Archive for July, 2013

Annie Machon: UK Spy Warns of Iraq War Disclosures

July 27, 2013

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Consortium News, July 25, 2013

Exclusive: For more than a decade since the Iraq invasion, President Bush, Prime Minister Blair and their senior aides have stuck to the story of innocent intelligence mistakes and evaded accountability. But the code of silence may crack if top British spy Richard Dearlove tells his story, says ex-UK intelligence officer Annie Machon.

By Annie Machon

In a surprising statement last weekend, the former head of Great Britain’s foreign intelligence-gathering agency, MI6, suggested that he might break the code of omerta around the fraudulent intelligence case – including the so-called “dodgy dossier” – that was used as the pretext for the Iraq War in 2003.

Sir Richard Dearlove, former head of MI6 and current Master of Pembroke College, Cambridge, contacted the UK’s Mail on Sundaynewspaper to state that he had written his account of the intelligence controversy in the run-up to the U.S./UK invasion of Iraq and indicated that he might release it in the near future.

Sir Richard Dearlove, former head of Great Britain’s MI-6 intelligence agency.

With the much-delayed official Chilcot Enquiry into the case for war about to be published, Dearlove is obviously aware that he might be blamed for “sexing up” the intelligence and former Prime Minister Tony Blair might once again evade all responsibility.

In the months before the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003, the British government produced a couple of reports “making a case for war,” as Major General Michael Laurie said in his evidence to the enquiry in 2011: “We knew at the time that the purpose of the [September] dossier was precisely to make a case for war, rather than setting out the available intelligence, and that to make the best out of sparse and inconclusive intelligence the wording was developed with care.”

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Trayvon Martin

July 23, 2013
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By Badri Raina

 

You forgot your Biblical lessons,

Dear boy; God being Light, all

Good things are white;

And Satan being the prince

Of darkness, being born black

Is a hopeless mess.

Against such black vicissitudes

Was a just law found that said

To the white killer, “stand your ground.”

Only some sixty million of your forefathers

Were  murdered in the slave trade;

Too many more are still left

To be made dead. Sinners are those

That think racism is bad.

Only when non-white trash gathers

Into a common cause is racism racism;

Zimmerman is merely God’s own prism.

From the Fuhrer he remembered how

The Swastika was not racist emblem,

But Zarathustra’s  declaration

That only a chosen some

Had right over life, death, and the fun

Born of  extermination; thus

Zimmerman was only furthering

The  pure Aryan nation.

Watch Obama hold his thinking head,

Wondering how to balance

The claims of white power with

The  piquant tragedy of the dead.

Statecraft is a matter of great

Consideration of how to do

The bidding of the endowed

Without seeming to do so.

Dear Martin that art now in the

Netherworld, from the Netherworld

Itself must issue forth a new light

That bids adieu to the jaundiced ray

That makes difference between

Zimmerman and you, and bears

Promise to make mankind

All of one hue.

badri.raina@gmail.com

Israel: EU Moves Against Illegal Settlements Threaten U.S.-Led ‘Peace Process’

July 19, 2013
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by Jeremy Hammond, Antiwar.com,  July 19, 2013

The European Union has proposed new guidelines for how it will do business with the state of Israel that will require any Israeli entity seeking funding or cooperation from the E.U. to submit a declaration that it has no links to any of the occupied territories. Any agreement between the E.U. and Israel would need to include a section stating that its settlements in the territories are not part of Israel. The guidelines, obtained by the Israeli daily Haaretz, state that “only Israeli entities having their place of establishment within Israel’s pre-1967 borders will be considered eligible for consideration.” Human rights organizations like B’Tselem and non-governmental organizations like Peace Now that work to promote peace will be exempt from the requirement not to have links to the occupied territories.

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The task for humanists in dealing with religion

July 17, 2013

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The following exchange of views took place between Farzana Khan and me on Facebook.  In an exchange of  our views she  raised some important points  and objections to the role of Islam in Pakistan.  Now I am posting my  last comment  with slight changes only in the first line along with her comment.

Nasir Khan, July 16, 2013

I quite understand the reason for Farzana Khan’s strong emotional reaction and response to the role of Islam within Pakistan or of other religions in other countries. When some socially-conscious Pakistanis see the negative role Islam and Islamists play in Pakistan then all the anger and frustration in her comments makes sense. This much I readily admit. However, my critique of religion as such is more than an emotional outburst.

Equally, it is important to be aware of the conditions under which different people reject Islam, Christianity or any other religion. They have different reasons for doing so. Those who have become atheists and humanists haven’t done so only out of hatred towards their respective religions. To assert so is to ignore some important facts.

The rejection by a thinking and inquisitive person of a religion’s teachings, dogmas and customs has more to do with the realisation that all such things are man-made and illusory. They are often ascribed to a heavenly authority in the form of a holy scripture through a human mediator. When we grasp this and explain it to others by logical reasoning then we are opening a channel for ideas and exploration where all truth claims of religions and theologies seem to be misrepresentations of reality. Thus the reasons for such a rejection come as a consequence of rational thinking, not hatred. Hatred in psychological, sociological and philosophical evaluation is merely an emotional reaction under certain stimuli; it has no epistemological significance. There is no place for it in any serious discourse relating to religion and its harmful impact.

When people come to the conclusion by their inquiries into the nature of religion that all religions are created by none but human beings then they know what religions are. This shakes the foundations of religion. Then it becomes obvious to many that the so-called holy books have not been delivered from any heavenly being simply because there is no heavenly being up there or anywhere, who is busy planning, managing, arranging and ‘revealing’ for humankind. When seen in this way, the whole question of accusing a god or what is written in a ‘holy book’ becomes meaningless except that if any charges we make in this connection are towards human beings who created gods, supernatural beings and the so-called holy books.

I think to combat religions and religious consciousness (in Marx’s words ‘obverse consciousness’) atheists in Pakistan should expose what the idea of god in reality is and how it is nothing but the creation of human mind. To attribute action or utterance to him is only a game with words. Moreover, it has to be explained in scientific terms and not as an angry response. When it comes to the social practice and dogmas of a religion, the same scientific spirit should lead the struggle against ignorance and manipulation in a world-religion like Islam.

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Farzana Khan, July 15, 2013

You mentioned, one should criticize all religions, not just Islam. OK, if a Christian from America becomes an atheist, he does not become atheist because of Islam. He becomes atheist because he dislikes Christianity. He dislikes God’s commandments. He dislikes what delusional god wants him to do and subsequently ultimately he becomes an atheist. He started speaking ill of Christianity that are causing hatred, discrimination and racism in his society. He becomes Atheist, because he has read the Bible and understood that it is not God’s words, but it is kinda myth.

Similarly, if a Muslim becomes an atheist, so it is not because of Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism or any other religion. He/she becomes an atheist, because he/she reads the Qur’an with translation and hadiths and he/she realizes, these cannot be the words of Allah or that Allah cannot be so cruel enough to let the Muslims keep fast in quite hot weather (who at the same time claims to love Muslims x 70 as compare to mother) or that he (Allah) wants Muslim girls to be in hijab all the time even in front of their relatives too while staying at home. So, if any of ex-Muslim speaks against Islam, he is kinda oppressed, suppressed and repressed by the Muslims. He/she faces the hatred, injustices and discrimination of Muslims, but not Christians or any other religion that you are talking about.

In a nutshell, one should have complete right to speak ill of religions, as religions keep abusing disbelievers also. The Qur’an abuses, hates, threatens disbelievers and tells their pious Muslims to kill disbelievers. You think, as an ex-Muslim we should be silent? We (Pakistani atheists) have got ample of knowledge about Islam and we are living in Muslim dominated society, so we should target Islam prior, as people are being victimized by this so-called peaceful religion in all the Muslims-dominated countries. If we do not attack on Islam, then what is the use of quitting religion? We are warriors, but peaceful warriors.

The Gods Above Us (a poem)

July 16, 2013

 

by Badri Raina

They had great faith in the gods
Dotting the hills and dales—
Those men and women who
Are now corpses.
Yet, not one among those that
Survived was heard to say
“the gods govern our conditions;
Not the government, not the builders,
Not the hoteliers, not the miners—
None of these are responsible, since
God willed it so.”
All of their moaning suggested
How unstuck they were with the gods
They believed in.
Of all the tangled flesh and bone
That lay mangled among the rubble,
One corpse stood out:
Bang in the sanctum sanctorum,
This young man, dead and askew,
Had open eyes full of consternation
Fixed searingly upon the god-in-chief.
It was as though in his moment
Of dying, his amazement at the deity’s
Uncaring repose was too much to hide.
He might have been thinking, “how
Could you let this happen?”
The bold accusation in his eyes,
Resentfully alive in his death,
Waits for answer.

Published in Outlook.india.com

Richard Falk: Global Big Brother and the Snowden Hollywood Chase

July 16, 2013

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Richard Falk,  July 16, 2013

I find the discourse surrounding the Snowden Affair bewildering. The latest reports suggest that the United States is using maximum political leverage, including coercive diplomacy, to discourage small Latin American countries from granting asylum to Edward Snowden. It is also complaining that Russia is giving Snowden ‘a propaganda platform’ and expressing its ‘disappointment’ with China/Hong Kong for its earlier refusal to expel Snowden back to the United States to face charges once his passport was cancelled.

This anger is misdirected.  Taking the overall situation into account, whatever anger has been generated by the Snowden Affair, should be directed at the United States for expecting other governments under the circumstances to transfer custody over Snowden. From almost every angle of relevant law, morality, and politics the human rights case for protecting Snowden against the long arm of American criminal law is overwhelming. Anyone who commits nonviolent ‘political crimes’ should almost always be entitled to be protected, and should certainly not be compelled to hole up in an airport transit lounge for weeks of anguishing suspense while governments sort out the interplay between dealing justly with Snowden and not upsetting the diplomatic applecart.

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Daniel Ellsberg: Snowden made the right call when he fled the U.S.

July 9, 2013
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By Daniel Ellsberg, The Washington Post July 8, 2013

Daniel Ellsberg is the author of “Secrets: A Memoir of Vietnam and the Pentagon Papers.” He was charged in 1971 under the Espionage Act as well as for theft and conspiracy for copying the Pentagon Papers. The trial was dismissed in 1973 after evidence of government misconduct, including illegal wiretapping, was introduced in court.

Many people compare Edward Snowden to me unfavorably for leaving the country and seeking asylum, rather than facing trial as I did. I don’t agree. The country I stayed in was a different America, a long time ago.

After the New York Times had been enjoined from publishing the Pentagon Papers — on June 15, 1971, the first prior restraint on a newspaper in U.S. history — and I had given another copy to The Post (which would also be enjoined), I went underground with my wife, Patricia, for 13 days. My purpose (quite like Snowden’s in flying to Hong Kong) was to elude surveillance while I was arranging — with the crucial help of a number of others, still unknown to the FBI — to distribute the Pentagon Papers sequentially to 17 other newspapers, in the face of two more injunctions. The last three days of that period was in defiance of an arrest order: I was, like Snowden now, a “fugitive from justice.”

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John Pilger: Forcing down Evo Morales’s plane was an act of air piracy

July 5, 2013

Denying the Bolivian president air space was a metaphor for the gangsterism that now rules the world

Bolivian President Evo Morales arrives at El Alto airport in La Paz

President Morales arrives back in La Paz, Bolivia. ‘Imagine the response from Paris if the French president’s plane was forced down in Latin America.’ Photograph: Zuma/Rex Features

Imagine the aircraft of the president of France being forced down in Latin America on “suspicion” that it was carrying a political refugee to safety – and not just any refugee but someone who has provided the people of the world with proof of criminal activity on an epic scale.

Imagine the response from Paris, let alone the “international community”, as the governments of the west call themselves. To a chorus of baying indignation from Whitehall to Washington, Brussels to Madrid, heroic special forces would be dispatched to rescue their leader and, as sport, smash up the source of such flagrant international gangsterism. Editorials would cheer them on, perhaps reminding readers that this kind of piracy was exhibited by the German Reich in the 1930s.

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Morsi Or Not, the US Empire Has A Stranglehold on Egypt

July 4, 2013

John Glaser, Antiwar.com,  July 03, 2013

In the midst of continuing anti-government protests, Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi has rejected the Egyptian Army’s 48-hour ultimatum (by now passed) to either call for early elections or step down. On Monday, I noted the acknowledgement of the Morsi regime that the military won’t pursue this effective coup without approval from their American overlords. Here’s Foreign Policy‘s John Reed with more on why that’s true:

Oddly enough, this might be good news for the Pentagon, which largely built the modern Egyptian armed forces. In fact, the Egyptian Army — as the entire military is colloquially known there — may be one of the U.S. government’s best friends in the entire Arab world. American presidents have been encouraging stability in the region for more than 30 years by making the Egyptian military the muscle behind a regional superpower — one built and trained by Washington.

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