google count

Friday, 23 July 2010

WMDs - Where the truth lies.

WMDs, Tony Blair and Eliza Manningham Buller

24 September 2002 – Tony Blair to the House of Commons:

“It (intelligence services information) concludes that Iraq has chemical and biological weapons, that Saddam has continued to produce them, that he has existing and active military plans for the use of chemical and biological weapons, which could be activated within45 minutes: and that he is actively trying to acquire nuclear weapons capability.”

25 February 2003 – Tony Blair to the House of Commons:

“The intelligence is clear. He (Saddam) continues to believe his WMD programme is essential both for internal repression and for external aggression. The biological agents we believe Iraq can produce include anthrax, botulinum, toxin, aflatoxin and ricin. All eventually result in excruciatingly painful death.”

20 July 2010 – Eliza, Baronness Manningham-Buller, Director General of MI5 2002 – 07 to the Chilcot Inquiry:

“The nature of intelligence – it is a source of information, it is rarely complete, it needs to be assessed, it is fragmentary… We were asked to put in some low grade, small intelligence to it (2002 dossier) and we refused because we didn’t think it was reliable.”

After the first Gulf War I tried to write an article about ‘Gulf War Syndrome.’ Super fit airmen and soldiers who had left for Kuwait and Iraq had returned unable to climb the stairs. The MoD was denying culpability. I interviewed some servicemen. One particular story I heard may shed some light on Saddam’s WMD capability.

I was told that a warehouse facility had been discovered in Komashia. The warehouse was filled with WMDs. Anthrax, plague, ricin (see Tony Blair’s statement to the House of Commons February 2003).

The airman who told me of this facility then said that it was decided to blow the warehouse to smithereens. Sortie after sortie left from forty miles away to bomb the warehouse in Komashia. Airmen, wearing little more than shorts and shoes, serviced the returning aircraft to send them back to carpet bomb the warehouse. He felt the blow back on the surface of the returning aircraft may have affected the airmen. The MoD weren’t interested in solving the real problem of ‘Gulf War Syndrome.’

I was then told that no inventory had been taken of what was in the warehouse in Komashia (the airman couldn’t spell it either).


‘Well work it out,’ he said. All the labels on the barrels were British, French and American labels – most of them in English. 'We gave those WMDs to Saddam when we wanted him to fight the Ayatollah Khomeini.' It would be too embarrassing to have a paper trail leading right back to the West in supplying Saddam with the very weapons he was using on the Kurds.

By not taking an inventory we didn’t know how many of the barrels we had given Saddam had been destroyed. We didn’t have the intelligence available to work out whether Saddam still had many or any of the WMDs we had originally supplied him with. We were groping in the dark. We had to assume had some WMDs stashed elsewhere, we just didn’t know. Because we decided the political fall out would be too difficult to explain when it became clear where those WMDs emanated.

That I feel is probably the plain truth. However it wouldn’t do to admit this to the Chilcot Inquiry, so we hear half truths from the players in the arena.

A little intelligence gathering of which airmen served in or near Komashia to bomb a warehouse, might reveal an unpalatable truth if those airmen were interviewed. One wonders whose truth the Chilcot Inquiry is seeking to uncover?

Are expensive Inquiries worth paying for?

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Complaint Against Town Clerk - response in full:

Letter Received from Town Council

I have received the following letter from Oakham Town Council in response to my complaints against the Town Clerk’s inability to be professional and competent, signed by the Mayor:

“Complaints Against the Town Clerk

I refer to your complaints against the Town clerk in your communication dated 26/06/10. Firstly let me apologise for taking my time in replying to you, but I am sure you will appreciate there were a lot of issues to be looked into.

In accordance with the Councils complaints Procedure sections 4 and 5, (detailed on the attached Appendix), I have considered all the issues you raised and discussed them all in detail with the Clerk. As a result of this I am satisfied that all matters you raised have been addressed and any necessary actions are being undertaken.

I will be reporting details of this complaint to the next Full Council Meeting.

Under section 6 of the Complaints Procedure if you are not satisfied with this response you are entitled to ask me to bring your complaint to the Full Council for full discussion. Please notify me in writing if this is the case, stating which parts of the complaint you wish to be brought to the Full Council.”

You will note that although it is claimed the matter has “been addressed” I am given no details of how this has been resolved.

I hear through rumour that the Town Clerk is to undergo further training. My confidence in the Town Council’s dysfunctional governance leads me to suppose that this is merely a sop and that the Town Clerk is irremediably incapable.

I have yet to receive any written denial of the slanderous rumour perpetrated against a Councillor. This matter is far more worrying and leads one to surmise that hushing up, covering up and an inability to address real problems is an endemic problem throughout the whole parish Council.

Until local citizens take it upon themselves to stand for election to get rid of the problems on Oakham Town Council there can be no resolution to the dysfunctional governance of this rump of a diseased local Government body. Contrary to rumours circulating I shall not be standing for election. I have seen how the whispering campaign and outright bullying of one Councillor has been conducted and have no wish to sit alone facing this diseased rump of local Government. Having said that I do have some respect for the Mayor, but feel that without a dedicated cadre of colleagues this Council will rumble on ineffectively and dysfunctionally forvever.

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

Boycott called against Israel

Having received several posting over the last few months regarding a boycott of Israeli goods and services, and having lived next to South Africa for much of my childhood and seen the efficacy of boycotts and peaceful activism I share this article from the Only Democracy with you today. Unfortunately by doing so I gather that Israel will probably ban me from entering her borders. Apparently those advocating this boycott are to be banned from visiting Israel. Now how in all logical reasoning does this make Israel a 'democracy?' Only totalitarian states are unable to tolerate political criticism.

"Only a boycott will persuade Israel
by Ayala Shani &Ofer Neiman

“Israel won’t change unless the status quo has a downside” – these words were written by journalist Tony Karon, a Jew from South Africa. This sentence reflects the rationale behind the broad BDS campaign – which includes sanctions, institutional boycott, and divestment – which has begun trickling down into public consciousness in Israel. Instead of a defensive, self-righteous response along the general lines of “the whole world is against us”, it would be best to learn the facts about the campaign and peer into the collective mirror, which reflects grievous and systematic violations of human rights and international law.
The current movement originally started with a call to action issued in 2005, signed by more than 170 organizations from Palestinian society: citizens of Israel, refugees in exile, and Palestinians living under occupation in the West Bank and in Gaza. The call to action was published in Hebrew, too, and citizens of Israel are requested to express their support of it. It is for this purpose that the Israeli group “Boycott! Supporting the Palestinian BDS Call from within” was founded.
The BDS movement that has developed in response to the Palestinian call to action does not have any formal, focal leadership. Regular citizens around the world, including many Jews, initiate activities and take part in them. The goal of the movement is to demonstrate to Israel the international community’s disgust and rejection of its actions, so that Israel will act for the immediate termination of the occupation, for the end of discrimination against the Arab citizens of Israel, and for recognition of the refugees’ right of return, as phrased in United Nations Decision 194. Elements of the oppression which the movement wishes to put an end to match the legal definition of the crime of apartheid – systematic and institutionalized racial separation, as practiced in old South Africa.
The movement does not promote any specific political solution (one state or two, the return of any particular number of refugees), but rather, strives to change in a nonviolent way the balance of power that makes it possible for Israel’s governments to violently withhold the basic rights of millions of people, and to renounce their accountability with unfounded statements (“the Arabs are to blame for the refugee problem”, “the settlements are legal”, “there is no siege upon Gaza”.)
It will be stressed here that the boycott is not a personal boycott on Israelis but rather, a boycott of official Israeli institutions and of events taking place under their auspices. Thus, for example, there is no call to deny an Israeli researcher her right to lecture abroad. There is a call to avoid holding international conferences in universities in Israel which proudly proclaim their contacts with the military establishment.
Is Israel being singled out? As was true about white South Africa, the world is justly sensitive to situations where a population that has civil rights determines the fate of a population which has neither civil rights nor the right to vote. Fairness is not always a feature of international relations, but Israel enjoys many international privileges, such as membership in the OECD. The citizens of China, where grievous human rights abuses take place, have never been given the opportunity to express a lack of confidence in the government that forcibly suppressed the student demonstrations in 1989. In contrast, the citizens of Israel cast their votes again and again for parties (including Kadima and the Labor Party) and governments under whose administration settlements are built, people are tortured and arrested for years with no trial, unarmed citizens are shot, and land and water resources are plundered.
Many people around the world ask, therefore, whether there is good reason for a normalization with Israel. Port workers in Sweden and Norway, countries which have historically been very sympathetic to Israel, refuse to unload Israeli container ships. Artists wonder why they must perform here and enhance the sense of “business as usual” when the very fact of their performance will be portrayed as support of Israel’s policy.
A deep-reaching public discussion is needed at this time, not only about the question of whether the boycott is or is not justified but about Israel’s policy. Many Israelis acknowledge the heinous acts being done in our name, under our very noses. It is appropriate for an effective and nonviolent campaign against these actions should have their support.
The authors are active in the Israeli group: “Boycott! Supporting the Palestinian BDS Call from within.”
This article was originally published in Hebrew in Haaretz Online, June 22 2010.
Ofer Neiman (a regular contributor to The Only Democracy?) and Ayala Shani published this article in Hebrew in Haaretz. As is often the case, the most interesting, and cutting-edge discussions, don’t get translated into the English version of the paper, perhaps in fear of offending sensitive Jewish American sensibilities? In any case, the article has been translated by Dena Bugel-Shunra, of Shunra Media. It was originally published in English in Jews Sans Frontieres."
Thank to Wikipedia for the map image of israel and the occupied territories.