Monday, August 29, 2011

Silence from the once chatty

Yesterday former MI5 head Eliza Manningham-Buller was back in the news cycle for an interview she gave to BBC Radio Times in which she stated that, prior to the war, it was known by British intelligence (and by Tony Blair) that Iraq posed no threat, that starting a war would provide a "distraction" to the then-current pursuit of al Qaeda and leave England open to domestic threats. Tim Ross (Telegraph of London) observes, "Her comments, in an interview to mark the start of her three Reith Lectures, which will be broadcast on BBC Radio 4 this week, represent the most outspoken criticisms to date of the 2003 conflict by such a senior figure in the intelligence services."

And while this is news in some parts of the world (Spanish language reports are here and here and here, for example) but where are the reports in Enlish speaking US media?

Does the New York Times need a translator to comprehend BBC News in English?

When you consider how many of the outlets were nothing but megaphones for the war, how many refused to question, refused to do their jobs, the comments are needed not only because they're news but because they correct the lies currently in the public record. And because they correct these lies, many US outlets may struggle with making time to inform their audiences of what the rest of the world is being informed of.

Saturday brought rumors that a British inquiry was going to be a whitewash. David Sapsted (National Newspaper) reports today:

An independent inquiry will clear the British army next month of any systematic torture of Iraqis after the 2003 invasion, it was reported yesterday.
The report in The Sunday Telegraph - whose accuracy was later confirmed by government officials - said the inquiry will criticise the brutal conduct of individual soldiers and the "numerous failures" of officers to tackle the problem.
Publication of the report, scheduled for September 8, is expected to lead to calls for a full public inquiry by lawyers representing 40 Iraqis who claim to have been tortured by British forces.

Press TV reminds, "The Iraqi civilian, Baha Mousa, was detained by 1st Battalion the Queen's Lancashire Regiment (1QLR) in Basra, southern Iraq, in 2003 after British soldiers raided the Ibn Al Haitham hotel at which Mousa was working as a receptionist. A post-mortem examination on the body of Mousa, a father of two who died two days after his arrest, revealed that he had sustained 93 injuries while in British soldiers' custody and suffered asphyxiation." The whitewash will do little to ease any of the tensions that the former head of MI5 notes and warns about in the rest of her BBC Radio interview.

From the costs in lives of the Iraq War, to the cost in dollars. Co-chairs of the Committee on Wartime Contracting Chris Shays and Michael Thibault published a column in yesterday's Washington Post noting:

At least one in every six dollars of U.S. spending for contracts and grants in Iraq and Afghanistan over the past decade, or more than $30 billion, has been wasted. And at least that much could again turn into waste if the host governments are unable or unwilling to sustain U.S.-funded projects after our involvement ends.
Those sobering but conservative numbers are a key finding of the bipartisan Commission on Wartime Contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan, which will submit its report to Congress on Wednesday. All eight commissioners agree that major changes in law and policy are needed to avoid confusion and waste in the next contingency, whether it involves armed struggle overseas or response to disasters at home.

$30 billion wasted, at a time when the country is supposedly concerned with the deficit. $30 billion wasted, at a time when people aren't sure where to make cuts? On more war spending waste, Tom Vanden Brook (USA Today) reports, "The Pentagon has spent more than $720million since 2001 on fees for shipping containers that it fails to return on time, according to data and contracts obtained by USA TODAY. The containers — large metal boxes stowed on ships and moved from port on trucks — are familiar sights on bases in Iraq and Afghanistan where troops use them for storage, shelter and building material. Yet each 20-foot container returned late can rack up more than $2,200 in late fees. Shipping companies charge the government daily 'container detention fees' after the grace period ends for the box to be returned."

Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "Great Billy Carter's Ghost!" and Kat's "Kat's Korner: It's not easy being assembly lined" went up yesterday. On the latest Law and Disorder Radio -- airs this morning at 10:00 a.m. on WBAI and around the country throughout the week, hosts Heidi Boghosian, Michael S. Smith and Michael Ratner (Center for Constitutional Rights) explore issues of media and dissent. A.N.S.W.E.R.'s Brian Becker speaks about the disinformation media campaign on the Libyan War and its future implications for the next DC desired 'regime change' while Katie Galloway (who directed the new documentary Better This World, with Kelly Duane de la Vega) discussed the criminalization of dissent focusing on the FBI's overreach of two Texas friends who traveled to Minnesota for the RNC Convention in 2008.

We'll close with this from Francis A. Boyle's "The Future State of Palestine"(Scoop):

In the 15 November 1988 Palestinian Declaration of Independence that was approved by the PNC representing all Palestinians all over the world, the Executive Committee of the PLO was set up as the Provisional Government for the State of Palestine—pursuant to my advice.
In addition, the Declaration of Independence also provides that all Palestinians living around the world automatically become citizens of the State of Palestine—pursuant to my advice. So the Executive Committee of the PLO in its capacity as the Provisional Government for the State of Palestine will continue to represent the interests of all Palestinians around the world when Palestine becomes a UN Member State.
Hence all rights will be preserved: for all Palestinians and for the PLO. No one will be disenfranchised. The PLO will not lose its status. This legal arrangement does not violate the Palestinian Charter, but was approved already by the PNC.
Unfortunately, an Oxford professor calleed Guy Goodwill-Gill has circulated a memo full of distortions. The memo is based on many erroneous assumption. This professor is not aware of all the legal and constitutional technicalities that were originally built into the Palestinian Declaration of Independence to make sure that his doomsday scenario does not materialize–at my advice.

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