January 13, 2005

Thatcher Thatcher Coup-Plot Hatcher

Was Mark Thatcher Guilty? Is the Pope Catholic?Mark Thatcher may have walked away from a South African court room a free man but few people are in any doubt as to his true guilt. Thatcher pleaded guilty to "negligence" in not fully checking where his money was going. He claimed it was going towards an air ambulance when in fact it was going towards hardware for an abortive coup attempt in Equatorial New Guinea. Thatcher's part in the coup plot may not have been proven in court but I can't help but feel that this was only because the South African authorities were keen on making a point, taking some cash off the man and then leaving at that. They went as far as they could without causing a diplomatic incident, and no further. Yet the stench of guilt hangs over Thatcher, who has long been mixing with some grubby little people. No less was to be expected given his upbringing. So while his friend Simon Mann languishes in jail for the next seven years, Thatcher's wealth and connections have bought him freedom. They say he'll move to America now; as long as he's nowhere near Britain, all the better.

January 12, 2005

What's That You Say? Porn? On The Tories' Website? Never!

You dirty bitch, you know you want it!

Ignorant Bigots

ig·no·rant adj.

  1. Lacking education or knowledge.
  2. Showing or arising from a lack of education or knowledge: an ignorant mistake.
  3. Unaware or uninformed.
big·ot noun.
  1. One who is strongly partial to one's own group, religion, race, or politics and is intolerant of those who differ.
Ignorant Bigots!

January 11, 2005

What Really Happened In Falluja?

Death and destruction in FallujaAli Fadhil has seen the reality of what is left in Falluja almost two months to the day since the US assault began. A once modern city lies in ruins; possibly never to be inhabited fully again. Its citizens are now dead or scattered as refugees, bodies rot in the streets and rabid dogs roam free. Yet of the 1200 fighters supposedly killed by American forces, only 76 are accounted for and of the dead still lying where they fell, many are obviously citizens. Perhaps because all the fighters left before the assault began! Falluja was supposed to be about improving the security situation in Iraq ahead of the general elections. In fact what the assault has done is brought forward an almost inevitable civil war - the Shia Iraqi troops used to search house to house are hated by the Sunni population. Indeed, in large parts of Iraq the puppet interim government is blamed as much as the Americans for the worsening daily violence. Fadhil's piece begs the question: what was Falluja really about? Securing peace ahead of elections that would bring "freedom and democracy" to Iraq? Or perhaps it was really about controlling the message and ensuring religious clerics could and would not take part in the elections. After all, what is the point in invading a country if the citizens don't then go and vote for your stooges? Moreover, why was the first port of call the city's hospital and not the insurgency strong-holds? Why were the doctors tied up and their lines of communication cut if it were not to ensure that the truth of the devastation to come was not broadcast to the world? It all points to the suspicion that the Americans used a sledgehammer to crack a nut in Falluja. Perhaps as always suspected, they're not prepared to engage in the long-haul of nation building. After all the oil fields are secured - they were on day one. The rest is just a PR exercise.

January 10, 2005

Resistance Is Not Futile

To my American friends I say this - Bush may have 'won' the election but it was only a small battle in a larger war. Inauguration is coming up fast. Resistance is not futile:

Protest on Inauguration Day: www.counter-inaugural.org
Resist the Bush Agenda: www.unitedforpeace.org
Re-Defeat Bush: www.beamerica.org/
Get Active: www.turnyourbackonbush.org

The Big Fight: Brown v Blair. Ding Dong!

Gordon and Tony hate each other, really
Will Gordon Brown and Tony Blair ever stop bickering? Like most old married couples they can't live with each and they can't ... erm well no that's it they just can't live with each other. Was anything less to be expected? Gordon Brown is a Labour MP - he cares about social justice, education, the health service and eradicating poverty. Tony Blair is a New Labour MP - he believes in policy by focus group, presentation and sanctimonious preaching. It doesn't help that Tony is a back-stabbing lying dawg too. Having promised not once but twice that he would step down before the upcoming election, allowing Brown to become PM, he's then gone back on his word on both occasions. Quite how the voters can have faith in Labour if the Chancellor believes in the PM about as much as the chickens trust a fox in their pen is anyone's guess. I've said it before and I'll say it again, there's only one solution to all this....

Gerry! Gerry! Gerry! Gerry!

January 07, 2005

Tsunami: Photo Opportunity!

Let's hope this is not a worrying omen for the future but Jeb Bush, the even more dim witted executioner-in-chief brother of George Dubbya, has been in Indonesia this week alongside Colin Powell. Call me a cynic but I suspect that Jeb's trip is more about the photo opportunity it provides than any genuine compassion. After all, last year's hurricane in Florida where Bush Jnr. is Govenor brought an immediate pledge of $2bn in 'aid' from the Federal government and big brother Dubbya was seen on the beach moving rubble. The Asian Tsunami initially brought a promised of just $35m in aid, about the same as is being spent on George's inauguration this month. The US was eventually shamed into upping the aid budget, although much of this has been diverted from other projects or is aid 'in kind' - namely troops on the ground. As for Jeb, well nobody is quite sure if he wants to run as the Republican candidate in the 2008 Presidential Election or not but the increasing media presence he is seeking outside of Florida would suggest so.

January 06, 2005

Why Weren't Ohio Votes Counted?

Michael Moore claims that 100,000 Ohio votes have still not been counted from the November 2nd Presidential Election. Republican Senator John Conyers of Detroit will object to the vote count in Ohio, but under archane rules he will only do this if one further Senator agrees to let him have the floor of the Senate. It seems that Democrats just want to forget the whole debacle of losing the election and fellow Republicans have no interest in democracy. Indeed, Freepress.org argue that the real winner of the election was actually John Kerry. They list ten provable counts of massive electoral fraud across Ohio, New Mexico and Florida:
  1. More than 106,000 Ohio ballots remain uncounted.
  2. Most of these uncounted ballots come from regions and precincts where Kerry was strongest.
  3. John Kerry carried hand counted ballots in Ohio by more than 8 per cent. Bush carried every precinct whose votes were counted with electronic optical scanning machines.
  4. Tens of thousands of Kerry votes were not recorded.
  5. Some turnout results are not plausible, and all work to the advantage of Bush. Two precincts reported turnouts of 124.4 and 124.0 percent of the registered voters in Bush areas.
  6. There were numerous reports across Ohio of voting machine fraud - including machines that switched or shifted on-screen displays of a vote for Kerry to a vote for Bush.
  7. Bush appears to have been awarded 16,000 extra votes from nowhere in Miami County. Dozens of other inconsistencies exist in the state.
  8. Democratic voters were apparently targeted with provisional ballots. These ballots require voters to fill out extensive forms at the poll.
  9. Ohio's Election Day exit poll was more credible than the certified result, according to intense statistical analysis.
  10. The Ohio recount wasn't random or comprehensive and may have involved serious illegalities. Republican Secretary of State Blackwell chose the precincts to be counted in a partisan manner.
Bush steals an election; now where have I heard that before?! Crucially however even if Senator Conyers manages to get the support of a colleague and gets to challenge the veracity of the result there's no way electoral fraud can ever be proved. Why? Because of the paperless, trail-free electronic voting machines installed at Republican insistence in the relevant states.

When a Minute Isn't A Minute

The soldiers of World War II get one, Princess Diana got two, as did those who died on September 11th (in the UK at least) and the victims of the Boxing Day tsunami got three, minutes of silence that is. Except that not everyone is happy with their lot, especially WWII vets. Given that a minute's silence is observed for so many tragedies and celebrity deaths that occur, the ante has been continually upped. The next disaster will need four minutes and the one after that five. Something has been forgotten here - it's the act of remembrance that is important and not the amount of time allocated to it.

January 05, 2005

The Grubby Politics of Aid

Maggie's Pants returns from a short New Year hiatus to find that not only has our esteemed leader finally bothered to get off the beach and announce his most (in)sincere shock at the scale of the Asian tsunami but that everyone has been squabbling over who gets to control the aid. Those in power - the US, the United Nations, the EU - couldn't agree on who should co-ordinate the massive task of distributing the $2bn worth of aid pledged so far.

The US, as usual, wanted to muscle everyone out with their 'aid coalition'. Because they care so much no doubt. Or perhaps because they see a strategic advantage in tying aid to the world's largest Muslim country to additional co-operation from the Jakarta government? Might also help rebuild the US' tarnished reputation. The usual US strategy; the big stick and the fat wallet. The EU has been talking a good game, attending the usual meetings and as usual, showing themselves as utterly irrelevant. The UN, who should be co-ordinating the effort as the only organisation with the relevant structure and experience to do it, has been acting like a naughty little schoolboy sent to the classroom corner. Kofi Annan has been critically wounded the US' actions over the last 18 months it seems. Fortunately someone in the Bush administration seems to have finally taken their medication and has come round to the view that the UN needs to take a key role. Something to do with the US troops now in place in key aid areas anyway no doubt. All this diverts attention from the aid effort of course and more importantly ensuring that the pledged money turns into cold hard cash. Bam - the Iranian city devastated by a Boxing Day earthquake in 2003 - has seen only 1% of the promised donations turn into actual aid on the ground. Aid pledges as a PR exercise - the saddest thing is that it's not a surprise.