Friday, September 29, 2006

I love it- pastafarianism rules! AARRRRRRrrrrrrrrrrrrrr, me hearties

a few small steps closer to Christian suicide bombers

Harry's Place brought this to my attention. As Harry says, "this is some scary shit!" Be afraid peeps, be very afraid. The God Squad are tooling up and preparing for Armageddon and even if you don't want it they're going to bring it about one way or another: Either you're on the side of Jesus; or you're damned.

Fortunately for this Pastor Becky Fisher I'm not a fan of capital punishment. People like her are desperate for Armageddon as they think they have the power of Jesus on their side and anything up to that level of conflict is just pandering to satan. My question is: "As the Islamic fundamentalism of children is universally condemned, how are you any different by doing the same thing?" This fat psycho-bitch's plans are laid all to clear on her own website . She speaks of children evangelicising their friends and of laying hands on sick people to heal them in the name of Jesus and- my favourite- "raising the dead". And people are actually taking her up on the offer of skullfucking their children royally and paying her little cluster of superstitious speakers in tongues and snake charmers for the privilege!

I have been reading up on the whole anti-evolution, anti-progress, neo-con right wing christian fundamentalist death cult and I've decided to engage a typical advocate of such dark age society in lucid discussion of their values and beliefs so for the enxt few days I will be attempting to lock horns with one of these hate-preachers. Follow my progress here to find out how successful I am. :)

Monday, September 25, 2006

Pakistan's ailing dictatorship

oD carried this story.

As the bloody insurgencies in Afghanistan and Iraq grow more and more violent and bloody it seems that few eyes are watching this nuclear power drift steadily further into confusion and instability. The oD article is an unnerving indicator that Pakistan is on the verge of a sudden shift in power structure. The US backing of Pervez Musharraf hamstrung the man's rule from 11th September 2001 onwards. As a result, although the Pakistani military appears to have been superficially aiding Bush's war on common sense the truth of the matter is that support for the Taliban has mushroomed in the anarchic tribal regions that lie between Afghanistan and Pakistan proper. NATO troops in Afghanistan are facing the product of this absurd piece of gunship diplomacy by the US- an revitalised Taliban insurgency and now a pair of countries with grassroots hostility to NATO's mission.

I am deeply concerned that this support for anti-western politics will, 10 years down the line, result in a Talibanesque Pakistan. With nuclear weapons. Just as in Iran and Iraq, the US are throwing guns and technology at the Pakistanis, hoping that this will help their mission but they failed to notice that much of the Pakistani military didn't really want to work against their kinsmen. As the oD article points out:

"Elements within the Pakistan military and intelligence communities have long been known to be sympathetic to the Taliban and al-Qaida ,and the question has simply been how widely this sympathy was shared within the military government itself."

Once again US foreign policy is built around the premise that you can achieve yuor goals through coercion and outright bribery. This works to great effects within the US administration so it is no surprise that successive administrations attempt to export the practice. The truism quoted in the oD article is horribly apposite.

"for a man in possession of a hammer all problems look like nails"

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Praise the Lord Johann, for he tells It like It is.

Honestly guys- how can anyone possibly believe in religion when you're faced with such incredibly succinct and rational arguments for it all being a fairy tale. The one thing I take issue with Johann for is describing religion as a "hallucination". I have had plenty of wicked hallucinations and I have also experienced religion 1st hand thanks to my forced attendance at chapel every week whilst I was at school and they are very, very different. I will email Johann accordingly.

Israel threatens nuclear strikes against Iran

The fuckers have gone and done it now! If they deploy nuclear weapons then they will have to suffer the consequences of their actions. I can see no response to this except military action under the UN flag to seize and destroy Israel's nuclear arsenal. There is no excuse for such overtly offensive action whilst there remains no evidence whatsoever of Iran attempting to develop, let alone actually possessing, a nuclear warhead.

The question is, are the Israelis so out of touch with reality that they think the rest of the world will let them get away with this? I believe that the answer is no. However, the mere threat of nuclear weapons in a serious discussion of the 'Iranian issue' chills me to the bone.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

the rise of the anti-atheism in the UK

Everyone child in the UK should be made to watch this.

Most of the adults too.

Monday, September 18, 2006

The evidence of Israel's war crimes

Its pretty simple: Collective punishment of a nation is forbidden under the Geneva convention. Israel fired millions of cluster bomblets into Southern Lebanon without any specific target, turning the entire area into a minefield. This targets the civilian population of this region and can be viewed as nothing but collective punishment of a nation.

"Deadly harvest: The Lebanese fields sown with cluster bombs

Lebanese villagers must risk death in fields 'flooded' with more than a million Israeli cluster bombs - or leave crops to rot

By Patrick Cockburn in Nabatiyeh

Published: 18 September 2006

The war in Lebanon has not ended. Every day, some of the million bomblets which were fired by Israeli artillery during the last three days of the conflict kill four people in southern Lebanon and wound many more.

The casualty figures will rise sharply in the next month as villagers begin the harvest, picking olives from trees whose leaves and branches hide bombs that explode at the smallest movement. Lebanon's farmers are caught in a deadly dilemma: to risk the harvest, or to leave the produce on which they depend to rot in the fields.

In a coma in a hospital bed in Nabatiyeh lies Hussein Ali Ahmad, a 70-year-old man from the village of Yohmor. He was pruning an orange tree outside his house last week when he dislodged a bomblet; it exploded, sending pieces of shrapnel into his brain, lungs and kidneys. "I know he can hear me because he squeezes my hand when I talk to him," said his daughter, Suwad, as she sat beside her father's bed in the hospital.

At least 83 people have been killed by cluster munitions since the ceasefire, according to independent monitors.

Some Israeli officers are protesting at the use of cluster bombs, each containing 644 small but lethal bomblets, against civilian targets in Lebanon. A commander in the MLRS (multiple launch rocket systems) unit told the Israeli daily Haaretz that the army had fired 1,800 cluster rockets, spraying 1.2 million bomblets over houses and fields. "In Lebanon, we covered entire villages with cluster bombs," he said. "What we did there was crazy and monstrous." What makes the cluster bombs so dangerous is that 30 per cent of the bomblets do not detonate on impact. They can lie for years - often difficult to see because of their small size, on roofs, in gardens, in trees, beside roads or in rubbish - waiting to explode when disturbed.

In Nabatiyeh, the modern 100-bed government hospital has received 19 victims of cluster bombs since the end of the war. As we arrived, a new patient, Ahmad Sabah, a laboratory technician at the hospital, was being rushed into the emergency room. A burly man of 45, he was unconscious on a stretcher. Earlier in the morning, he had gone up to the flat roof of his house to check the water tank. While there, he must have touched a pile of logs he was keeping for winter fires. Unknown to him, a bomblet had fallen into the woodpile a month earlier. The logs shielded him from the full force of the blast, but when we saw him, doctors were still trying to find out the extent of his injuries.

"For us, the war is still going on, though there was a cease-fire on 14 August," said Dr Hassan Wazni, the director of the hospital. "If the cluster bombs had all exploded at the time they landed, it would not be so bad, but they are still killing and maiming people."

The bomblets may be small, but they explode with devastating force. On the morning of the ceasefire, Hadi Hatab, an 11-year old boy, was brought dying to the hospital. "He must have been holding the bomb close to him," Dr Wazni said. "It took off his hands and legs and the lower part of his body."

We went to Yohmor to find where Hussein Ali Ahmad had received his terrible wounds while pruning his orange tree. The village is at the end of a broken road, six miles south of Nabatiyeh, and is overlooked by the ruins of Beaufort Castle, a crusader fortress on a ridge above the deep valley along which the Litani river runs.

Israeli bombs and shells have turned about a third of the houses in Yohmor into concrete sandwiches, one floor falling on top of another under the impact of explosions. Some families camp in the ruins. Villagers said that they were most worried by the cluster bombs still infesting their gardens, roofs and fruit trees. In the village street, were the white vehicles of the Manchester-based Mines Advisory Group (MAG), whose teams are trying to clear the bomblets.

It is not an easy job. Whenever members of one of the MAG teams finds and removes a bomblet, they put a stick, painted red on top and then yellow, in the ground. There are so many of these sticks that it looks as if some sinister plant had taken root and is flourishing in the village.

"The cluster bombs all landed in the last days of the war," said Nuhar Hejazi, a surprisingly cheerful 65-year-old woman. "There were 35 on the roof of our house and 200 in our garden so we can't visit our olive trees." People in Yohmor depend on their olive trees and the harvest should begin now before the rains, but the trees are still full of bomblets. "My husband and I make 20 cans of oil a year which we need to sell," Mrs Hejazi says. "Now we don't know what to do." The sheer number of the bomblets makes it almost impossible to remove them all.

Frederic Gras, a de-mining expert formerly in the French navy, who is leading the MAG teams in Yohmor, says: "In the area north of the Litani river, you have three or four people being killed every day by cluster bombs. The Israeli army knows that 30 per cent of them do not explode at the time they are fired so they become anti-personnel mines."

Why did the Israeli army do it? The number of cluster bombs fired must have been greater than 1.2 million because, in addition to those fired in rockets, many more were fired in 155mm artillery shells. One Israeli gunner said he had been told to "flood" the area at which they were firing but was given no specific targets. M. Gras, who personally defuses 160 to 180 bomblets a day, says this is the first time he seen cluster bombs used against heavily populated villages.

An editorial in Haaretz said that the mass use of this weapon by the Israeli Defence Forces was a desperate last-minute attempt to stop Hizbollah's rocket fire into northern Israel. Whatever the reason for the bombardment, the villagers in south Lebanon will suffer death and injury from cluster bombs as they pick their olives and oranges for years to come."

The UK starts to abandon the war for "hearts and minds" in favour of "The War"

New Statesman carried this report regarding cuts in humanitarian aid to NGOs in Iraq.

"Reportage: Humanitarian cutbacks: the scandal in Iraq
Rageh Omaar
Monday 18th September 2006

As I sit down to write this article on 11 September 2006, I am less than five minutes' walk from the former Green Line, which divided the city of Jerusalem in half before the Six Day War in 1967. No 1 Road, as it is still called, was the ceasefire line that marked the international border running through Jerusalem between Israel and Jordan which was agreed after the creation of the Jewish state.

After the 1967 war, Israel annexed East Jeru salem and the rest of the West Bank, which was ruled by Jordan. Today, the road is a large boulevard but it is still considered to be the unofficial dividing line between the Arab and Jewish halves of Jerusalem. On one side of the road you see ultra-Orthodox Jews, whose neighbourhoods and communities begin on the western side of No 1 Road; on the other, you see Palestinians making their way from their shops or restaurants towards "their side" of the city.

Outside of New York and Washington, this is perhaps the most apt place to reflect on what has happened in the world, and particularly the Middle East, these five years since the attacks of 9/11. Walking along No 1 Road, it feels and looks like a microcosm of the division that now runs through the Islamic world and the west. As with No 1 Road, there is no formal border, nothing you can point to that shows a dividing line. Yet psychologically, emotionally, economically and spiritually it is there: an ever-widening chasm between peoples who are suspicious, fearful and sometimes contemptuous of each other. It should never have been like this and it wasn't, before 11 September 2001.

Five years on, the "war on terror" cannot be defined by policies based on the economic reconstruction and social and political rehabilitation of the failed states and dictatorships where extremist ideology thrives. It cannot point to any significant increase in free access to healthcare and education, or to local institutional development in Afghanistan, Iraq or the Palestinian territories. Today, the war on terror can only be defined (as it is by its central architect, George W Bush) as a military and security operation against militants and terrorists. It is increasingly detached from the human dimension of the societies where the war on terror is being fought.

There are many reasons for this. But there is one main factor that explains why the war on terror turned from being a potentially holistic vision in the wake of 9/11, one where development and reconstruction were at least part of the rhetoric, to being a counter-terrorism operation based on military and security campaigns.

Both the United States and the UK, almost invisibly to the public gaze and largely uncommented on by the mainstream media, have cut back direct funding and support for humanitarian operations, especially in Iraq. This has happened to such an extent that even "hearts and minds" initiatives are now framed largely within a military rather than a humanitarian context. As a result, "hearts and minds" is about more visible military patrols in neighbourhoods rather than more well-stocked mobile clinics or western-supplied schools.

The Amar International Charitable Foundation is one such victim of a decision to cut funding. It is a tiny organisation, run by Iraqis on the ground. No western NGO comes anywhere close to its level of grass-roots presence inside Iraq. It is something that it has taken Amar many years of trust to build up. The key to its success and legitimacy is that it employs only Iraqi nationals, drawn from the populations it is serving. It was originally established in 1991 to provide humanitarian relief to the victims of that year's uprisings, following the first Gulf war, in both northern and southern Iraq.

Because it was run by Iraqi doctors and medical staff, it was the ideal vehicle for a number of United Nations agencies to use to provide essential healthcare, education, clean water and sanitation to Iraqi refugees and internally displaced peoples. After the collapse of Saddam Hussein's regime in April 2003, it established itself immediately in three provinces where, because of the trust it had built up over the previous 12 years, it was able to get to work more quickly and efficiently than any other foreign NGO starting from scratch.

Today, in southern Iraq, Amar operates nine primary healthcare centres serving a combined area population of 130,000. It also operates a highly successful adult literacy programme in rural areas of south-eastern Iraq, employing 80 teachers across 40 villages. As a result, 2,400 men and women have for the first time been taught to read and write. There are many other such programmes, and there is simply no other NGO providing them.

Incredibly, all of this may now be coming to an end. Why? Because the funding that the Amar Foundation relied on from the British government's Department for International Development is being brought to end. And how much money is involved? A couple of hundred thousand pounds a year.

And we wonder how we have come to this.

This article first appeared in the New Statesman."

So, having invaded Iraq and bombed the shit out of it, we are now going to abandon its people to their fate. As if we didn't know that that would be its fate about a year after we went in. Tak about a self-fulfilling prophecy. Jesus!

Thursday, September 14, 2006

The pot or the kettle? US House Intelligence Committee branded "outrageous & dishonest" by IAEA

Its all there.

You'd think that once Bush government realised it had lost all moral authority to preach to others that they'd make some poorly disguised attempt to buy themselves back into favour. Some sort of aid package, maybe. A few trade concessions, perhaps.


Instead they've gone and got themselves a soap box from which they're directing obscenities at anyone who comes close enough to hear. Idiots!

Sunday, September 10, 2006

British Officer quits over tactics in Afghanistan

I can't imagine any single event that is more indicative of a complete failure of policy than this:

"Army officer quits in protest

at 'mad' Afghan war"

By Martin Hodgson - The Independent on Sunday

Published: 10 September 2006

The former aide-de-camp to a senior commander in the British taskforce in southern Afghanistan has reportedly resigned from the Army in protest at its "grotesquely clumsy" campaign against the Taliban.

Captain Leo Docherty was ADC to Col Charlie Knaggs, the commander of British forces in Helmand, but left the Army last month after becoming disillusioned with its strategy in the restive province.

"We've been grotesquely clumsy - we've said we'll be different to the Americans who were bombing and strafing villages, then behaved exactly like them," he said.

Speaking to The Sunday Times, Mr Docherty said the campaign was "a textbook case of how to screw up a counter-insurgency."

British operations have been dogged by a badly-planned strategy, a lack of local knowledge, and shortage of troops and resources.

The British mission has "deviated spectacularly" from its original aim of be nation-building, and troops are now scattered throughout towns in northern Helmand, where their only hope of survival is "to increase the level of violence so more people get killed".

"It's pretty shocking and not something I want to be part of," he said.

"Having a big old fight is pointless and just making things worse. All those people whose homes have been destroyed and sons killed are going to turn against the British.

"The plan was to secure the provincial capital Lashkar Gah, initiate development projects and enable governance ... During this time, the insecure northern part of Helmand would be contained: troops would not be 'sucked in' to a problem unsolvable by military means alone," Docherty said.

The plan "fell by the wayside" due to pressure from the provincial governor who feared the Taliban were targeting local chiefs . "Now the ground has been lost and all we're doing in places like Sangin is surviving. It's completely barking mad," he said.

It is anathema to Officers in HM Armed Forces to publically speak out against the decisions being made by those in charge. That this Officer has chosen to do so indicates that the situation there and amongst British forces deployed across the globe, has become desperate. Another report in the same paper illustrated the point with uncomfortable clarity:

"'Running hot' - British forces stretched

to the limit"

By Cole Moreton - The Independent on Sunday

Published: 10 September 2006

'Can we cope?" The new head of the British Army asked himself that question in an interview published last Monday, a day when three of his men died. "I pause," admitted General Sir Richard Dannatt. "I say, just." As his words were being read in Preston, Lancashire, a 20-year-old man from the town was being blown up in Iraq.

Gunner Stephen Wright had wanted to be in the Army since he was a boy. He died at a time when the armed forces are being tested more severely than they have since the Second World War - and not only by the enemy. Failing equipment, demanding missions, lack of supplies and the unwillingness of allies to provide reinforcements to the fiercest fighting are stretching them to the limit. "We are running hot," said General Dannatt, comparing his forces to a straining engine. "Certainly running hot."

Gnr Wright was on his first tour of duty with the Royal Artillery, helping to rebuild the small town of Ad Dayr, when a bomb exploded by the roadside. The Land Rover's rear cabin was blown away. The "snatch vehicle", as soldiers call it, was good for rattling rioters on the streets of Belfast but woefully under-protected against the sophisticated new bombs used in Iraq. The ageing Land Rovers have also been recorded as breaking down a thousand times since the invasion. Twenty troops have died in them, including Gnr Wright.

That day, a 24-year-old private was blown up by a suicide bomber in Kabul, where the visiting Foreign Office minister Kim Howells was calling on other Nato countries to send more troops. But he insisted commanders had not complained to him about their resources. "I don't think the British army is overstretched."

Soldiers don't complain, as a rule. The British armed forces have made global reputation out of saying, "Yes sir, we can do that" - so it is significant that squaddies and commanders alike are suggesting that more equipment, medical supplies and reinforcements are needed.

British commitments have increased dramatically since Labour came to power in 1997, from Kosovo and Sierra Leone to Afghanistan and Iraq. But in the same period the number of men and women trained and ready for duty has fallen from 206,000 to 183,000. The RAF has suffered most, losing 16 per cent of personnel at the same time as the MoD spent £2.5bn on 49 new Eurofighter jets at £50m a piece.

Elsewhere, budget cuts and reorganisation have seen a reduction in the number of infantry batallions and the axing or absorption of famous regiments. Military planners did not expect to face such fierce opposition from the Taliban at this stage. But they also expected the people of Iraq to shower invasion forces with kisses.

MPs who visited Iraq in June were impressed by the courage and determination of troops but "disturbed by the deficiencies in equipment". These included vulnerable Land Rovers, a shortage of helicopters and a lack of air conditioning in main bases, leading to heat exhaustion. Other reports from the frontline suggest some besieged troops have run out of food, water and other supplies as convoys cannot get through overland. Support aircraft have suffered mechanical failure because of over-work in extreme heat, and the sand that also jams guns.

"The MoD's confidence that UK armed forces are not overstretched contrasts with what we are hearing on the ground," the all-party defence committee said. The shadow defence secretary, Liam Fox, said only 2.2 per cent of the national income was being spent on defence - the lowest since 1930.

In February the retiring First Sea Lord, Admiral Sir Alan West, warned that the Navy could not do all that was being asked of it, as the number of ships was reduced. "The security and wealth of the country depends on the sea and the Navy," he said. "If you let things run too far down you put that security in jeopardy."

But it is the Army that is suffering most. UK Land Command must make cuts of £40m over the next eight months to bring its budget into line, according to a leaked MoD document. As a result, funding for a new rocket system is to be frozen, stockpiling of ammunition lowered and some bases closed. Repair budgets for tanks and howitzers will be cut and overseas training reduced, leading to a "severe impediment to the delivery of operational capability", the report warns.

The Secretary of State for Defence, Des Browne, has said steps are being taken to address problems with equipment. More helicopters will be found in the long term and new armoured vehicles sent to combat zones before the end of the year. The kit issued to soldiers has improved since the invasion of Iraq, when some had to wear the wrong kind of camouflage and boots that fell apart. But half of all troops still buy their own extra equipment, including scarves, jackets and extra trousers.

Brigadier Robbie Scott-Bowden, the Army's director of infantry, said last year that new equipment made an eight-man infantry section four times more potent than it was in the Second World War. The new technology includes night and laser sights and a grenade launcher that can be fitted under the barrel of an SA80 rifle. "We are better equipped than in the past, without doubt, and the blokes feel very confident with the weapons they now have."

For some units body armour is still in short supply, however, as it was in April 2003 when Sgt Steve Roberts was ordered to give his up. Days later the 33-year-old from West Yorkshire was hit by "friendly fire" during a checkpoint riot. His pistol had jammed. The machine gun that killed him was inaccurate over such a short distance, but the gunners had not been told this. Body armour would have saved him.

Last month, the Army Board of Inquiry finally concluded what his family already knew: that if he had been properly equipped, as every soldier on the frontline has the right to expect, he would not have died. "These events are not technical," said his widow, Samantha. "They involve the loss of my husband, the loss of a son, the loss of a beloved family member."

THE STRATEGY: How 'ink spots' create stability

The "ink spot" strategy which Nato forces are seeking to carry out in southern Afghanistan is nothing new: it dates back to the "fortified village" concept used by Britain to help defeat the insurgency in Malaya in the 1950s and 1960s.

By creating zones of stability and economic activity - the "ink spots" - the authorities hope to deny the insurgents support and win over the local population. Success allows the spots to grow and overlap into a single large blot, further weakening opposition.

In southern Afghanistan, the plan calls for one "ink spot", or "Afghan development zone", to spread outwards from the triangle formed in Helmand by the provincial capital, Lashkargar, the town of Grishk and the main British base, Camp Bastion. This would merge with another spreading out from Kandahar, the main city in the south, and Nato's regional HQ at the nearby air base.

The immediate benefit for British forces would be securing Highway 1, Afghanistan's main trunk road, so Helmand can get supplies from Kandahar without a heavy military escort, or having to use scarce and expensive aircraft.

Further zones are supposed to spread from Tarin Kowt and Qalat, the capitals of Uruzgan and Zabol provinces. Another spotmight then be put on Spin Boldak, the main frontier town between south-east Afghanistan and Pakistan. But all this depends on a decisive victory in the present offensive against a resurgent enemy in the south.

Tom Coghlan and Raymond Whitaker

Lets face it. Opening a war on 2 fronts was disastrous and appallingly stupid. Letting Bush drag us into Iraq simply invalidated any moral superiority we ever had int he war on terror and dragged us down into the gutter with the other animasl to fight it out like savages. The only choice now is to choose which country we are going to disengage from. Which country are we going to abandon to sectarian violence and murderous reprisals against "collaborators". Be very sure that the death toll from the invasion of either country will double and maybe even triple in the aftermath of our withdrawal as either the horrible Taliban sweep back into control, imprisoning women in their own homes and dragging Afghanistan virtually back to the stone age or as the Shia majority deploy their militias to exert an authoritarian grip over Southern Iraq and the other Shia majorities. An even greater bloodbath is inevitable either way and Bush and Blair are responsible.

Friday, September 08, 2006

light reading for the weekend

Not much time here, it being 1600 on a Friday afternoon so I'll make this brief. Just wanted to draw attention to these two fascinating articles on openDemocracy:

What happened to the new world order

The SWISH Report

Have a good weekend!

- Le Scare

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Israel uses nerve gas against its enemies

No, I didn't believe it when I read it either but then I found this. If any of you haven't heard of James Longley he's the guy who directed the film Gaza Strip. He's lived in Gaza for years, documenting attrocities committed by the IDF and generally being a humanitarian legend. Anyway, I couldn't sleep (its 01:18 and the kittens keep waking me up just as I'm about to drop off) so I came down and started checking for more stuff on the "mystery weapons" and I happened to read through the page I linked to below about the dodgy fundamentalist website with the interview with the doctor and I realised that below it was the text of a report from a site called Wayne Madsen Report that alleged that Israel fired nerve gas shells into Lebanon during the genocide. Now, I've already said that this site rang a few bells in my objectivity centres- the language it used, the english was bad and reports were pasted in from other sites (the text referred to a picture but there wasn't one). However, the gas allegation seemed well written so I tracked down the original report and, lo and behold, there it was- a picture of an IDF soldier carrying a dirty great finned projectile. The text stated that "a former U.S. weapons expert who served in Iraq" had identified it as "a chemical weapon delivery device".

Now, I know that Israel probably has chemical weapon delivery systems (American ones, methinks) and I have no doubt that it would be relatively straight forward to find a picture, like the one in the report, regardless of where it was actually taken (on exercise, at a military base, wherever) and start shouting "look the Israelis are using nerve gas!" But the picture is not the convincing evidence at all and neither is the unsubstantiated statement regarding "gas dropped by the Israelis in villages in southern Lebanon" which " has resulted in severe vomiting among the civilian population". The convincing evidence is the document that I first linked to in this post from James Longley which contains his own eye witness report of the IDF firing gas shells into the Khan Younis refugee camp in 2001 and the subsequent trauma of the civilians, including children, who were exposed to it. I quote:

"As I made my way through the wards of Amal and Nasser Hospitals that day and for many days afterward, I observed many patients that had been brought to the hospitals suffering from these symptoms. Room after room, women, children, men. Some were vomiting. Some alternated between a coma-like state and violent convulsions, their entire bodies twisting and arching, members of their families struggling to hold them down on the beds. On and on, for days. One boy, who had inhaled a large amount of the gas in question, suffered in the hospital for an entire month with recurrent convulsions. It is difficult to describe the sensation of sitting in a room for hours and days with people suffering so terribly, and knowing that this was done by human beings."

So there it is people. And it wasn't even the only reference I found, from Longleyor from other websites.

"How," I hear you cry, "can these animals get away with such abuses?"

"How can they elude the justice that they so clearly deserve?"

Longley offers a convincing explanation that, when heard in conjunction with the knowledged imparted in the document by the Harvard professors, that I linked to in my last post, regarding the power of the Israeli Lobby to silence or bury dissent, makes convincing reading:

"The incident went largely unreported. No articles were written in major US newspapers. Fox News and 60 Minutes did not produce special reports. The story gradually grew old and fell through the cracks. Out of sight and out of mind – and who would believe that the Israeli military would do such a thing to civilians in a refugee camp?"

I don't know about you guys but I'm putting together a letter to my MP regarding Israel's multitude of war crimes that go uncondemned in this country. Now it is time for bed, sweet dreams children. Sweeter, for sure, than the average Palestinian.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

more details of Israel's new "mystery weapon" emerge

Middle East Online carried this report with more details about the mysterious wounds being suffered by civilians in the last few days violence in Gaza. It's sounding more and more as if they are deploying some sort of acidic or incendiary device causing incredible burns to the lower limbs of victims. Unfortunately, the Israeli apartheid means that there are few of the resources needed for conducting a serious investigation and much must be made of victim and eyewitness accounts. A vital piece of evidence emerged in the form of pieces of translucent shrapnel-like material embedded the victims which does not appear on X-rays. Another piece of plastic was recovered from one of the sites bearing the word "test".

Even more worrying was the report in my previous that detailed horrendous internal injuries "without apparent cause". A post on this blog, although alarmingly fundamentalist in its language, carries the words of an interview with a Palestinian trauma Doctor who suggested that some sort of "dissolving shrapnel" is causing these injuries as nothing can be seen on X-rays and nothing is found inside the body of people with these injuries.

“The hospital is central and sees almost all cases of injuries and deaths as a result of Israeli against the Palestinians of the Gaza Strip. These Israeli bombings are entering the body and fragmenting, causing internal combustion leading to up to fourth degree internal burns, exposing the bone, and affecting the tissue and skin.” The doctor added, ‘These tissues die, they do not survive, which obliges us to perform arm or leg amputations, and there are fragments which penetrate the body and do not show up on X-rays. When entering the body they spark like a combustion firearm, but not chemically. They seem radioactive.”

The Head of PR in the same hospital, Dr Jumaa Al Saqa, added:

“When the shrapnel hit the body, it causes very strong burns that destroy the tissues around the bones. When these shrapnel enters the body, it burns and destroys internal organs, like the liver, kidneys, and the spleen and other organs and makes saving the wounded almost impossible. As a surgeon, I have seen thousands of wounds during the Intifada, but nothing was like this weapon.”

Once again we can but wait for more details to emerge. This has the stink of a war crime all over it and I fear it is going to join the long list of Israeli attrocities awaiting consideration by the International Criminal Court. If any Gods do, against all evidence, exist then I implore them to please end this genocide soon.

On an equally sinister note I have finally got round to reading this report on the influence of the Israeli Lobby upon US Foreign Policy (that's the title). It makes for fascinating, almost incredible, reading and I really can't emphasise enough how important this might be in helping any of you rational, peace loving, humanist's out there to understand just why we live in such irrational, war-mongering, fascistic times. The authors are a pair of Harvard professors and could hardly come with more impeccable credentials. Actually that is one of the most fascinating, yet worrying thoughts that crossed my mind when I'd finished reading this- you're going through it and its reading like some flippin conspiracy nut's wet dream. . . . then you google the names of these guys and you find out that they're leaders of their fields and highly respected! Seriously, dudes, this might actually give you nightmares!

Monday, September 04, 2006

Kenyan museum condemned by religious bigot for carrying evolution exhibition

I can hardly believe that anyone would be stupid enough to condemn an exhibition of some of the oldest and finest hominid fossils in the world. But that's exactly what this idiot, Bishop Boniface Adoyo (stupid name warning!), is trying to do by drumming up feeling amongst other peddlers of mediaeval superstition in an attempt to have the exhibition "removed or, at least, moved to a less prominent location"!

Here's a real money quote from the man himself:

"When museums put it out there that man evolved from apes, theologically they are affecting many people who are Christians, who believe God created us,"

"It's creating a big weapon against Christians that's killing our faith," he said, calling the evolution theory an "insult" and dangerous to youths.

"When children go to museums they'll start believing we evolved from these apes. This is not the truth,"

I'm sorry? Did I read that correctly? (!) Let's just repeat a few of those alarmingly absurd phrases, shall we?

"he said, calling the evolution theory an "insult" and dangerous to youths"

For a start Darwin's work is no longer a "theory". The entire biosphere is testament to the truth of his work. It should be called "Darwin's law" and I shall henceforth refer to it as such. Secondly, how is the truth going to be dangerous to "youths"? Are they incapable of dealing with "the truth"? (I could rant on but I think I've made my point.)

"It's creating a big weapon against Christians that's killing our faith"

It may be killing your faith, sunshine, but that's because your faith is based on a bunch of fairy tales. Get some sense you twat.

"When children go to museums they'll start believing we evolved from these apes"

So when children go to museum's they will learn stuff about the world they live in. Yeah. Really bad, that is.

I am happy to consider such absurd ejaculations to be a marker of religion's impending fall from grace. It can only be a matter of time before the rationalist movement gains further footholds amongst the world's ignorants through the presentation of incontrovertible fact. I fear, however that blood may be shed in its pursuit.

"mystery injuries" to victims of Israel's latest brutality in Gaza

The Independent carried this story today with few details but I fear that this represents a new outpouring of Israel's frustration over their humiliating failure in Lebanon. I dearly hope they have not been deploying phosphorous munitions in Gaza but I wouldn't, for one second, put it past them. The Gazan authority did a good PR job of shaking their spears by proclaiming that the Israelis were using "unprecendented" projectiles with "radiant" substance. I understand this to be an accusation of the deployment of depleted uranium shells from their tanks. But, as the article I linked to states, this accusation has no evidence whatsoever to back it. DU shells are fairly radioactive but they are not nearly dangerous enough to cause the sort of bizarre injuries reported.

I consider it far more likely that they have been using phosphorous muntiions- grenades or otherwise. One can only hope that this turns out to be a false alarm and will only serve to draw attention to the cause of the Gazan people. My heart tells me otherwise.

Should it be determined unequivocally that phosphorous has been used against Palestinians- miltants or otherwise- then I have no hesitation in declaring this to be a war crime of the most heinous kind.

Hello sustainable development, goodbye "War on Terror"

Lovely piece of analysis and associated comment on why fighting terrorism is a waste of time:

"The Cato Institute (a conservative thinktank) has released an outstanding paper, A False Sense of Insecurity (PDF), which makes the point that in any rational assessment, terrorism is really just not that big of a threat to the average person. For instance, about as many Americans have been killed by terrorists as have been "killed over the same period by lightning, accident-causing deer, or severe allergic reaction to peanuts." Whatsmore, many WMD threats are overblown and largely preventable. Indeed, with exhaustive research, the authors can conclude that:

"Assessed in broad but reasonable context, terrorism generally does not do much damage.

The costs of terrorism are often the result of hasty, ill-considered, and overwrought reactions.

A sensible policy approach to the problem might be to stress that any damage terrorists are able to accomplish likely can be absorbed, however grimly. While judicious protective and policing measures are sensible, extensive fear and anxiety over what may at base prove to be a rather limited problem are misplaced, unjustified and counter productive"


Sunday, September 03, 2006

kofi Annan jeered and chased from South Beirut

I think this is appalling. Although UNSC resolution 1701 is far from perfect as far as the Lebanese are concerned, and however much the people of South Beirut have suffered at the hands of the Israeli genocide, there is no excuse for booing Kofi. The guy is a legend and received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2001, for fuck's sake!

This quote tells a terrible story about how the US's ability to wield a veto in the UNSC has damaged the credibility of the only global forum:

"He is biased towards Israel and America," said 22-year-old Abdel-Sater Selim, a psychology student at the state-run Lebanese University. "There is no justice."

Your godsdamn right there is no justice. But you have to play the UN game if you want some. The Lebanese should take a leaf out of the Iranian book if they want to keep the yanks out of their business.