Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Big News; Small Exposure

This is an interesting little titbit about a dam in Iraq, tucked away at the end of an article about the Blackwater mercenaries being granted immunity by the Bush junta:

In a separate development, the US congressional investigator into billions of dollars allocated for Iraq reconstruction, Stuart Bowen, today published a report that said a $27m (£13.5m) US effort to help Iraq repair the Mosul dam, "has yet to yield significant improvements".

There was a danger, he said, that the dam could burst, flooding large parts of Iraq, including Baghdad, with the risk of hundreds of millions being killed [my emphasis].

The US army corps of engineers assessment is that Mosul could end up under 65ft of water and Baghdad 15ft.

Surely this should be FRONT PAGE NEWS??????

Why the hell is the story of the possible demise of hundreds of thousands more Iraqis, hidden away in a barely related story?

Is the fact that the bastard mercenaries of Blackwater may get away with murdering 17 more Iraqi citizens, more important than the possible death of a million or more?

What they appear to be saying is that the money superficially allocated for 'reconstruction' has done another disappearing act, whilst the Mosul dam remains in a critical condition. If the dam bursts, then it has the potential to match or exceed the 1 million plus Iraqis already dead as a result of the invasion and occupation. FFS, how many BILLIONS have the spent on bombs destroying and killing in the last four years? A tiny fraction of that would ensure the safety of millions. The combined population of the two cities was estimated to be around 10 million in 2005.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Street Children

Thursday, October 25, 2007

The truth about Iran's nuclear co-operation with the IAEA

The pronouncements are grave. They talk openly of a nuclear weapon program and threaten Iran with dire consequences. Added to unproven allegations of interference in Iraq – galaxy size hypocrisy aside – it adds up to a massive campaign of rhetoric against Iran. So what is the truth about Iran’s nuclear capability? What is the International Atomic Energy Authority (IAEA) investigating in Iran and what have they found? Bear in mind that Iran is a signatory to the NPT and has opened its doors to IAEA inspection for years. Reading the IAEA reports it is hard not to reach the conclusion that the accusations against Iran are politically motivated lies, just as the nuclear accusations against Iraq were false. It is instructive to compare the actual findings of the IAEA with the hysteria in the media. Note also the media silence about the massive nuclear arsenal of Israel which gets automatic approval despite daily Israeli terrorism against civilians in Gaza and the West Bank. Presented below are some findings in the latest IAEA report. The report shows that Iran:

  • Has consistently co-operated with the IAEA inspections
  • Has supplied full and scientifically credible answers to technical questions regarding its operations
  • Has satisfactorily explained leakage and contamination problems
  • Has continued small scale testing with full knowledge of the IAEA
  • Has satisfied the physical inventory verification process
  • Has dismissed allegations about secret documents [no doubt like the infamous Iraq-Niger documents] that it has yet to see with claims about conversion of uranium dioxide to UF, high explosive testing and the design of a missile re-entry vehicle.
  • Questions remain on how it acquired P1 centrifuge technology in 1987; clarifications of dates; information on purchase of magnets for P2 centrifuges
  • Since 2006, Iran has not provided information about research on advanced centrifuges [since the campaign against Iran started].
  • The Agency has been able to verify the non-diversion of the declared nuclear materials at the enrichment facilities in Iran and has therefore concluded that it remains in peaceful use

Parts of the report are reproduced here:

Since May 2007, Iran has continued to test single centrifuge machines, the 10- and 20-machine cascades and one 164-machine cascade at the Pilot Fuel Enrichment Plant (PFEP). Between 17 March and 22 July 2007, Iran fed 14 kg of UF into the single machines; there was no feeding of nuclear material into the cascades. Since February 2007, Iran has fed approximately 690 kg of UF into the cascades at the Fuel

Enrichment Plant (FEP), which is well below the expected quantity for a facility of this design.

While Iran has stated that it has reached enrichment levels up to 4.8% U-235 at FEP, the highest enrichment level measured from environmental samples taken so far by the Agency from cascade components and related equipment is 3.7%. Detailed nuclear material accountancy, which is necessary to confirm the actual enrichment level, will be carried out when the product and tails are withdrawn from the cascades. As of 19 August 2007, twelve 164-machine cascades were operating simultaneously and were being fed with UF; one other cascade was operating without UF ; another cascade was being

vacuum tested; and two more were under construction. Since 22 March 2007, the Agency has implemented safeguards at FEP through interim inspections, design information verification, unannounced inspections and the use of containment and

surveillance measures (GOV/INF/2007/10). To date, four unannounced inspections have been carried out at FEP.

Plutonium Experiments

As agreed in the meeting of 11–12 July 2007, the Agency provided Iran in writing on

1 August 2007 with the remaining open questions regarding plutonium separation experiments carried out by Iran at TRR (GOV/2007/8, paras 20–21). On 7 August 2007, during a technical meeting in Tehran, Iran provided additional information on the neutron flux distribution for the reactor core…... Using this additional information, the Agency made revised estimates of the Pu-240 abundance that could be expected from irradiation of the targets. The revised estimates derived from this new information were not inconsistent with the Agency’s previous findings from samples taken during its investigations. Taking all available information into account, the Agency has concluded that Iran’s statements concerning these experiments are consistent with the Agency’s findings with respect to the dates, and quantities and types of material involved in the experiments (GOV/2006/53, paras 15–16). This issue is therefore considered resolved.

In the meeting on 7 August 2007, the presence and origin of high enriched uranium (HEU) particle contamination found in samples taken from the spent fuel containers at the Karaj Waste Storage Facility (GOV/2006/53, para. 17) was addressed. Iran has maintained that the reason for the contamination was leaking TRR fuel assemblies….

The data indicate that several control fuel assemblies had in fact leaked, and that the stated burnup matched that calculated for a majority of the HEU particles. The Agency has concluded, therefore, that the statements of Iran are not inconsistent with the Agency’s findings, and now considers this issue as resolved.

The Agency has finalized its assessment of the results of the physical inventory verification (PIV) of nuclear material at the Uranium Conversion Facility (UCF) carried out in March 2007, and has concluded that the physical inventory as declared by Iran was consistent with the results of the PIV,

On 12 July 2007, Iran agreed to the designation of five new Agency inspectors (GOV/2007/8, para. 23), bringing the total number of inspectors designated for Iran to 219. Iran also agreed to provide thirteen Agency inspectors with one year multiple entry visas.

In order to clarify certain aspects of the scope and nature of Iran’s nuclear programme, the Agency has requested discussions with Iran about alleged studies related to the conversion of uranium dioxide to UF, to high explosive testing and to the design of a missile re-entry vehicle (GOV/2006/15, paras 38–40). To that end, the Agency has offered to provide Iran with access to the documentation it has in its possession regarding such studies. As indicated in the work plan, while Iran considers the allegations “as politically motivated and baseless”, it has undertaken to review the documentation and to inform the Agency of its assessment thereof.

The Agency is able to verify the non-diversion of declared nuclear material in Iran. Iran has been providing the Agency with access to declared nuclear material, and has provided the required nuclear material accountancy reports in connection with declared nuclear material and facilities…..since early 2006, the Agency has not received the type of information that Iran had previously been providing, including pursuant to the Additional Protocol, for example information relevant to ongoing advanced centrifuge research.....

The work plan is a significant step forward. If Iran finally addresses the long outstanding verification issues, the Agency should be in a position to reconstruct the history of Iran’s nuclear programme.....

The Agency has been able to verify the non-diversion of the declared nuclear materials at the enrichment facilities in Iran and has therefore concluded that it remains in peaceful use. The Agency and Iran agreed that after the implementation of the above work plan and the agreed modalities for resolving the outstanding issues, the implementation of safeguards in Iran will be conducted in a routine manner.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Jaws 6: the return of the sharks

The weak and vulnerable in society are always the most likely to fall victim to people determined to profit from their vulnerable status. There have been plenty of warnings of fraudsters and loan sharks who charge exorbitant rates of interest to people desperate for some cash. In fact, at the beginning of the year Gordon Brown announced the nationwide extension of an anti-loan shark scheme. This involves giving advice and prosecuting people who are unlicensed money lenders offering illegal loans and threatening people.

However another dangerous but perfectly legal shark has now appeared on the scene and apparently neither the government or anybody else appears to object to their operations despite them charging interest rates that would make loan sharks envious. The first example is a company involved in the mortgage/remortgage business. They have been recently advertising a service where anybody who is in the process of a remortgage application to release equity can get hold of 50% of the debt free equity within 48 hours. After the mortgage process is completed, they pay back the loan plus 1% per week of the borrowed amount. That is a scandalous 52% rate of interest.

Another example I came across was a company offering loans via radio advertisements. At the end of the advert where they have to declare the APR by law, the figure was given as one-one-eight-eight percent. That is exactly how it was read out. That's not 1.188%, not 11.8%, not 118.8% but a staggering 1188% interest rate. I suppose they think people will not be able to figure out that one-one-eight-eight equals one-thousand-one-hundred-and eighty- eight. Where the hell are the authorities who are supposed to be policing this sort of thing? Probably busy planning now to prevent legitimate anti-war protesters embarrassing war criminal politicians or how to fit up some Asian teenager as an Islamic terrorist for surfing the internet for information supplied by Mossad.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Dirty Iran

The BBC appear to have a terminal obsession with allowing the UK establishment to perpetuate lies on its radio stations. I was unfortunate enough to catch some of the typical fare on the way home courtesy of its afternoon drive time show on Radio 5 - or five live as they call themselves. It involved Liam Fox from the Conservative bench teaming up with government minister Des Browne to launch a volley of unproven allegations against Iran, this time in Afghanistan. Fox, speaking in the commons, typically set up the question of Iran doing the dirty on our boys in Afghanistan and Browne followed up with stereotypical fervour.

Luckily enough, Fox was available for interview too, so that listeners could enjoy the reinforcement of the allegations. Allegedly, only Iran is sophisticated enough to make 'these types of weapons'. The accusations are so frequently aired that they don't even bother changing the script these days. They just use the search and replace feature on Word and voila, instantly Iran changes from simply being a supporter of terrorism in Iraq to also supporting the Shia-hating Taliban. The absurdity of the allegation doesn't prevent BBC presenters taking it seriously. So why exactly are they doing this? they ask. Even the introduction doesn't miss a trick - mentioning the 'current focus on Iran's nuclear weapons' before launching into the script. If Browne and co. ever make to trial for the shameless warmongering and butchery they are responsible for, then the BBC surely deserve a place in the dock as willing accomplices.

Fortunately, the story doesn't seem to have made it to the BBC online pages as yet. However, they do wade in with Cheney threatening Iran because of its non-existent nuclear weapons, Blair's accusations against Iran earlier in the week as well as Iran hanging some alleged criminals.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Peace from the barrel of a gun?

I don't know what sickens me most; the state of Pakistani politics or the western media who haven't a clue about what is going on and present it as a battle between terrorism and democracy. I guess the most sickening thing this week though was the brutal murder of over a hundred people in the streets of Karachi. Life has become cheap and politics so debased that opposition political supporters are considered no better than cockroaches. That is the attitude of the religious extremists who are traitors to their own religion though they claim to fight for it. That is also the attitude of secular politicians with the exception of minor parties such as that led by ex-cricketer Imran Khan.

The circus surrounding Bhutto's return to Pakistan was bound to end in tragedy. Her constant posing in Washington and ingratiating herself to the US establishment had one purpose only and that was to convince them that she was the most pro-US Pakistani politician and that she would give them whatever they wanted. While the yanks like nothing better than servile foreign leaders, they recognise from the past that even when she served as prime minister in the past, she had little or no control over the state. That control as ever lies with the military and the bureaucracy. Therefore, even if she ends up in the same position, there is no likelihood that she will be any better for Washington than any of Musharaff's puppets.

If you read the papers and keep in mind the media propaganda output as a litmus test of western political thinking, it will be clear to you that Pakistan is almost on a par with Iran as the next target for intervention. According to commentators, an embryonic terrorist state within a state is being born in northern Pakistan where Al-Qaeda sympathisers have the upper hand and violence and terrorism are the norm. As usual this is a cleverly concocted lie disguised as an evident truth. The only evidence you need for the scenario are to look at the guns and violence in the region. However, the NWFP has never been a particular peace loving region. Some Pathan tribes have been carrying guns for decades and indulging in murder and drugs behind a veil of fake religious fervour. The actions of Musharaff in sending troops to Waziristan have served only to stoke up the fires.

The real challenge is not to battle terrorism as an external shapeless deadly enemy gathering on the north western borders of Pakistan. The challenge is to rip apart the very foundations of the political establishment in Pakistan - root and branch - and to replace them with something that is consistent with real democracy (not a fake western imposed model). There has to be a negotiated an end to the warring in the region. Peace cannot be imposed from the barrel of a gun unless you intend to commit genocide. Frankly, it looks like an impossible job because the system owns the people. They are enslaved to the big parties or bullied into voting for them. They are brain-washed by the media and abused by the establishment. People grow old and cynical but the system recruits newer generations and perpetuates like an aggressive tumour.

Friday, October 19, 2007


Sunday, October 14, 2007


Interesting review here of 'Rendition', a film that uses the US practice of extraordinary rendition as the basis for a plot. The film reveals the huge lack of US understanding of militancy or 'terrorism' in the Islamic world. Take this passage for example:

But Rendition's ambitions stretch beyond America. The film attempts to expose the roots of terrorism, by exploring the back-story of the chief torturer, Abasi Fawal (Igal Naor), whose daughter Fatima (Zineb Oukach) is secretly dating an Islamist boy, Khalid (Moa Khouas), who has been radicalised by the knowledge that his father was tortured to death. Fawal tells Freeman: "We have a saying - beat your woman every morning. If you don't know why, she does."

The torture scenes are pretty grim as Fawal attempts to force El-Ibrahimi to explain why his mobile phone records show that he has been in contact with a known terrorist. Freeman is horrified at first, but gets used to the brutality fairly quickly, albeit not quickly enough for his boss Corrine Whitman, the CIA's Cruella De Vil-style head of terrorism (Meryl Streep). She calls when he is puffing away his troubles on a hookah in a belly-dancing bar. "You're new to this, aren'tcha?" Streep says. "This is my first torture," Gyllenhaal replies. "The United States does not do torture," Streep rebukes. Soon, Gyllenhaal is taking his frustrations out on the prisoner, strangling him after being called a coward.

Belly-dancing and wife-beating is fairly typical fare when it comes to stereotyping the middle-east. There appears to be little distinction between Arabs, Persians and other cultures in the world of cinema. The middle-east to these people, is one amorphous blob full of dark haired moustached or bearded people speaking guttural tongues and wearing strange white dresses. Whether you are a religious Pakistani or an armed Uzbek fighting against a brutal fascist dictator, the western world sees you as a threat and an exporter of 'Jihad', despite not even knowing what the word means. This probably a consequence of the successful Zionist propaganda campaign, which has completely infiltrated mainstream America and seeks to portray Muslims as an existential threat, no matter where they are from or what they actually think.

I also wonder at the purpose of this type of film. It certainly fails miserably to expose 'the roots of terrorism'. Apart from reinforcing stereotypes, this review appears to indicate that is an attempt to mitigate the disgusting practice of rendition and torture. It is basically saying that those damn terrorists are so darn bad, we are justified in abandoning our stated principles of fairness and justice (which are a myth anyway). Therefore, if they happen to get tortured to death by one our middle-eastern allies, then it is too bad. At the same time it shifts the blame for doing the actual dirty deed onto more smelly foreigners:

Robert Baer, a former CIA agent, explaining the process in brutal terms: "If you want a serious interrogation, you send a prisoner to Jordan. If you want them to be tortured, you send them to Syria. If you want someone to disappear - never to see them again - you send them to Egypt."
It's not even that surprising that Syria is named as one of the countries 'helping out' by carrying out torture on our behalf. This smoothly helps to reinforce their labelling as a terrorist state.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Jabba in the mines

I must be psychic. No sooner have I posted about diamonds and a diamond story pops up out of the blue. It involves the repulsive old toad Alisher 'Jabba the hut' Usmanov who in currently but unsuccessfully engaged in wiping Craig Murray off the cybermap. Craig merely mentioned that Usmanov was a crook with connections to a man that boils people to death, but rather than suing Craig, Usmanov issued legal papers against the website's ISP and others who propagated Craig's allegations. Usmanov apparently objects to anybody mentioning that he is a crook and has threatened any media outlet that should dare to divulge his criminal history.

The diamond story involves allegations against Usmanov, by an equally repulsive and filthy rich diamond cartel known as ADC. Apparently they are squabbling over the 'Grib pipe' a lucrative diamond mine in Russia.

Is there anything more revolting than obscenely rich people fighting over rocks whilst billions starve?

Monday, October 08, 2007

Diamonds are forever... a symbol of slavery

Sunday, October 07, 2007


What's this a picture of?

Traffic terrorism

Janessa Gans, a former US official reveals the behaviour of Blackwater drivers in Iraq:

"We would careen around corners, jump road dividers, reach speeds in excess of 100 mph and often cross over to the wrong side of the street, oncoming traffic be damned," she writes. "I began to wonder whether my meetings, intended to further U.S. policy goals and improve the lives of Iraqis, were doing more harm than good. With our drivers honking at, cutting off, pelting with water bottles (a favorite tactic) and menacing with weapons anyone in their way, how many enemies were we creating?"

Gans describes a particularly "infuriating" incident where the lead Chevy Suburban in her convoy allegedly crashed into a sedan ferrying an older man, a young woman and three children.

"As we approached at typical breakneck speed, the Blackwater driver honked furiously and motioned to the side, as if they should pull over," she pens. "The kids in the back seat looked back in horror, mouths agape at the sight of the heavily armored Suburbans driven by large, armed men in dark sunglasses. The poor Iraqi driver frantically searched for a means of escape, but there was none. So the lead Blackwater vehicle smashed heedlessly into the car, pushing it into the barrier. We zoomed by too quickly to notice if anyone was hurt."

"Where do you all expect them to go?" she allegedly cried. "It was an old guy and a family, for goodness' sake. Was it necessary for them to destroy their poor old car?"

How many of these incidents occur on a daily basis? How many die? There is simply no accounting for the disgraceful and murderous way in which Blackwater conducts its operations in Iraq. They are a law unto themselves.

I have actually seen videos of this type of driving in Iraq, available on Youtube. The footage is apparently from official US armoured vehicles driving recklessly often on the wrong side of the road and on pavements, causing pedestrians to throw themselves out of the way.

Saturday, October 06, 2007


I always enjoy the IgNobel prizes. They are just so much more fun than the Nobel ones. This year is no exception. I would love to know what was in the mind of the US military scientists who set about inventing the 'gay bomb'. Did they really think that the enemy would drop their guns and start... ahem doing stuff to each other?

Some of the research sounds off-the-wall but there is actually real science behind it. The study of bed bugs is not really that odd at all because there is actually a whole ecosystem in most of our beds.

One of my favourite winners is Glenda Browne who studied the word 'the' and its effect on sorting words into alphabetical order. I think that is no worse than the mathematician (whose name escapes me) who wrote an entire volume proving that 1 + 1 = 2 . They didn't have IgNobels in his day but I am sure he would have won one. However other mathematicians such as Mill reckoned that 1+1 can equal any number including 1596. I don't think he would been a convincing candidate for a job at the bank.

Equally delightful is the award for Kuo Cheng Hsieh who patented a device to catch bank robbers by dropping a net over them. I thought Batman already had that in his collection. Who was it that funded the team in the University of Barcelona, who showed that rats can't tell the difference between people speaking Japanese backwards or Dutch backwards? I thought research grants were difficult to get!

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Vultures party

Am I the only one already fed up with the Diana non-story?

More evidence of the mad and obsessive nature of the media. Why should anybody care to watch a video of some rich person who has been dead for a decade? Haven't any other people died in 10 years? When will we see the same kind of interest in the 1.2 million people dead in Iraq since 2003, or the millions dying in Africa from hunger?