan under the Taliban.
This war will be difficult, this war will be long - and this war will end in the defeat of the terrorists".

It is greatly to be hoped that he is right on that last point, for to anyone with eyes and ears, a brain
and a heart, it is obvious that the terrorists are Bush-Blair-Olmert etc!!


Talking to "Terrorists":
Five years on from the 11 September attacks, despite some significant "victories", the "War
on Terror" is far from "won". Although the nature of the current global "threat" is unprecedented,
historically governments have negotiated with "terrorists" they swore they would never talk to,
from the IRA and ETA to the PLO and the ANC.

So is it time to talk to al-Qaeda?
According to General Ali Shukri, former counter-terrorist adviser to King Hussein of Jordan, it is not
something that should be ruled out. "There is no harm in talking. Engagement is not endorsement.
Are the Americans prepared to wage war for the next 25 years?"

Few in America would agree: "We don't talk to terrorists, we put them out of business" is the
White House position.

One person who does agree with General Ali Shukri is the Harvard academic, Professor Mohamed
Mohamedou: "At some point we should create a space for a cogent, rational discourse that thinks
outside of this box. Responsible leadership calls for a more nuanced understanding".

But there are very few takers.
Although no-one is seriously thinking about MI6 or the CIA setting up back channels to Osama
bin Laden's cave, perhaps it is worth paying some attention to what he has been saying for the
past 10 years.
His statements are not about any Caliphate, a pan-Muslim state which is rarely mentioned, but
US support for Israel, its backing for "apostate" Arab regimes in the Middle East and the presence
of US troops in Muslim lands. In reality, the issue is US foreign policy.
In the words of Michael Scheuer, who headed the CIA's Bin Laden Unit before and after 11
September 2001, and who warned his superiors about the consequences of invading Iraq:
"The only indispensable ally Osama bin Laden has in terms of generating a worldwide Jihad is
US foreign policy. Without that, his task is almost insurmountable".
Hear, hear!! Scheuer always has such a wonderful turn of phrase!!


UN warns of Afghan opium bumper crop:
In a new report, the UN Office on Drugs and Crime is predicting a 6,100-tonne harvest of opium in
Afghanistan this year, cultivation is expected to rise by 60%, providing 90% of the world's supply of
opium, with much of the rise coming in Taliban strongholds in the south, such as Helmand province
which alone has seen an increase of 162% since last year, in parallel with a sharp rise in Taliban-
led attacks on the international troops (ISAF). Incredibly, the $2.7bn drugs trade accounts for about
a third of the total economy!
Rises also occurred in the north-east, where warlords and weak government were often to blame,
and only 6 of the country's 34 provinces are opium-free.

Office chief Antonio Maria Costa said after presenting his report to Afghan President Hamid Karzai:
"These are very alarming numbers. Afghanistan is increasingly hooked on its own drug, southern
Afghanistan is showing signs of collapse, public opinion is increasingly frustrated by the fact that
opium cultivation in Afghanistan is out of control, the political, military and economic investments by
coalition countries are not having much visible impact on drug cultivation", and he called on Karzai
to make "significant arrests and convictions" using the judiciary that the coalition has helped train
and establish.

A massive programme to destroy poppies and offer help to farmers to grow alternative crops has
been under way for two years.

On Saturday, Doug Wankel, director of the US drugs control office, warned that Afghanistan could
be "taken down by this whole drug problem. If this thing gets out of hand, you could move from a
narco-economy to a narco-state. Then you have a very difficult chance for this country being able
to achieve what it needs to as a democracy and a nation representing its people".

This whole scenario is extraordinary:
The increases in cultivation, production and harvest mentioned here are in addition to the massive
increases of previous years. In November 2004, nearly 2 years ago, I read a similar report and
wrote the following note:

"So, opium production has grown by about two thirds during this last year in Afghanistan and is
now back to the record levels of the past. Very strange isn't it when in the last year of Taliban
rule, although having no doubt financed their campaigns this way in the early years, they were
well on the way to eradicating it, applying their characteristic uncompromising methods, and
they may well have succeeded if they had not been eradicated themselves by the Coalition of
the Killing on the pretext that they were looking for Osama bin Laden & Co.

If this is what 'enforced democracy' does to a country which has never known it, probably does not
need it, may not even want it and, if established, it almost certainly will not last, then all I can say is:
More poppies please so long as it all ends up as heroin on the streets of western cities!"

I make absolutely no claims to be a prophet for the signs are there for all to see.
Two years later, I have nothing to add to that, I made no apologies for it then and I am not going
to do it now.


14 UK troops die in Afghan air crash:
Twelve RAF personnel, a Royal Marine and an Army soldier were on board the RAF Nimrod MR2
reconnaissance plane, based at RAF Kinloss in Scotland, which came down about 20 km west of
the city of Kandahar, Maj. Scott Lundy of ISAF said.
There was no indication of an attack on the plane which was supporting a Nato mission.
It went off the radar and crashed in an open area. The pilot is believed to have radioed ground
staff about a technical fault shortly before the aircraft came down.

Officials said the incident appeared to be an accident and UK PM Tony Blair said it would
"distress the whole country. Our thoughts go out immediately to the families of those who have
British forces are engaged in a vital mission in Afghanistan and this terrible event starkly reminds
us of the risk that they face daily".

UK Defence Secretary Des Browne described the incident as "dreadful and shocking" news and
said the indications were it was a "terrible accident".
He also said: "People need to understand why UK forces are in Afghanistan. We are there in the
context of a UN resolution - at the request of the United Nations, Nato has taken on this very
difficult task. The developed world can't afford to allow Afghanistan to become a training ground
for terrorists again. The whole of the developed world knows that and that's why almost all of the
developed world -the whole of the civilised world- has troops and others present working with us
on this task."

Defence analyst, Major Charles Heyman, said: "It's a black day. It's a disaster for our soldiers on
the ground in Afghanistan. No other words can describe it. It's a big hit to morale. Believe me it
really does affect morale".

Commander of British Forces in Afghanistan, Brigadier Ed Butler, said recent loss of life has
caused "profound personal devastation for families, friends and colleagues".

Well, if it does seriously affect morale, that would be great!
As for Des Browne's comments, there those war criminals go again, calling themselves civilised and,
by implication, labelling anyone who thinks differently, UNcivilised, which presumably is sufficient
reason to blow them away. If it speeds up their retreat from Afghanistan, and of course from Iraq,
then the more coalition deaths, and the sooner, the better. As for the world's major terrorist training
grounds, look no further than Washington, London, Tel Aviv.

This crash brings the death toll of UK forces personnel in Afghanistan to 36 since the start of
operations in November 2001. Interestingly, more than 20 of those have died in the last few weeks.

Below is a brief overview of air crashes in Afghanistan during the last 16 months,
all but one of these were coalition aircraft:
31 August 2006 - Dutch F-16 fighter pilot dies in crash in south of country
27 July 2006 - 16 people of multiple nationalities die in helicopter crash in south east
6 May 2006 - 10 US soldiers die in helicopter crash in Kunar province
24 April 2006- Five die when US anti-drugs plane crashes in southern Afghanistan
11 November 2005 - Civilian cargo jet from Bagram crashes killing eight
25 September 2005 - Five US soldiers die in Chinook crash in Zabul province
16 August 2005 - 17 Spanish soldiers die when Cougar helicopter crashes near Herat
28 June 2005 - 16 US soldiers die in Chinook crash in Kunar province
6 April 2005 - 15 US soldiers and three civilian contractors die in helicopter crash in Ghazni province

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