Posts Tagged ‘Iraq’

So, How Many Syrian Terrorists Come from Libya?

November 14, 2012

The U.S. supported opposition which overthrew Libya’s Gadaffi was largely comprised of Al Qaeda terrorists

According to a 2007 report by West Point’s Combating Terrorism Center’s center, the Libyan city of Benghazi was one of Al Qaeda’s main headquarters – and bases for sending Al Qaeda fighters into Iraq – prior to the overthrow of Gaddafi:

Al Qaeda is now largely in control of Libya.  Indeed, Al Qaeda flags were flown over the Benghazi courthouse once Gaddafi was toppled.

(Incidentally, Gaddafi was on the verge of invading Benghazi in 2011, 4 years after the West Point report cited Benghazi as a hotbed of Al Qaeda terrorists. Gaddafi claimed – rightly it turns out – that Benghazi was an Al Qaeda stronghold and a main source of the Libyan rebellion.  But NATO planes stopped him, and protected Benghazi.)

CNN, the Telegraph,  the Washington Times, and many other mainstream sources confirm that Al Qaeda terrorists from Libya have since flooded into Syria to fight the Assad regime.

Mainstream sources also confirm that the Syrian opposition is largely comprised of Al Qaeda terrorists.  See thisthisthisthisthisthisthisthisthis and this.

The U.S. has been arming the Syrian opposition since 2006. The post-Gaddafi Libyan government is also itself a top funder and arms supplier of the Syrian opposition.

Source: Blacklisted News

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RISK ASSESSMENT: IRAN – ‘Entree to a One World Order’ – Interview with Patrick Henningsen

October 11, 2012

What will a war with Iran look like? What will be the results of a unilateral attack on Iran by Israel and the US? Will it trigger multi-regional military conflict?

21st Century Wire geopolitical analyst, Patrick Henningsen, outlines possible outcomes, including the Hegelian outcome of a One World Order aka ‘New World Order’, in an exclusive, previously unreleased interview with domestic Russian television, filmed in London in Sept 2012. 

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Why Attacking Iran Will NOT Work in 2012

January 5, 2012

Patrick Henningsen
21st Century Wire
January 5, 2012

All signs coming out of Washington, London, Paris and Tel Aviv are pointing towards a pre-emptive military strike against Iran in 2012. But a number of key indicators are also pointing towards an unsuccessful, unlikely operation, whose failure could result in a military and economic tailspin from which the United States and Israel are unlikely to recover.

Currently, the US is following a trajectory of past unsuccessful empires that were unable to sustain themselves resulting in an eventual collapse from within. The US is currently running up a budget deficit which is not only threatening to bankrupt its entire economy, but also threatening the hegemony of its sole instrument for advantage and influence on the world stage – the US dollar. Any threat to the supremacy of the dollar is also a threat to the empire.

It is difficult to calculate the outcome of a western attack against Iran -because there are so many variables.

No moral mandate

For centuries, even Rome required a moral mandate as it conquered the known world. As was the case with the Iraqi invasion and occupation in 2003, the West and its Axis powers led by Washington will require a multi-nation coalition backed by some form of moral mandate in order to move forward with their plans.

Previously, a US-UK campaign against Iraq’s alleged weapons of mass destruction was waged through the UN, and was sufficient at the time in achieving a minimal sway in public opinion needed from both the American and British people, justifying their governments’ foreign policy goals enough to get the war off the ground. But the cost in 2012 of pushing forward under false pretences with both Afghanistan and Iraq in 2003, means that the Axis coalition powers have already played their best hand under the current social democratic system.

It is clear now, after multiple failures by the UN’s IAEA to implicate Iran in developing nuclear weapons that a moral mandate is not there, so despite the best efforts of the hawks and FOX News, there cannot be the sway in public opinion needed to move forward militarily. The only remaining technique available to trigger a military conflagration is a false flag attack orchestrated by either the US, Israel or the UK, whereby Iran can be blamed for firing the ‘first shot’.

The war has already begun

As far as the Islamic Republic of Iran is concerned, the war has already begun. US-backed sanctions imposed against the Central Bank of Iran have been put into effect, even though no proof has actually been presented to the UN justifying such a pre-war move. But sanctions are still the first step in a physical war. The result of the Axis open abuse of the UN’s Security Council resolution process, a number of influential nations have already announced their disregard for these US-backed sanctions.

This week, South Korea has announced that despite the White House’s wishes, it will still be buying roughly 10 percent of its crude oil from Iran in 2012. China is also defying the US call for sanctions, stating it will ‘resume its existing trade relationship’ with Iran this year. In 2012, China plans to make Iran its no.2 oil importer, adding to an already existing relationship worth approximately $30 billion per year. The West are in no position to challenge China over Iran at present. This means that the Axis powers will struggle to keep anything near an air-tight international mandate. They may hurt Iran in the short-term, but in the long run, such sanctions will have no teeth.

The cost to America and Europe of dragging out this ‘war of words’

The most likely outcome in the first part of 2012, is the West dragging a war of words via press briefings and imperial rhetoric. An increasingly media savvy Iran will naturally follow suit, winning favour at home as the underdog in this imperial clash. The result is a war of the words in the media.

But even the cost of this ‘posturing war’ to the US and Europe may be too much to bear at this time.

Even the threat of an attack on Iran will automatically drive oil speculators to push up the price of oil futures, which will in turn raise the price of oil at the pump at a time when Western businesses and consumers can hardly afford it. And this series of events is already in motion. The Strait of Hormuz is the world’s busiest oil shipping lane, with 17 million barrels of oil per day passing through. Iranian announcements this week stating they will not only defend their territorial waters, but retaliate by closing the Strait’s shipping lanes if it’s attacked by the US or Israel – have already driven up the global price, with the price of Brent Crude jumping another $5 today to an eight-month high of $111.65 per barrel. CNN reported this week:

Oil prices surged 4% Tuesday, fuelled by continued anxiety over Iran’s growing threat to shut down the Strait of Hormuz after the Iranian military launched a missile test.

“It’s mostly about Iran right now,” said Peter Beutel, analyst with energy risk management firm Cameron Hanover. “That’s the most bullish factor.”

Oil prices jumped 4.2% to settle at $102.96 a barrel. That’s the highest closing price since May 10, when prices ended the day at $103.88 a barrel.

The picture gets progressively worse as the US-Iran face-off continues into 2012. Business Insider released a report today detailing a likely scenario whereby barrel costs skyrocket to $150:

Managers of the Guinness Global Energy fund have warned of an oil price spike to $150 per barrel if Iran were to carry out its threat of closing the Strait of Hormuz and blocking 15% of global oil exports.

“The exports transported through the Strait of Hormuz are equivalent to two Saudi Arabia’s or two Russia’s, so the potential impact on the price is massive. We do not think this will happen but we cannot rule it out completely.”

Cash windfall for the oil industry

OPEC oil producing Gulf nations led by monarchies Saudi Arabia, UAE, Kuwait, Qatar and Bahrain, will certainly benefit financially from any initial UN sanctions as well as any protracted stand-off between the West and Iran fueled by hype, with speculation driving up the price of oil, allowing the producer nations to effectively printing money overnight.

GCC foreign companies and joint ventures include Aramco, Harken Oil (Bush family company), Texas Oil, Union Oil of California, and a host of others. Distributors and retail winners include the likes of Exxon, Royal Dutch/Shell, BP, Chevron, Getty, Phillips,  Texaco, Mobil, Occidental/Gulf and Amoco. Each of these transnational oil refiners, distributors and retailers can expect a cash windfall and a rise in their all-important share prices, but more importantly, the current crisis will be an opportunity for this cartel – to fix a new, higher price at the pump.

Even if the stand-off were to climb down between the West and Iran, and the price per barrel were to somehow drop back below $100, this cartel of oil companies will still work to maintain a new higher overall pricing standard at the pump. Past price relationships between barrel price and pump price will verify this cartel practice. The economic implications, particularly on American and European economies which relies so heavily on petroleum to distribute and deliver staples like food and other day-to-day goods – could be horrific, instigating a wave of inflation on an already inflation-battered US consumer. Likewise, such a crisis will have a negative effect on the value empire’s holy grail – the US dollar.

A spike in US prices will also trigger-off that old predictable debate during the coming 2012 US  Presidential election cycle – over lifting any moratoriums on domestic oil drilling within the United States (drill baby, drill). If any are lifted, again, it’s yet another win for the oil industry and its shareholders.

Risks involved in a regional conflict

For a perspective of the Libyan model of intervention, NATO is unlikely to involve itself in a large-scale military operation in Iran. It would prove too costly from both economic and political standpoints.

Neither the US or Israel has engaged in a bona fide naval conflict in decades. In the case of the US, owner of the world’s largest navy, its last true naval military affair was WWII. As Great Britain painfully discovered during its costly Falkland Island War adventure, even one rudimentary French-made Exocet Missile launched by Argentina below radar, was enough to not only cripple a major piece of its naval fleet, but also enough of a black eye to nearly derail majority public support for their ill-conceived war effort from the opposition and back-benchers home in London.

Similarly, the Iranian defense has the capability to sink not one, but many US Naval ships currently flexing their muscles on the periphery of Iranian territorial waters. Such an event would register with shock and horror in the US public mind, but worse, may be used by Washington hawks to justify a revenge nuclear strike against Iranian civilians. Both Washington and Tel Aviv have already raised the talking point of deploying “tactical nukes” against Iran. Such foreshadowing should not be ignored, as it is often a clear indicator of things to come.

Any nuclear conflagration by the US or Israel would most certainly result in a global backlash against the West – at its worst acting as a procession into the hot stages of World War III – or at its very least, re-balkanizing the geopolitical scene into a New Cold War, with the West on one side and Iran, China, Pakistan, and Russia on the other.

Watch author Patrick Henningsen in this segment from Al Jazeera’s program Empire: Targeting Iran, as analysts spec out potential wargames between the West and Iran:

GCC becomes a target

Another factor seldom mentioned by vocal proponents of regime change in Iran, like Hillary Clinton and neocon war hawks in Washington, is that any attack on Iran will most certainly mean that all US allies in the region will become a potential target. This means it is unlikely that those wealthy and developed GCC countries would remain untouched by a conflict happening only a mere hundreds of miles away. Neither would nearby major US military installations in Iraq, Qatar and Afghanistan. All are likely targets in a hot Iranian conflict.

Petrol monarchies like the UAE (most notably Abu Dhabi and Dubai), Kuwait and Qatar currently rely heavily on a high standard of living and complete domestic security and stability in order to survive as societies. These fragile petrol monarchies rely on a very thin veneer of law and order – one which props up their marketing image of a luxurious “Middle East destination”. Any Iranian retaliation against these fragile US allies would result in a massive flight of persons, ex-pats and financial capital from the GCC to much safer havens – like Europe, the US, or Singapore.

If there is to be a war, it will be the US, UK, France, Israel and their allies who will do the fighting. But the GCC would still need to defend itself from reprisals. In December 2011, the United States announced a $3.48 billion arms deal with the UAE, which included state-of-the-art THAD missile defense systems, as part of a wider American effort to build up missile defenses among Gulf allies to counter Iran. In addition, the US and Saudi Arabia signed a $1.7 billion deal earlier in 2011 to boost the country’s Patriot missiles and Kuwait purchased 209 GEM-T missiles at a cost of $900 million. This regional missile defense strategy will need land-based interceptors to knock out incoming missiles, backed up by a detection network aboard a team of US Navy Aegis-class warships.

Although these are significant acquisitions on the part of the GCC, they are by no means blanket protection from an Iranian retaliation, and are most likely the result of America’s arms industry, in its honored tradition, bleeding the GCC of cash with yet more expensive hardware, a hard sell based on fear and war hype.

Taking all this into account, and noting the incredibly concentration of wealth in the GCC, it’s hard to see a scenario where the monied interests would tolerate such a risk to their progressive Arabian project that they have spend decades investing in and building from scratch.

Post-Bombing Blowback

Aside from the GCC risk, it is with near certainty that one could predict a full-scale regional backlash, and genuine uprising around the Muslim world should the US or Israel come good on their threats of a pre-emptive strike against Iran. Iranian civilian deaths could not be avoided, and hence, their would be a blood price to pay by the West in the eyes of many Muslims. Such a pan-Arab uprising would stretch US and Israel capabilities in the region past their ability to maintain control of the situation. The results for Israel could be dire in such a scenario, and it’s only expected that a tit-for-tat would spiral into a long regional conflict.

The West’s best chance to weather such a storm would be to overtake, or set up a military base in either Lebanon or Syria in order to neutralize traditional Iranian ally and Israeli opponent – Hezbollah – currently based in Lebanon. Without wiping out Hezbollah’s military capabilities, Israel cannot safely move forward with a unilateral/US attack on Iran. The time table for such a Syria or Lebanese take-down would put any possible attack on Iran well into late 2012, or even 2013 and beyond.

A Giant Dirty Bomb

If the US or Israel were to hit any of the said Iranian nuclear facilities or reactors, it has the potential to become a giant ‘dirty bomb’. In such a scenario, the civilian deaths could exceed 1,000,000 and a radioactive fall-out would certainly spill over into the surrounding US clients like Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Qatar, Iraq, Kuwait and possibly as far as Israel/Palestine, Turkey, Georgia, Pakistan, India and parts of southern Europe.

Following such a radiological event, the West would certainly be blamed for any and all environmental damage and death which occurs, resulting in a massive loss of international face, followed by massive financial reparations which would ultimately cripple their already weak economies. Worse than this however, it would certainly throw the global economy into a long economic depression.

Most sane analysts would agree, this is a risk too high, and a price too high to pay. So the real question remains then, are analysts in Washington and Tel Aviv sane enough to make policy decisions?

An Israeli driven effort

Like previous AIPAC campaigns to hit Iraq, the current drive to isolate and demonize Iran has been cooked up in the Israeli lobby’s kitchen. Due to a revolving wheel of campaign contributions to each and every US Congress and Senate candidate, ‘putting Israel first’ has become a top priority for any politician with any ambition in Washington. If any official steps out of line and criticizes Israel, AIPAC functionaries like the ADL and SPLC are sprung into action and a PR campaign is usually waged against the offending public official.

The Israeli lobby will claim that a pre-emptive strike on Iran is needed because Iran has stated that it wishes to, “Wipe Israel off the map”. Most war hawks would be surprised when they learn that such words were never actually spoken by Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Shouldn’t this revelation change the entire Israeli perspective? It should, but it doesn’t. Regardless of any evidence to the contrary, the lobby and its media partners will continue repeating their faux version of the event as if it were something that actually happened, or spelled a genuine threat to the physical state of Israel. Likewise, US politicians will in turn acknowledge the lobby’s version of events, themselves repeating the very same faux threat – as if this somehow justify plans for a pre-emptive strike on Iran.

What is most important here again, is that at no point during any of this political maneuvering, could either the US, or Israel produce any compelling evidence at all that Iran has, or is near possessing a nuclear weapon in their military arsenal. Even if they could fabricate such evidence to start a war, there are simply too many pieces out of place on the grand chessboard right now to indicate an imminent attack on Iran in the spring or summer of 2012.

So far, however, the clear winner is the oil industry and the OPEC nations, winning a shift in wealth from the global middle class into the hands of petrol monarchies and oil company shareholders.

NEWS CORP PHONE HACKING: Is this the tipping point for Murdoch’s empire?

July 12, 2011
Rupert Murdoch in Sun Valley, Idaho

Rupert Murdoch in Sun Valley, Idaho, on Thursday – the day the News of the World was axed (PHOTO: Julie Jacobson/AP)

For decades the US mogul has held sway over British media and political life – but last week all that seemed to change

 and  in New York
Guardian
July 11, 2011

Shortly before nine o’clock on a Saturday evening last month an elderly man wearing a woollen jumper and slacks escorted a flame-haired woman to the back of a dining room in a Cotswolds pub. The sun was emerging after a day of rain and the jolly mood in the Oxfordshire gastropub was shared by the couple. Laughing, they settled side by side behind a stripped pine table and examined their menus.

Fellow diners scrutinising the couple attentively could have been forgiven for mistaking them for father and daughter, such was their age gap and the way they seemed to be extremely comfortable in each other’s company. Whatever their relationship, clearly they were close. At one stage the woman could be seen wiping fluff off her companion’s jumper.

They were still at their table, chatting casually to locals, two hours later. If they had pressing matters on their minds, they did not betray them. Only the chauffeur-driven car waiting outside the honey-stoned pub might have given a clue that they were a little out of the ordinary.

That Rupert Murdoch had chosen to spend a rare evening in the UK outside London with Rebekah Brooks, chief executive of his News International UK subsidiary, says much about the relationship between the two.

While many of their friends and colleagues, including Brooks’s racehorse-training husband, Charlie, were attending George Osborne’s 40th birthday party, Murdoch had chosen to spend his evening with his most loyal lieutenant, who lives close to the Kingham Plough pub, near Chipping Norton. Murdoch, who can expect presidents and prime ministers to fly all the way round the world to court him, was dropping in on his employee. The mountain was coming to Muhammad.

Although, only two days earlier, Brooks had been at Murdoch’s annual summer party in London, where she had rubbed shoulders with David Cameron and the Labour leader Ed Miliband, the two would still have had much to talk about.

That party was notable for the fact that several Tory ministers, including culture secretary Jeremy Hunt, had opted not to attend, concerned about being seen to be too close to Murdoch at a time when his holding company, News Corp, was seeking a full takeover of satellite broadcasterBSkyB, a deal that rival media companies warned would cripple competition.

The putative takeover was framed by the backdrop of never-ending allegations of phone hacking at Murdoch’s News of the Worldnewspaper, which had given the media mogul’s enemies plenty of ammunition to use against his BSkyB bid. How could the government endorse such a deal when one of the jewels in the crown of the Murdoch empire had been engaged in such criminality, critics asked. How could Brooks apparently have not known what was going on?

The same questions were repeated vociferously last week as evidence emerged that the phone of murdered teenager Milly Dowler had been hacked, as well as those belonging to the families of the 7/7 victims.

But Murdoch would not give his critics what they wanted: Brooks’s head. For a man often labelled ruthless, it was an extraordinary defence of an employee. It was also costly. News Corp’s share price dropped as analysts warned the Sky deal might be delayed.

The saga was spiralling out of control, threatening not only the Sky deal but also long-term damage to Murdoch’s US interests such as Fox News and the Wall Street Journal. According to one insider, the crisis has dismayed Prince Alwaleed bin Talal whose Saudi-based Kingdom Holdings sovereign fund owns 7% of News Corp.

In a belated attempt to show how seriously it was taking the allegations, News Corp revealed that Brooks has been replaced as the head of a team investigating the phone hacking. Instead, two experienced lawyers, Joel Klein and Viet Dinh, who both sit on News Corp’s board in New York, will lead the inquiry.

But it was not nearly enough. Murdoch, who was attending a conference of media bigwigs in Sun Valley, Idaho, found himself surrounded by reporters last Thursday, baying for answers. Flanked by his wife, Wendi, the ageing mogul cut a diminished figure, battling through the throng and belligerently saying he had nothing to add to a statement he made earlier in the week.

With shareholders and politicians vying to express their fury, it was left to Murdoch’s son, James, News Corp’s chief operating officer, to deliver the coup de grâce.

But, astonishingly, it was not to be Brooks’s head on a plate. Instead it was the newspaper she edited between 2000 and 2003. The News of the World, Britain’s bestselling Sunday paper, was to be axed after 168 years, Murdoch Junior revealed in an email sent to all News International staff. A fleeting visit from Brooks to the paper’s newsroom, in which – soft-voiced, dry-eyed and rambling – she spoke of her affection for the paper, confirmed its demise to the few shell-shocked staff who were there to hear her.

As a damage limitation exercise, it was as brutal as it was unprecedented. But in sacrificing its massively profitable Sunday title, the Murdoch empire has triggered more questions than answers. Questions that will now dismantle what became an unholy alliance of politics, press and police.

Talk to former News of the World journalists and ask where it all went wrong and they are likely to start with Phil Hall. The combative hack, who now runs his own PR company, started his career on the Dagenham Postand became the News of the World editor in 1995. Hall inherited a paper with a circulation above four million that enjoyed a formidable reputation as a gutsy breaker of big stories. Some were famously salacious, but many involved exposés of the great and the not-so-good, big league criminals, dodgy politicians and corrupt officials.

“It was a proper paper 20 years ago,” one former employee told theObserver. “We turned over drug dealers, immigration rackets, things like that. Really good, hard-hitting stories. It also made people laugh; there was lots of fun stuff in it. Sure, there was a touch of spin to it all, but the stories were genuine. We were not saints. We bent things, but it was only to get the guys who deserved to be got.”

Part of the paper’s success lay in the near symbiotic relationship it enjoyed with the police, the two institutions swapping tip-offs and working together on major stories that ensured a win-win for all involved: the cops got the glory; the paper the headline.

But after Hall came in things went in a different direction. Journalists were under increasing pressure to bring in stories. “The focus became celebrity and then all the other papers followed and so it became even more competitive,” the former hack said.

Andy Coulson, who took over as editor in 2003, was cut from the same cloth. The man who would go on to become Cameron’s spin doctor, and was arrested on Friday in relation to allegations of phone hacking and corruption, appeared to be a firm believer in the macho politics of the newsroom. A 2008 industrial tribunal found he had presided over a culture of bullying at the paper that forced one his reporters to go on long-term sick leave because of stress-related depression.

Coulson had cut his teeth on the Sun’s Bizarre column, another high-octane environment. “People were having nervous breakdowns left, right and centre,” recalls one former employee. “There were people crying in the toilets. Every day you put your body on the line.”

Little changed when Coulson arrived at the News of the World. “Everyone felt that pressure from the executives down,” said one News International employee. “Conference could be incredibly tense sometimes and maybe that pushed some people to do stupid things, but it was never overt. It was never something that people talked about it. If it was happening, and I suppose it clearly was, then people were going off to do it somewhere on their own. Andy was a really good editor and wanted good stories. He was passionate. It was tough.”

Some of the staff may have felt uncomfortable, but the culture reaped dividends with the News of the World bringing in scoop after scoop that left rivals trailing in its wake well into the new millennium, when Brooks took over, editing the paper for three years before moving to the Sun.

Even if, in common with other papers, its circulation was declining, the sensational stories ensured about 7.5 million people continued to read the paper, of whom 2.7 million were the wealthy ABC1s beloved of advertisers. The News of the World was a cash cow for Murdoch, who used its profits to help shore up his other newspaper interests such as the Times and the Sunday Times, which gave him huge political leverage.

What has now become clear is that the provenance of a large number of those stories can be traced to private investigators employed by News International, several on six-figure contracts.

At the outset, in the 1980s, much of their work – such as obtaining ex-directory numbers or helping find addresses – was relatively routine. Sometimes it involved covert surveillance, even though it was not always for reasons that could be justified in the public interest. An outside agency was employed to establish that Freddie Mercury had HIV. One former journalist told how the bar belonging to the brother of a television personality was bugged. “Half the dressing rooms on [the television soap] Eldorado were also done,” he said.

But the arrival of the mobile phone added a new dimension. “It used to be much easier to listen to live phone calls when it was the old analogue cell system,” one former journalist said. “In the early 1990s there used to be an advert in the Exchange and Mart from a mobile shop in Bridgend which offered for sale an old Motorola carphone-type phone which had been doctored with a serial cable that could be connected to your PC. With the software provided you could use it as a live scanner showing people’s numbers and listen in to calls via the PC.”

Soon journalists across Fleet Street were well versed in how to listen in to the new phones and to access their voicemails. “It became more of a question of journalists listening in to other journalists’ phones from rival papers,” the ex-journalist said. “One journalist would deliberately leave false messages to throw people off the track of where he was and what he was doing.”

Some private detectives on contract to the paper were like Glenn Mulcaire, the former footballer at the centre of the hacking scandal and a newcomer to Fleet Street. “Working for the News of the World was never easy,” Mulcaire said last week. “There was relentless pressure. There was a constant demand for results. I knew what we did pushed the limits ethically, but at the time, I didn’t understand that I had broken the law.”

Many others were like Sid Fillery, a former member of Scotland Yard’s flying squad, who worked for a private detective firm, Southern Investigations, run by his friend Jonathan Rees. The two men were accused of being involved in the unsolved murder of Rees’s business partner, Daniel Morgan, but walked free after the case against them collapsed earlier this year, with the police accused of misconduct by the judge.

It is this type of complicated relationship between the police, the papers and private investigators that is likely to yield further scandal as the three sides turn on each other.

Fillery, who now runs a pub in Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, confirmed to theObserver that the agency had worked with the News of the World on a string of legitimate stories while he was in the Met. But, in a development that promises to throw more fuel on the fire, he said he intends to sue his former force. A spokesman for his solicitors, Pannone, said: “We can confirm that a partner at the firm is advising Mr Fillery on an action against the Metropolitan police for malicious prosecution.”

The Met, meanwhile, is scouring all the evidence it has accumulated on Rees to establish if his firm was also involved in carrying out illegal activities on behalf of newspapers. There are said to be at least 11,000 pages of material relating to Rees in the Met’s possession, none of which has yet been disclosed and some of which is thought to relate to key public figures who so far have been mentioned only on the periphery of the scandal.

Significantly, while it is confirmed that Rees was paid by the News of the World, the Observer understands other newspaper groups used his services far more extensively.

The names of other investigation agencies are likely to emerge soon as Operation Weeting, the Met’s investigation into phone hacking, continues. “There were lots of other agencies working for the papers; I know of at least three more,” one private investigator said.

So far the arrests have been confined to reporters and editors, but how did the investigators obtain the mobile phone numbers to hack into in the first place? One obvious line of inquiry is the illegal accessing of the police national computer, suggesting corrupt officers were involved. The paper has already confirmed that several Met officers were paid for information.

But there will be others outside the force. “I should imagine there are some ex-BT engineers that have done extremely well over the years performing dark arts via third parties,” said one former News of the World employee.

A News International insider said that claims an estimated 4,000 phones may have been targeted could tell only part of the story. There are suggestions that the paper was interested in as many as 80,000 phone numbers over the past decade. How many were hacked or bugged is a subject for the police investigation, but by the mid-1990s it appears hacking had become endemic and no one was considered out of bounds. From the families of 7/7 victims to Milly Dowler, all were targets. John Cooper, a barrister who represents the families of soldiers killed in the Nimrod disaster in Afghanistan and the RAF Hercules explosion in Iraq, as well as those who died at Deepcut barracks, confirmed on Saturday night that his clients were concerned that they may have been the victims of telephone hacking.

Even the nearly dead were apparently fair game. In the winter of 2004, when his most famous client, George Best, was dying of liver failure, agent Phil Hughes could not understand how the press appeared to be outside the right hospitals at the right time.

“Somehow the News of the World always seemed to understand who was visiting and would always have photographers there,” said Gerald Shamash, Hughes’s solicitor, who has asked the Met to hand over any information it has relating to his client.

“Phil is convinced his phone was substantively hacked by the News of the World. The situation became very difficult, particularly in the latter months of George’s life. It was very upsetting for both of them.”

As the story switched last week from hacked celebrities to vulnerable members of the public, the mood noticeably shifted. In the City, BSkyB’s shares took a pounding as Ofcom, the media regulator, said it would consider whether News Corporation would make a “fit and proper” owner of BSkyB. By the end of the week the shares were down nearly 12%, wiping £1.8bn off BSkyB’s market value as hedge funds bet the deal would be bogged down for months to come.

The fit and proper person test applies to any owner of a TV station in the UK. The regulator indicated it would invoke the test only if a director of BSkyB were to be charged with criminal offences, such as phone hacking.

But other legal concerns are brewing. There is speculation that illegal acts by company executives in London could potentially be prosecuted in America under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act which is aimed at stopping US firms from engaging in bribery abroad.

At the same time, the idea has been floated that News of the Worldjournalists, or those working at News Corp organisations in the US, might have broken the law in pursuit of stories across the Atlantic. The US has extremely strict laws on phone hacking and many ambitious prosecutors might like to make a name for themselves by pursuing such a case.

In the face of massive public opprobrium and a City backlash, James Murdoch’s decision to kill off the title was portrayed as a kneejerk reaction, an emergency amputation to keep the News International patient alive. But this may not be true. One well-placed source has suggested Murdoch has had a team working on plans to replace the News of the World with a Sunday Sun for at least three months. This belief is shared by former journalists on the paper. “What happened on Thursday was a cynical exercise to save Murdoch money, sack staff and turn the Sun into a seven-day operation,” said one. “Thirty years ago this would have been a trade union issue, but Murdoch did for that.”

Analysts were quick to pronounce that closing the News of the World was a small price for Murdoch to pay. True, the paper is highly profitable, making an estimated £12m of profit in 2010 and generating almost £50m in advertising revenue. But Sky, in which News Corp owns a 39% stake, is forecast to make more than £1bn profit in 2011-12.

On Wall Street, Richard Greenfield of US broker BTIG said Murdoch’s other media interests in cable television – Fox News and his numerous other operations – were far more valuable in the eyes of investors than print.

Greenfield spoke for his fellow analysts when he said: “Many of us believe newspapers are a sunset industry and wouldn’t give a damn if Murdoch decided to get rid of them.”

Murdoch’s audacious overnight transfer of his newspapers to Wapping, east London, in 1986 proved he hated the trade unions, but what he likes is more difficult to pinpoint. In an interview with the Village Voicenewspaper in 1976, seven years after he bought the News of the World, he gave a rare insight into his psychology. He painted himself as an outsider, someone who rubbed up against the grain.

“I just wasn’t prepared to join the system,” he said. “Maybe I just have an inferiority complex about being an Australian… you join the old school-tie system and you’re going to be dragged into the so-called social establishment somehow. I never was.”

His status as an outsider was confirmed shortly after he acquired the News of the World when it published the diaries of Christine Keeler at a time the shamed minister, John Profumo, was trying to put the scandal behind him. However, it was Murdoch’s purchase of the Times, waved through by Margaret Thatcher in 1981, and the paper’s subsequent move to Wapping that saw him become a member of the establishment he professed to loathe.

Murdoch and Thatcher were ideological soulmates who espoused free markets, loathed Europe and were impatient to dismantle the UK’s creaking old institutions. For once, Murdoch seemed to have genuine affection for a politician, usually seeing them as useful allies in his quest to expand his interests.

This political pragmatism plays to Murdoch’s advantage, allowing him to back winners – and oppose losers. It was only in 1992, when John Major won a surprise election victory over Neil Kinnock’s Labour party, that the full extent of Murdoch’s influence became evident. Kinnock had looked on course for victory but the Murdoch press led a strident campaign against him in the final days.

On the morning of election day the Sun front-page requested that, “If Kinnock wins today will the last person to leave Britain please turn out the lights”. As he licked his wounds amid the wreckage of a fourth consecutive general election defeat for Labour, Kinnock blamed the media and the Murdoch stable in particular for turning the tide against him. “It’s The Sun Wot Won It” ran the paper’s triumphant headline.

From that moment, Labour’s modernisers – Tony Blair, Peter Mandelson, Gordon Brown, Alastair Campbell and Jonathan Powell – knew that if the party was to break the Tory stranglehold on power there no more important task than to get Murdoch and his papers onside.

Lance Price, a journalist and ex-spin doctor who worked at No 10 as Campbell’s deputy, recounts how Blair and Campbell took to heart the advice of the Australian prime minister, Paul Keating, on how to deal with Murdoch.

“He’s a big bad bastard and the only way you can deal with him is to make sure he thinks you can be a big bad bastard too,” he said. “You can do deals with him, without ever saying a deal is done. But the only thing he cares about is his business and the only language he respects is strength.”

Throughout his years in power, Blair had regular secret meetings with Murdoch, many abroad, and was in regular telephone contact. Price has gone as far as to claim that Murdoch “seemed like the 24th member of the cabinet”.

Blair insisted no record was ever kept of the meetings or calls, so they were totally deniable. Cherie Blair has said that her husband’s decision to go to war in Iraq in 2003 was a “close call”. So it was – and there is evidence that the final decision was taken only after Murdoch’s encouragement was received and his blessing given. Blair talked to the media tycoon three times on the telephone in the 10 days before the US-led invasion. Details obtained under freedom of information show Blair called Murdoch on 11 March, 13 March and 19 March 2003. British and US troops began the invasion on 20 March, with the Times and Sun voicing total support.

The Murdoch penetration into the heart of political life has accelerated under Cameron. His links to the Murdoch empire are arguably even closer than those of Blair or Gordon Brown, whose wife, Sarah, helped to arrange Brooks’s 40th birthday party.

The contact between the Tory leader and the likes of Michael Gove, the education secretary and an ex-Times journalist, are not merely professional but also social. They mix in the Oxfordshire political and media set. Cameron, who has been a guest at Brooks’s Cotswolds home, made his own visit to see Murdoch in August 2008 on his yacht off the coast of Greece.

But after last week’s momentous events some are questioning whether the umbilical cord between Murdoch and Britain’s politicians has been snapped. Some commentators wonder whether, in an era of declining sales, the hegemony of the press, and in particular that of Murdoch, has been overstated. The rise of new media is allowing politicians to convey their message without needing newspapers as an intermediary. Advertisers are shifting their spending from conventional media brands to social networking sites.

MPs, who last year were accused by Lib Dem deputy leader Simon Hughes of being “too scared” of Murdoch’s News International to testify in court that their phones had been hacked, are lining up to denounce the mogul. “We are in a totally new world now,” said one shadow minister. “This is unbelievable. The Murdoch empire, in a matter of hours, has gone from being one which politicians wanted to do everything they could to please, to one they were desperate to disown and condemn. Murdoch has turned from asset to liability.”

The replacement of the Press Complaints Commission with an independent regulator, after the watchdog was roundly criticised for failing to get to grips with the scandal, will further curtail the power of newspapers.

Two official inquiries, one into phone hacking, the other, with a wider remit into press ethics, promise uncomfortable headlines for Fleet Street over the coming months. So too does Scotland Yard’s continuing investigation, the results of which will extend far beyond the News of the World and phone hacking to other newspapers and criminal acts like bugging and email interception.

Brooks herself hinted there was much more bad news to come, telling staff they would only understand why the plug had to be pulled on their newspaper a year down the line – presumably when criminal investigations have concluded.

Last Thursday evening, stunned News of the World staff made their way to the Cape bar in Wapping where they watched constant updates of their demise flash up on large television screens. It must have been a strange feeling. Used to making the news, they were the news.

A ripple of applause from the table occupied by staff on the paper’s Fabulous magazine greeted an announcement on Sky News that subeditors at the Sun had briefly walked off the job in protest at their sister paper’s closure. Most of the anger was saved for a solitary figure – Brooks. Picture editors vied with subs and young reporters to say the same thing: they had been sold down the river by the Murdoch family to save her skin.”There are young people with families,” one said. “What are they going to do?”

Their mood is unlikely to be helped by the disclosure, presumably made by a disgruntled, recently unemployed member of staff, that Brooks regularly enjoys the services of a helicopter to fly her from Battersea heliport to her Cotswolds home. Her use of a private jet for a breakfast meeting in Venice is also the subject of discussion by Wapping veterans.

“This is about what happened under the old regime,” volunteered a senior reporter gesturing to the pub’s television screens. “Look at most of these people. They weren’t even around when all this happened. Colin Myler [the paper’s editor] might have his faults but he was trying to turn it round. We’ve all been sacrificed to save Rebekah Brooks.”

Their anger raises an important question. How will reporters and editors of other Murdoch titles such as the Sun and the Times feel about continuing to work under Brooks, especially after Cameron in effect called on her to stand down, saying: “It’s been reported that she had offered her resignation in this situation, and I would have taken it.” His comment again threw into question Murdoch’s increasingly quixotic desire to protect Brooks. As the seasoned media commentator Raymond Snoddy observed on the MediaTel Newsline Bulletin: “Her famed political access will be no more. You can hear the doors already slamming in her face.”

But her weakened stature will mean little to the 250 staff on the paper now out of work at a time when none of its rivals is hiring.

In an email to staff yesterday, Myler said: “You have made enormous sacrifices for this company and I want you to know that your brilliant, creative talents have been the real foundation for making the News of the World the greatest newspaper in the world.”

On Saturday night, as Murdoch prepared to fly in to Wapping to tackle a crisis that refuses to die, the News of the World was doubling its print run to five million, anticipating a surge in demand from readers keen to buy a piece of history. Whatever plans he has for its replacement, it was a curtain coming down. Not just for the News of the World but for all of Fleet Street.

To comment on this story or any other about phone hacking, visit ouropen thread from 9am

Libya says NATO raids killed 718 civilians so far

June 1, 2011

By Imed Lamloum
AFP
June 1, 2011 

Libya has accused NATO of killing 718 civilians and wounding 4,067 in 10 weeks of air strikes, as African efforts for a truce stalled and Italy said Muammar Gaddafi’s regime is “finished.”

The toll of dead and injured was given at a news conference on Tuesday in Tripoli by government spokesman Mussa Ibrahim, who also warned the departure of Gaddafi would be a “worst case scenario” for Libya.

“Since March 19, and up to May 26, there have been 718 martyrs among civilians and 4,067 wounded – 433 of them seriously,” Ibrahim said, citing health ministry figures which cannot be independently verified. He said these figures do not include Libyan military casualties, a toll the defense ministry refuses to divulge.

“If Gaddafi goes, the security valve will disappear,” Ibrahim said, ruling out that the embattled strongman will step down from power.

“Gaddafi’s departure would be the worst case scenario for Libya,” he told reporters, and warned of “civil war.”

DEAD LIBYANS: Nato attack has left hundreds of innocent Libyans in the body count column..

Ibrahim also denied that South African President Jacob Zuma, who met Gaddafi in Tripoli on Monday, had discussed an “exit strategy” with him.

Zuma “never discussed any exit strategies as they have been described in the media,” the spokesman said.

Earlier, a statement from the South African presidency in Pretoria said Gaddafi would not leave Libya despite growing international pressure and intensified NATO strikes on his regime.

“Colonel Gaddafi called for an end to the bombings to enable a Libyan dialogue. He emphasised that he was not prepared to leave his country, despite the difficulties,” Zuma’s office said in a statement.

NATO pounded Tripoli earlier on Tuesday, only hours after Zuma left Libya’s capital having failed to close the gap between Gaddafi and rebels fighting to oust him since February.

In its latest operational update, NATO said on Tuesday it struck four military sites in the vicinity of Tripoli, including missile launchers, a vehicle storage facility and a radar.

Elsewhere it took out a command and control node and several tanks, truck-mounted guns and other military vehicles in and around Misrata, the main rebel-held city in western Libya.

Zuma said raids by NATO, which is enforcing a no-fly zone over Libya and protecting civilians from a government crackdown under a UN mandate, were undermining African mediation efforts.

South African Foreign Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane called for an immediate ceasefire after Zuma said Gaddafi was “ready” to implement an African Union peace plan already rejected by NATO and the rebels.

In the rebel capital Benghazi, in eastern Libya, Italy’s foreign minister said on Tuesday Gaddafi’s regime was already staring at defeat.

“The Gaddafi regime is finished, he must leave office, he must leave the country,” Franco Frattini told a joint news conference with Ali al-Essawi, the rebels’ foreign affairs chief.

“His aides have left, he has no international support, the G8 leaders reject him, he must go.”

Frattini was speaking ahead of a ceremony to inaugurate a new Italian consulate in the eastern city, in another major blow to Gaddafi after NATO insisted his “reign of terror” is nearing an end.

Italy, the former colonial ruler of Libya and strategic economic partner with Gaddafi’s regime, has joined international calls led by Britain, France and the United States for the Libyan leader to go.

In Washington, State Department spokesman said US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will visit the United Arab Emirates on June 9 for a meeting of the Libya contact group.

“This meeting will build on the last contact group meeting held in Rome,” and will allow the United States and its partners to discuss implementation of UN Security Council resolutions 1970 and 1973, Mark Toner told reporters.

UN under secretary general B Lynn Pascoe told the UN Security Council meanwhile that at least 1,200 people have been killed or are missing after trying to flee Libya by boat since the start of the uprising against Gaddafi mid-February.

At the same time, the official TAP news agency reported from Tunis on Tuesday that five more officers have joined the flow of defectors from Gaddafi’s regime, arriving at the weekend in neighbouring Tunisia.

The colonel and four lieutenant colonels as well as four rank-and-file soldiers arrived by boat on Sunday, the report said.

In Rome on Monday, five generals, two colonels and a major announced they had defected from Gaddafi’s forces, calling on other officers to follow their example.

Abdel Rahman Shalgham, a former foreign minister who was Tripoli’s UN representative before switching sides, told a news conference that around 120 officers had defected in recent days.

© 2011 AFP

Welcome to the Violent World of Mr. Hopey Changey

June 1, 2011

By John Pilger
Information Clearing House

June 1, 2011


When Britain lost control of Egypt in 1956, Prime Minister Anthony Eden said he wanted the nationalist president Gamal Abdel Nasser “destroyed … murdered … I don’t give a damn if there’s anarchy and chaos in Egypt”. Those insolent Arabs, Winston Churchill had urged in 1951, should be driven “into the gutter from which they should never have emerged”. 

The language of colonialism may have been modified; the spirit and the hypocrisy are unchanged. A new imperial phase is unfolding in direct response to the Arab uprising that began in January and has shocked Washington and Europe, causing an Eden-style panic. The loss of the Egyptian tyrant Mubarak was grievous, though not irretrievable; an American-backed counter-revolution is under way as the military regime in Cairo is seduced with new bribes and power shifting from the street to political groups that did not initiate the revolution. The western aim, as ever, is to stop authentic democracy and reclaim control.

AN ELITE AGENDA: Obama is doing the job he was hired to do by his elite masters.

Libya is the immediate opportunity. The Nato attack on Libya, with the UN Security Council assigned to mandate a bogus “no fly zone” to “protect civilians”, is strikingly similar to the final destruction of Yugoslavia in 1999. There was no UN cover for the bombing of Serbia and the “rescue” of Kosovo, yet the propaganda echoes today. Like Slobodan Milosevic, Muammar Gaddafi is a “new Hitler”, plotting “genocide” against his people. There is no evidence of this, as there was no genocide in Kosovo. In Libya there is a tribal civil war; and the armed uprising against Gaddafi has long been appropriated by the Americans, French and British, their planes attacking residential Tripoli with uranium-tipped missiles and the submarine HMS Triumph firing Tomahawk missiles, a repeat of the “shock and awe” in Iraq that left thousands of civilians dead and maimed. As in Iraq, the victims, which include countless incinerated Libyan army conscripts, are media unpeople.

In the “rebel” east, the terrorising and killing of black African immigrants is not news. On 22 May, a rare piece in the Washington Post described the repression, lawlessness and death squads in the “liberated zones” just as visiting EU foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton, declared she had found only “great aspirations” and “leadership qualities”. In demonstrating these qualities, Mustafa Abdel Jalil, the “rebel leader” and Gaddafi’s justice minister until February, pledged, “Our friends … will have the best opportunity in future contracts with Libya.” The east holds most of Libya’s oil, the greatest reserves in Africa. In March the rebels, with expert foreign guidance, “transferred” to Benghazi the Libyan Central Bank, a wholly owned state institution. This is unprecedented. Meanwhile, the US and the EU “froze” almost US$100 billion in Libyan funds, “the largest sum ever blocked”, according to official statements. It is the biggest bank robbery in history.

The French elite are enthusiastic robbers and bombers. Nicholas Sarkozy’s imperial design is for a French-dominated Mediterranean Union (UM), which would allow France to “return” to its former colonies in North Africa and profit from privileged investment and cheap labour. Gaddafi described the Sarkozy plan as “an insult” that was “taking us for fools”. The Merkel government in Berlin agreed, fearing its old foe would diminish Germany in the EU, and abstained in the Security Council vote on Libya.

Like the attack on Yugoslavia and the charade of Milosevic’s trial, the International Criminal Court is being used by the US, France and Britain to prosecute Gaddafi while his repeated offers of a ceasefire are ignored. Gaddafi is a Bad Arab. David Cameron’s government and its verbose top general want to eliminate this Bad Arab, like the Obama administration killed a famously Bad Arab in Pakistan recently. The crown prince of Bahrain, on the other hand, is a Good Arab. On 19 May, he was warmly welcomed to Britain by Cameron with a photo-call on the steps of 10 Downing Street. In March, the same crown prince slaughtered unarmed protestors and allowed Saudi forces to crush his country’s democracy movement. The Obama administration has rewarded Saudi Arabia, one of the most repressive regimes on earth, with a $US60 billion arms deal, the biggest in US history. The Saudis have the most oil. They are the Best Arabs.

The assault on Libya, a crime under the Nuremberg standard, is Britain’s 46th military “intervention” in the Middle East since 1945. Like its imperial partners, Britain’s goal is to control Africa’s oil. Cameron is not Anthony Eden, but almost. Same school. Same values. In the media-pack, the words colonialism and imperialism are no longer used, so that the cynical and the credulous can celebrate state violence in its more palatable form.

      Author John Pilger’s film “The War You Don’t See”.

And as “Mr. Hopey Changey” (the name that Ted Rall, the great American cartoonist, gives Barack Obama), is fawned upon by the British elite and launches another insufferable presidential campaign, the Anglo-American reign of terror proceeds in Afghanistan and elsewhere, with the murder of people by unmanned drones – a US/Israel innovation, embraced by Obama. For the record, on a scorecard of imposed misery, from secret trials and prisons and the hounding of whistleblowers and the criminalising of dissent to the incarceration and impoverishment of his own people, mostly black people, Obama is as bad as George W. Bush.

The Palestinians understand all this. As their young people courageously face the violence of Israel’s blood-racism, carrying the keys of their grandparents’ stolen homes, they are not even included in Mr. Hopey Changey’s list of peoples in the Middle East whose liberation is long overdue. What the oppressed need, he said on 19 May, is a dose of “America’s interests [that] are essential to them”.  He insults us all.

www.johnpilger.com


Mystery of the helicopter landed at scene of Dr Kelly’s death after his body was found

June 1, 2011

By Miles Goslett
Daily Mail
Last updated at 2:27 PM on 14th May 2011

A helicopter mysteriously landed at the scene of Dr David Kelly’s death shortly after the body was found.

The aircraft only remained on the ground for five minutes before leaving, suggesting it either deposited or collected somebody or something.

Details from its flight log, released under the Freedom of Information Act, show that the helicopter – hired by Thames Valley police – landed at Harrowdown Hill in Oxfordshire at 10.55am on July 18, 2003, 90 minutes after the body was discovered by volunteer search teams.

BIZARRE: A helicopter briefly landed at the scene of Dr Kelly's death - after the body was found - at Harrowdown Hill in Oxfordshire. Details of the aircraft, hired by police, have been withheld (file picture)

Significantly, the flight log has been heavily redacted, making it impossible to know who was on board or what its exact purpose was.

The flight was not mentioned in oral evidence at the Hutton Inquiry, set up by Tony Blair to investigate Dr Kelly’s death.

Dr Andrew Watt, who has previously raised questions about the suicide finding reached by Lord Hutton, has written to Attorney General Dominic Grieve drawing his attention to the flight.

Dr Watt, a clinical pharmacologist, said: ‘If the purpose of the helicopter flight was innocent, one has to ask why it was kept secret.’ 

The riddle joins the growing list of unanswered questions about the circumstances of the government weapons inspector’s final moments.

It emerges in the same week that Tony Blair and Alastair Campbell were accused of lying to the Chilcot Inquiry into the lead-up to the Iraq war.

The Mail reported yesterday how declassified documents from the inquiry revealed a spy chief disputed Campbell’s claim that the dossier was ‘not the case for war’.

A senior diplomat also accused the former prime minister of distorting expert reports about the post-war chaos.

Dr Kelly is said to have killed himself in woods near his home after being named as the prime source of a BBC report accusing the Labour government of lying to take Britain into war in Iraq…

Uniquely for a suspicious death, no coroner’s inquest has been held. Instead, the Hutton Inquiry found he committed suicide by swallowing painkillers and cutting his wrist with a blunt knife.

Dr Kelly left no suicide note and had arranged to meet his daughter on July 17, 2003, the day he was last seen alive.

 More…

 He had also made plans to see friends the following week and, on the morning of his death, booked a return ticket to Iraq  in connection with his work.

The latest disclosure comes as Attorney General Mr Grieve prepares to announce whether there will be an inquest into Dr Kelly’s death. He has waited almost a year to reach a decision.

In opposition, Mr Grieve told at least two fellow MPs privately that he had misgivings about the Kelly affair.

Last June, after the Coalition was formed, he asked anyone with new information about Dr Kelly’s death to send it to him and over the last nine months has been informed of several pieces of material evidence which were never raised at the Hutton Inquiry.

Crucially, a non-statutory public inquiry such as Hutton has none of the powers of a coroner’s inquest.

Witnesses, including Mr Blair and Mr Campbell, did not swear an oath before giving evidence.

A group of doctors has begun a legal action to try to secure an inquest.

Papers submitted through their lawyers Leigh Day & Co say the suicide finding is medically implausible and should be investigated fully by an experienced coroner, not a judge.

The doctors have set up a fund to raise £25,000 for a judicial review in case Mr Grieve decides there is no case for an inquest.

Dr Michael Powers QC, representing the doctors, said: ‘Dominic Grieve has been sitting on a substantial amount of new evidence for a very long time.

‘In law, the case for a coroner’s inquest is unanswerable.’

Read original report here

We Are Enabling A Future American Dictatorship

May 31, 2011

By Steve Watson
Infowars.com
May 31, 2011

2012 Presidential candidate Ron Paul has warned that a lack of oversight from Congress, the media and the American people is enabling the rise of a dictatorship in the US.

The Congressman issued the warning via his weekly Texas Straight Talk column, noting that in light of current attitudes within the executive and legislative branches, “it would be incredibly naive to think a dictator could not or would not wrest power in this country” at some point in the future.

“Americans who are not alarmed by all of this are either not paying close attention, or are too trusting of current government officials to be concerned.” Paul writes:

“Our Presidents can now, on their own: order assassinations, including American citizens; operate secret military tribunals; engage in torture; enforce indefinite imprisonment without due process; order searches and seizures without proper warrants, gutting the 4th Amendment; ignore the 60 day rule for reporting to the Congress the nature of any military operations as required by the War Power Resolution; continue the Patriot Act abuses without oversight; wage war at will; and treat all Americans as suspected terrorists at airports with TSA groping and nude x-rays. ” The Congressman urges.

The Congressman also specifically pointed to last weeks passage by Congress of a National Defense Authorization Act that contains an alarming worldwide war provision, noting that it “explicitly extends the president’s war powers to just about anybody.”

When it comes to running wars, Obama has been as effective as Bush was.

The ACLU declared that the provision: “has no expiration date and will allow this president — and any future president — to go to war anywhere in the world, at any time, without further congressional authorization. The new authorization wouldn’t even require the president to show any threat to the national security of the United States. The American military could become the world’s cop, and could be sent into harm’s way almost anywhere and everywhere around the globe.”

Section 1034 of the Defense Authorization bill that says were are at war with the “associated forces” of al Qaeda and the Taliban.

“Would it be so hard for someone in the government to target a political enemy and connect them to al Qaeda, however tenuously, and have them declared an associated force?” writes Congressman Paul.

Paul warned that future leaders will ” inherit all the additional powers we cede to the current position holders.”

Listen to the Congressman’s warning in full below:

 A Constitutional lesson for Obama from a genuine scholar on the subject.

——————————————–

Steve Watson is the London based writer and editor for Alex Jones’ Infowars.net, and Prisonplanet.com. He has a Masters Degree in International Relations from the School of Politics at The University of Nottingham in England.

Anatomy of a Murder: How NATO Killed Qaddafi Family Members

May 30, 2011

Cynthia McKinney
Infowars.com
May 29, 2011

How many times must a parent bury a child?

Well, in the case of Muammar Qaddafi it’s not only twice: once for his daughter, murdered by the United States bombing on his home in 1986, and again on 30 April 2011 when his youngest son, Saif al Arab, but yet again for three young children, grandbabies of Muammar Qaddafi killed along with Saif at the family home.

Now, I watched Cindy Sheehan as she bared her soul before us in her grief; I cried when Cindy cried. Now, how must Qaddafi and his wife feel? And the people of Libya, parents of all the nation’s children gone too soon. I don’t even want to imagine.

MURDERED BY NATO: Saif-al-Arab killed in cold blood by the US, UK and France.

All my mother could say in astonishment was, “They killed the babies, they killed his grandbabies.”

The news reports, however, didn’t last more than one half of a news cycle because on 1 May, at a hastily assembled press conference, President Obama announced the murder of Osama bin Laden.

Well, I haven’t forgotten my empathy for Cindy Sheehan; I haven’t forgotten my concern for the children of Iraq that Madeleine Albright said were OK to kill by U.S. sanctions if U.S. geopolitical goals were achieved. I care about the children of Palestine who throw stones at Israeli soldiers and get laser-guided bullets to their brains in return. I care about the people of North Africa and West Asia who are ready to risk their lives for freedom. In fact, I care about all of the children — from Appalachia to the Cancer Alley, from New York City to San Diego, and everywhere in-between.

On 22 May 2011, I had the opportunity to visit the residence of the Qaddafi family, bombed to smithereens by NATO. For a leader, the house seemed small in comparison, say, to the former Clinton family home in Chappaqua or the Obama family home. It was a small whitewashed suburban type house in a typical residential area in metropolitan Tripoli. It was surrounded by dozens of other family homes.

I spoke with a neighbor who described how three separate smart bombs hit the home and exploded, another one not exploding. According to the BBC, the NATO military operations chief stated that a “command and control center” had been hit. That is a lie. As anyone who visits the home can see, this home had nothing to do with NATO’s war. The strike against this home had everything to do with NATO adopting a policy of targeted assassination and extra-judicial killing — clearly illegal.

The neighbor said he found Saif Al-Arab in his bedroom underneath rubble; the three young grandchildren were in a different room and they were shredded to pieces. He told of how he picked up as many pieces as he possibly could. He told us that there are still pieces there that he could not get. He asked us to note the smell — not the putrid smell of rotting flesh, but a sweet smell. I did smell it and thought there was an air freshener nearby. It smelled to me of roses. He asked me why this was done and who was going to hold NATO accountable.

Muammar Qaddafi was at the house. But he was outside near where the animals are kept. It is a miracle that he survived. From the looks of that house and the small guest house beside it, the strike was a complete success if the goal was to totally and thoroughly demolish the structure and everything inside it.

NATO wants us to believe that toys, items and clothing, an opened Holy Koran, and a soccer board game are the appointments found in military command and control offices. I wonder if we could find such articles in NATO’s office in Brussels.

The opened Holy Koran seemed to be frozen in time. In fact, there was a clock dangling from its cord — dangling in space. And indeed, for the four young people in that house at the time of NATO’s attack, time had stopped.

The concussion from the bombs were so great that eerie tile on the walls and floors of the home had been knocked from the walls. Black burn marks scorched the walls. The force broke a marble or granite countertop. The bathtub was literally split into two parts. Shards of the bomb were everywhere. I wondered if the place was now contaminated with depleted uranium.

The Qaddafi home is a crime scene — a murder scene. The United States prisons are full of men and women who are innocent — even on death row. I wonder where the guilty who are never prosecuted go.

Now, if the International Court of Justice were really a repository of justice, it would be investigating this crime. Instead, it is looking for yet another African to prosecute. We in the United States are familiar with this: on our local news every night, we are saturated with photos of Black and Brown criminals with the implication being that White people don’t commit crime. The moment the face of someone arrested is not shown, then we know that the culprit is White. It’s the unwritten code that we people of color all live by wherever in the world we might happen to be. Global apartheid is alive and well and exists on many levels.

I left the house sick in my heart. As I was about to depart, the neighbor begged me, asked me over and over again, why had this happened? What had they done to deserve this? He seemed to not want me to leave. Honestly, I think I was his little piece of America, his little piece of President Obama and I could help him to understand why this course of action was necessary from my President’s point of view. He said NATO should just leave them alone and let them sort out their problems on their own.

I did leave his presence, but that man’s face will never leave me.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. warned, “History will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people.”

In response to my previous article, I received the following quite about Buddha from Shiva Shankar who excerpted Walpola Rahula’s What The Buddha Taught:

… The Buddha not only taught non-violence and peace, but he even went to the field of battle itself and intervened personally, and prevented war, as in the case of the dispute between the Sakyas and the Koliyas, who were prepared to fight over the question of the waters of the Rohini. And his words once prevented King Ajatasattu from attacking the kingdom of the Vajjis. …

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… Here is a lesson for the world today. The ruler of an empire publicly turning his back on war and violence and embraced the message of peace and non-violence. There is no historical evidence to show that any neighboring king took advantage of Asoka’s piety to attack him militarily, or that there was any revolt or rebellion within his empire during his lifetime. On the contrary there was peace throughout the land, and even countries outside his empire seem to have accepted his benign leadership. …

Please don’t allow special interest press and war mongering gatekeepers of the left to blot out the tragedy unfolding in Libya. Please don’t allow them to take away our chance to live in peace throughout our land and with countries inside and outside our hemisphere. Congress should vote to end NATO’s action in Libya and barring that should assert its Constitutional prerogatives and require the President to come to it for authorization of this war. And then, Congress should heed the wisdom of the people of our country who are against this war and vote for peace.

This article first appeared at Infowars.

LIBYA: NEW THEATRES OF CONFLICT INCREASES RISK OF MULTI-REGIONAL WORLD WAR

April 26, 2011

By Patrick Henningsen
21st Century Wire
April 26, 2011

With the addition of Libya to the US and NATO’s regional conflict portfolio, our world is currently host to more wars and forced occupations than at any other time in history. Given its current trajectory, you only have to sit back and wait for that illusive match that could ignite another full-blown world war.

Events in Libya are not exclusive to the military theatre. There is a geopolitical and economic chess match at play between the West and China in a battle for Africa and with it, the largest basket of natural resources on Earth.

In Libya we are witnessing what could be described as a New Cold War between the West and China, but from its early stages we can see that this war is hardly a cold one. It’s a hot war, one which might very well threaten the delicate stability that remains between the major economic and military powers across multiple global regions.

 Patrick Henningsen on Russia Today explaining the basis of a “New Cold War” between China and the West.

Mostly under the media radar, the US has already outlined its strategic agenda through the formation of AFRICOM, a subset of the infamous neo-conservative Project for a New American Century(PNAC). Central to AFRICOM’s strategic goals is to confront the increasing Chinese influence on the continent.

Strong strategic and economic links already exist between Russia, Pakistan, Iran and China, and NATO military actions are already coming into direct conflict with these relationships. Led by the US and Britain, NATO is currently being deployed like an international hit squad in order to secure territories and resources which carry a high transnational corporate value.

The use of NATO in these far-flung regions has taken it far away from its original charter to preserve peace and stability along the old front-line between the now defunct USSR and the US-European alliance. The use of NATO in these regions, however, is further proof that its old cold war function is still active, the old chess pieces are still in play and its Western directors are not hiding this fact at all.

Obama presiding over new wars

In late 2007 and early 2008, Americans and fawning fans around the globe bought into a much different picture altogether. The election of US President Barrack Obama had convinced masses worldwide that those dark days were behind them; he promised them he would close America’s off-shore military concentration camp in Guantanamo Bay, pull the troops out of Iraq, reignite the fabled “peace process” between Israel and Palestine, and focus on more pressing economic matters at home.

Much to the surprise of his loyal devotees, just the opposite transpired; aided by his unlikely pro-war Secretary of State Hilary Clinton, we have seen an expansion of military troops overseas, the addition of Pakistan as a theatre of conflict, the activation of military tribunals to fabricate convictions of innocent detainees in Guantanamo, no mention of Israel, and the launch of a new undeclared illegal war in Libya. Even his greatest fans have been left scratching their heads over how the West could get it so wrong. How could this once celebrated man of the people, the first man of colour in the White House, the young turk, the reformer- steer his flock into such a pattern of geopolitical digression?

THE HAWKISH DOVE: The irony of Obama is that he may be credited with propelling the West into a WWIII disaster.

Ironically, Barrack Obama was given his Nobel Peace Prize only two months after being in office, a bizarre move by the Nobel Prize Committee. ”Obama has now fired more cruise missiles than all other Nobel Peace prize winners combined”, not a good line on the resume of a dove. He’s now joined the ranks of Henry Kissinger and other notable mass bombers. At this point, there appears to be little chance for redemption.

The Resource Wars

Despite the utopian projections by the ranks of neo-liberal globalist disciples, cadres of nations and trading alliances have formed since 2000. BRICS, MENA, and LATIN AMERICAN emerging economic blocks are challenging the pre-eminence of the traditional Anglo-American and European dominion over the global markets and cultural monopolies. Oil, gas, uranium and water feature prominently in this realignment of the global chessboard, and with each additional military theatre comes an additional risk of a multi-regional war. For decades this premonition has been known commonly as World War III.  Such a new war will most certainly be fought around one singular issue… natural resources.

The capture and control of the world’s remaining resources and energy supplies will be the theme which will govern and literally fuel all major conflicts in the 21st century. This pattern has already begun with the First Gulf War in 1991, leading to the West’s complete control of energy lines in Afghanistan and Iraq from 2001 onwards, and again to the current resource grab we are currently witnessing in Libya.

  A comprehensive video analysis of how a World War III scenario would likely unfold.

The Nuclear Risk

Hawks, think-tankers and arm chair cheerleaders in countries like the US and Britain may be convinced that in the event of a Third World War they will most certainly be on the winning side because the military and nuclear scales are weighing heavily in their favour.  What these hawks do not consider is that the one risk which trumps all other concerns in this scenario is just that: the use of nuclear weapons. It is very likely that any version of a Third World War will almost certainly feature the use of thermo-nuclear bombs and missiles.

Confident hawks should be reminded that the risks of escalation in a two-way or a three-way shooting match will result in a massive loss of innocent lives and certain permanent environmental damage on a very large scale. Large stocks of valuable and relatively finite resources including energy, food, fish  and water supplies will be rendered useless and inaccessible for many generations. In addition, nuclear fall-out will have an environmental knock-on effect globally. In short, even a regional nuclear conflict will have catastrophic consequences both in and outside of the conflict zones. Few can disagree that this is one genie which should not be allowed out of the bottle again.

Depleted Uranium

Nuclear weapons have already been introduced into the conflict zone. The use of illegal and highly dangerous Depleted Uranium (DU) munitions by the US, Europe and Israel has featured widely in their respective war theatres. US and NATO forces used DU penetrator rounds in the 1991 Gulf War, the Bosnia war, bombing of Serbia, and the 2003 invasion of Iraq.  

DU essentially amounts to recycled nuclear waste, repackaged for profit into a highly lethal and toxic ammunition for use on the battlefield- and it’s been around for years. While clearing a decades-old Hawaii firing range in 2005, workers found depleted uranium fins from training rounds from the formerly classified Davy Crockett recoilless gun tactical battlefield nuclear delivery system from the 1960-70s. These same training rounds were used in a highly classified program and had been fired before DU had become an item of interest, more than 20 years before the Gulf War:

“The Sub-Commission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities of the United Nations Human Rights Commission, passed two motions —  the first in 1996 and the second in 1997. They listed weapons of mass destruction, or weapons with indiscriminate effect, or of a nature to cause superfluous injury or unnecessary suffering and urged all states to curb the production and the spread of such weapons. Included in the list was weaponry containing depleted uranium.”

DU: The US and NATO continue to use Depleted Uranium rounds, Libya is the latest environmental victim.

With a minimum half-life of 400,000 years, lethal radioactive DU dust has already spread over the Middle East region and beyond. Despite international efforts to ban its use, it appears that the US and its allies are determined to use it on its foreign victims… indefinitely.

Role of Domestic Bystander

On the domestic front, elites still need to prime the public for their participation in these new 21st century wars. The theme of “terrorism” and “domestic terror” will continue to occupy a prime place in our domestic conversation, ensuring a state of permanent domestic war which is currently being administered by a rapidly growing Police and Surveillance State, particularly in the US and the UK. The rapid advance of the domestic Police State in these two countries could be an indication that they may very well form one side of any impending global conflict.

It’s also a certainty that more young men and women from these same Western nations will be asked to replenish the dwindling ranks of soldiers to be stationed in legions overseas, as well as for domestic service in forming standing armies at home. And here is where the rubber actually meets the road: citizens who still consider themselves free should seriously consider for what reasons and for whose interest they are putting on their uniform… and ask why they will asked to point their guns at foreign citizens and citizens at home.

We are currently in the early stages of what appears to be a global escalation phase and it is anyone’s guess how this chess game will unfold in the immediate future. However, taking long-term trends and the colonial behaviour patterns of certain North American and European countries into account, it is almost certain that the battle for finite resources, the preservation of corporate monopolies and the dominance of a single global currency will force a confrontation between old and emerging economic blocks.

Your individual role in such an unstable future is up to you. Depending on your level of education and awareness, you will either play a role in stemming the tide of war, or contributing to it. Unfortunately, in this case, staying on the fence will likely place you in the latter category.

Author Patrick Henningsen is a writer and communications consultant and currently the Managing Editor of 21st Century Wire.