Thursday, December 11, 2008

UK's alleged departure from Iraq

In today's New York Times, John F. Burns offers "Britain's Iraq Pullout Timeline Reported" and two things on that. First, it is interesting how, when it's another country, the paper can be upfront about 'withdrawal' in its opening sentence: "Britain's remaining troops in Iraq will begin withdrawing from the country in March on a timetable that will aim to leave only a small training force of 300 to 400 by June, according to Defense Ministry officials quoted by the BBC and several of Britain’s major newspapers on Wednesday." Think of how both the treaty and Barack Obama's alleged 'pledge' rarely even include (in the body of the report) who would remain behind. (In the case of Barack's 'pledge,' all troops not classified as combat troops; in the case of the treaty -- should it run through 2011 with no modifications, a very big if -- a large number of US Marines who would be stationed at the US Embassy in Baghdad.) Second, thus far, the noting of that here has been confined to Thomas Harding's report for the Telegraph of London. The Guardian of London (Manchester) is not an independent news outlet. It is a party organ for New Labour which is why it refused to report on the Downing Street Memos even after the Times of London had broken the news. In England, New Labour sold the illegal war and owns it. We are not interested in the 'reporting' from their party organ. When other UK outlets, such as Socialist Worker, weigh in, we will highlight them. We're more willing to highlight the Telegraph of London on this issue even though it's a conservative paper because (a) it's not going to carry New Labour's water and (b) as Robert Fisk points out, they have very keen intelligence contacts and are usually ahead of other outlets in some ways. Robert Fisk? We'd highlight his opinion in an instant. Others at the Independent of London? Not interested in Anna for obvious reasons. Patrick? Well would we be getting Patrick Cockburn the reporter, Patrick Cockburn the international columnist, or Patrick Cockburn the slobbering Barack Obama fan? On the latter, Patrick does realize he's not American, right? (His niece, who holds dual citizenship, voted for Barack -- something that needs to be stopped immediately. No one should be allowed to vote in two country's elections. You make a choice.) So, most likely, we aren't interested in Patrick's opinion.

The decision on the part of some outlets to hold back in weighing in may have to do with the fact that everything Burns is 'reporting' on is alleged. It is thought to be. No announcement has been made, no plan has been presented. [And Michael Evans (Times of London) has noted the conditional quality thought to be part of any plan: "The Iraq withdrawal programme is still dependent on security conditions in southern Iraq, and there will be some anxiety about possible violence during the provincial elections that are due to be held on January 31."]

The British are largely in Basra currently. AFP reported yesterday:

Plans to hold an autonomy referendum for the southern region of Basra aim to ensure that Iraq's economic nerve centre benefits from its oil wealth, the initiator of the referendum said on Monday.
""We believe that oil and gas belong to the Iraqi people, to all the Iraqi people,"" Wael Abdul Latif, an independent MP and former magistrate, told AFP.
""We are simply asking to be remunerated for the oil installations on our territory and to have a share of the profits of the oil exports which pass through our ports,"" he said.

Gareth asked if we could note the following win and we can:


'The War on Democracy', directed by John Pilger & Chris Martin, won Best Documentary at the prestigious One World Media Awards in London on 12 June 2008. It beat a field that included the documentary Oscar winner, 'Taxi to the Dark Side'.

The citation read: "There are six criteria the judges are asked to use to select the winner of this award: the film's impact on public opinion, its appeal to a wide audience, its inclusion of voices from the developing world, its high journalistic or production standards, its success in conveying the impact of the actions of the world's rich on the lives of the poor and the extent to which it draws attention to possible solutions. One film met every one of these. It was the winner of the award: John Pilger's 'The War on Democracy'."


John Pilger is an independent journalist and one of the few remaining who can say that and actually mean it.

Jillian notes Joe Piasecki has an Iraq compilation at Pasadena Weekly entitled "The Count."
Meanwhile Reaganite Larry Korb is itching for war on Darfur -- remember which desperate 'lefties' let Korb in the club house.

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