02 September 2005
The upcoming summit was supposed to focus on strengthening and reforming the UN and address issues of aid and development, with a particular emphasis on implementing the UN's five-year-old Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Most assumed this would be a forum for dialogue and debate, involving civil society activists from around the world challenging governments from the impoverished South and the wealthy North and the United Nations to create a viable global campaign against poverty and for internationalism.
But now, there's a different and even greater challenge. This is a declaration of US unilateralism, uncompromising and ascendant.
The United States has issued an open threat to the 190 other UN member states, the social movements and peoples of the entire world, and the United Nations itself. And it will take a quick and unofficially collaborative effort between all three of those elements to challenge the Bush administration juggernaut.’
A Declaration of War
30 August 2005
The Bush administration has declared that previous restrictions outlawing assassinations as a legitimate US foreign policy instrument were not relevant to a nation at war. The administration has resorted to the notion that all is fair in war to justify pre-emptive murder by the United States & Israel, even when the targets could have been captured alive.
As Robertson is well aware, political assassination has at least since the start of the Cold War been included in the repertoire of US foreign policy instruments. It could well be argued that in Latin America political assassination, either of individual left-leaning political leaders or dissident communities, has been a highly successful foreign policy tool for a US government intent on political & economic domination of the hemisphere.
US support for military regimes & death squads that eliminated such leaders as Rafael Trujillo in the Dominican Republic, Che Guevara in Bolivia & Salvador Allende in Chile is well-known, as are the repeated CIA efforts to assassinate Fidel Castro.
Arguably, US interests & security, as defined by the bipartisan supporters of such covert activities as assassination & US-engineered coups, have been well served. Similarly, US support for death squads (military & paramilitary) in Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay & throughout Central America blocked left-of-center political & economic agendas in the 1970s & 1980s, as Washington intended.
Outside Latin America, CIA-directed or backed killings are also legendary - a not uncommon practice of foreign policy in Southeast Asia, Africa & the Middle East.
The Bush administration saw fit to distance itself from the blunt assessments of one of the president’s most influential supporters.
But the Bush team’s implicit - & in some cases explicit - support for terrorism & torture as instruments of US foreign policy shatters its credibility as an upholder of international law.'
What To Do About Hugo?
29 August 2005
The Foreign Office's top official warned Downing Street that the Iraq war was fuelling Muslim extremism in Britain a year before the 7 July bombings, The Observer can reveal.
Despite repeated denials by Number 10 that the war made Britain a target for terrorists, a letter from Michael Jay, the Foreign Office permanent under-secretary, to the cabinet secretary, Sir Andrew Turnbull - obtained by this newspaper - makes the connection clear.
The letter, dated 18 May 2004, says British foreign policy was a 'recurring theme' in the Muslim community, 'especially in the context of the Middle East peace process and Iraq'.
'Colleagues have flagged up some of the potential underlying causes of extremism that can affect the Muslim community, such as discrimination, disadvantage and exclusion,' the letter says. 'But another recurring theme is the issue of British foreign policy, especially in the context of the Middle East peace process and Iraq.’
Leak Shows Blair Told Of Iraq War Terror Link
“I’m not meeting with that goddamned bitch,” Bush screamed at aides who suggested he meet with Cindy Sheehan, the war-protesting mother whose son died in Iraq. “She can go to hell as far as I’m concerned!”
Bush's Obscene Tirades Rattle White House Aides
I cannot recall any sympathetic coverage of Palestinians being evicted from their homes. No interviews with weeping mothers or fathers. No discussions of whether the evictions were right or wrong. This is obviously a deliberate policy on the part of America's television networks for, after all, they had 4,170 opportunities to report on Palestinian evictions since September 2000.
That's how many homes were destroyed, and, of course, doesn't count the orchards and olive trees bulldozed by the Israeli army or Israeli settlers.
Of course, Palestinians were not evicted by sympathetic soldiers or promised huge amounts of money to relocate. No, they were brutally told to get out of their houses, which were then blown up or bulldozed into rubble by decidedly unsympathetic Israeli soldiers. What little they had was destroyed and they were offered nothing except verbal abuse by the Israelis and invisibility by the American media.’
Gaza Evacuation Should Be Americans' Last Straw
28 August 2005
Our government set about creating a new & powerful anti-terrorist infrastructure, granting sweeping new powers to our police & intelligence agencies.
In the interests of protecting our “security” & “values”, police can now enter & search our homes surreptitiously & intercept our communications, without a warrant.
Our good citizens can be picked-up, held secretly & interrogated for 7 days on suspicion, whilst being denied legal representation & confronted with the spectre of jail for refusing to answer or inaccurately answering questions.
Traumatised “suspects” can be forbidden from discussing their experiences with anyone, including their family, for up to two years.
And, as the government has already demonstrated, it is fully prepared to publicly smear a suspect’s reputation, if it sees fit, by the use of judicious leaks to a compliant media, even where that suspect has not been charged with any offence.
To support its $20 million campaign to “alert but not alarm” our citizenry against the imminent dangers of a terrorist attack on our shores, the government launched a national fridge magnet campaign, publicising the number of its new “terrorist hotline”.
Since its inception in December, 2002, the “terrorist hotline” has received 56,000 calls, emails & letters from concerned citizens.
Notwithstanding this high volume response to the government’s campaign, the AFP has seen fit to launch only 37 investigations in total. These investigations have, thus far, resulted in no charges being laid against anyone.
Across the world & nearly 21/2 years after Bali, 52 people were murdered in terrorist bomb attacks in London.
As part of its response to this heinous crime, the British government has published an ‘indicative’ list of ‘unacceptable behaviours’ by non-British citizens that, where detected, could see them deported from Great Britain or prevented from entering the country.
These behaviours include fomenting, justifying or glorifying terrorist violence in furtherance of particular beliefs; provoking others to commit terrorist acts; fomenting serious criminal activity or provoking others to commit serious criminal acts; or fostering hatred that could lead to inter-community violence.
Thus far the British government has spoken of applying a ban on entry to one Muslim mullah, allegedly guilty of calling on insurgents to attack British troops in Iraq.
At this stage, it remains unclear whether a similar ban would be imposed on the right wing US Christian television evangelist, Pat Robertson, who last week publicly advocated the assassination of Venezuela’s democratically elected president, Hugo Chavez.
In the confusion following the London bombings, another innocent civilian, Mr Jean Charles de Menezes, a Brazilian electrician working in London, was shot dead by the metropolitan police as a “suspected bomber”.
The de Menezes shooting highlighted the existence of the British government’s “shoot to kill” policy, which effectively authorizes the police & security services to kill suspects where they believe it is necessary in the interests of public safety.
Of course, in trying to help keep things in perspective, Sir Ian Blair, embattled head of the London metropolitan police, has publicly complained that the furore generated by the unlawful killing of de Menezes by his officers is “obscuring” the fact that 52 innocent people died in the terrorist attack.
In any event, the deaths of 254 people, including 52 British & 88 Australians, in two separate terrorist attacks, nearly three years apart, have resulted in the most savage diminution of civil rights in Great Britain & Australia since World War II.
But death by numbers is a strange phenomena.
Nearly 3,000 people lost their lives as a result of the terrorist attacks in the US on 911, but how many of us knew that more than 24,000 people around the world died from hunger that same day; that 6,000 children died from diarrhoea & nearly 3,000 children died from measles – on that same day.
Whilst none of us can forget the horrors of Bali, London or New York, at times it seems easy to overlook the fact that around 130,000 of us depart just this part of the mortal coil each year, for a variety of other reasons.
Around 400 of us are topped in the national road carnage; 300 are murdered; 24,000 die from heart disease; 36,000 fall victim to cancer & roughly 2,200 exercise their right of choice & depart by their own hand.
Whilst some of these statistics are occasionally exposed to the glare of public attention, they are increasingly sidelined by our warrior politicians, determined to keep us preoccupied with their 21st century fear meme: terrorism.
Whilst it might seem cruel & insensitive to some to question the emphasis placed on fatalities occasioned through terrorist attacks, we shouldn’t allow ourselves to be numbed by those events to the point where they unjustifiably rule our thinking & cause us to accept unreasonable changes to our way of life & how we relate to our world.
It is up to us to maintain a sense of perspective, particularly when our civil liberties are at stake & particularly where it is clearly arguable that the actions of our politicians have & continue to contribute to the terrorist threat.
It is also up to us to ensure that governments do not forget that they are supposed to serve the people, not control them.
The retired officer - of assistant chief constable rank or higher - has testified that the CIA planted the tiny fragment of circuit board crucial in convicting a Libyan for the 1989 mass murder of 270 people.