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Ghost Dog

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Gender: Do not display
Hometown: Canary Islands Archipelago
Home country: Spain
Member since: Wed Apr 19, 2006, 01:59 PM
Number of posts: 16,678

About Me

A Brit many years in Spain, Catalunya, Baleares, Canarias. Cooperative member. Geography. Ecology. Cartography. Software. Sound Recording. Music Production. Languages & Literature. History.

Journal Archives

Johnson has canceled UK rendition & torture inquiry.

... It may seem strange that Johnson’s very first executive decision on coming in to 10 Downing Street was to cancel the long delayed judicial inquiry into UK involvement in torture and extraordinary rendition. On the face of it, there were political attractions for Johnson in pursuing the issue. The policy of complicity in torture had been established by Tony Blair and Jack Straw, with as ever the active collaboration of Alastair Campbell. A judicial inquiry would hold them to account, and given they are not only New Labour but a leading Remainer posse, you would think Johnson would have pushed forward with the chance to expose them. Plus he likes to pose as something of a social liberal himself. So why was Johnson’s urgent priority to cancel the torture inquiry?

The answer is that scores of very senior civil servants were deeply implicated in British collusion in extraordinary rendition. Those directly guilty of complicity in torture include Sir Richard Dearlove, Sir John Scarlett, Sir William Ehrman, Lord Peter Ricketts and Sir Stephen Wright. It was Johnson’s fellow old Etonian, Sir William Ehrman, who chaired the series of meetings in the FCO on the implementation of the policy of getting intelligence through torture...

... It was not concern for Blair and Straw that led Johnson to cancel the judge led inquiry. It was the knowledge that Establishment insiders like Dearlove, Ehrman and Ricketts would be forced to give public evidence of their wrongdoing and could be liable to criminal proceedings. The judicial inquiry was promised by Cameron but both Cameron and May blenched at the shockwaves it would send through the ranks of the mandarins who run the country. Johnson has now used the opportunity of his advent, when nobody was paying much attention to anything but Brexit, to try to bury the subject completely and protect the Establishment...

... I got sacked for opposing torture and extraordinary rendition. Of those that supported it and abetted it, Lord Peter Ricketts is now Strategic Adviser to Lockheed Martin, so reaping the cash from his role in promoting wars that killed millions of innocents. Sir Stephen Wright is Senior Adviser to Mitsui & Co. Sir John Scarlett is a senior executive for Rupert Murdoch. Sir Richard Dearlove is Chair of the Board of Trustees of the University of London and a member of the far right Henry Jackson Society, among other things. The wages of sin appear not bad at all...


... “The longer these questions remain unanswered, the bigger will grow the stain on our reputation as a country that believes in freedom, fairness and human rights,” said Britain’s then prime minister, David Cameron, when he announced a speedy, judge-led inquiry. Yet nine years on, we have only partial answers, and now the government has decided that we will not get any more.

The initial inquiry was cut short due to criminal investigations – though what it turned up, despite its limitations, was shameful enough. Instead of reopening it, the government punted the issue to the parliamentary intelligence and security committee, which it had previously deemed unsuited to the task. The ISC’s chair, Dominic Grieve, described “inexcusable” actions. The committee found UK intelligence agencies to be complicit in hundreds of incidents of torture and rendition, mainly in partnership with the US in Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantánamo Bay. Britain planned, agreed or financed 31 rendition operations. British intelligence officers consented to or witnessed the use of torture on 15 occasions. On 232 occasions the intelligence agencies supplied questions to be put to detainees whom they knew or suspected were being mistreated.

Yet the inquiry was conducted under such tight restrictions, including the inability to call key witnesses from MI5 and MI6, that the committee itself stressed that its report was not a full account. The government promised to consider a judge-led inquiry and respond within two months. Now, a full year on, it has said no...


Irish peace too precious to be squandered by Brexit ultras

... That relations between London and Dublin are now strained is beyond dispute, though officials in Dublin insist that much of the noise is to be expected and aimed at a domestic UK audience rather than Ireland or the EU.

Still, following his appointment, it took almost a week for Johnson to place a phone call with Varadkar, who leads a confidence-and-supply coalition that – while shaky on a series of domestic issues – serves as a national government in all but name for the purposes of Brexit. When the phone call did proceed, both men adopted an uncompromising stance: Johnson insisting the removal of the backstop is a precondition for any deal, Varadkar adamant that the EU will not relent on the withdrawal agreement.

Varadkar rightly reminded Johnson of the British government’s obligation – as a co-signatory of the Good Friday agreement – to exercise its power in respect of Northern Ireland with rigorous impartiality. Johnson’s government relies, for the time being, on the support in the Commons of the Democratic Unionist party to prop up its narrow majority. The difficult parliamentary arithmetic, combined with Johnson’s inflammatory rhetoric, represents a serious challenge to the UK’s obligation to act as an honest broker in respect of Northern Ireland – the majority of whose citizens voted, like their Scottish brethren, to stay in the EU.

And although unionists are being comforted, for now, by Johnson, their confidence that a hard Brexit will not give birth to a united Ireland must also be fraying at the seams. This is not least because nearly two-thirds of the Tory party indicate in polling that they would rather sacrifice the union – and see Northern Ireland and Scotland leave it – than abandon Brexit...


Re: Environmentalism in European politics

... Why is the salience of the environment soaring? Historically, some academics have played down the effects of “real-world” events or citizens’ abilities to deduce which issues matter, instead emphasising strategic manipulation of the agenda by the media and politicians. While these certainly count, the salience of the environment, like that of most other issues, ultimately does reflect real events. Evidence of soaring temperatures is becoming the lived reality of citizens, making scientific findings on the resultant collapse of ecosystems increasingly difficult to ignore.

However, there is more to the current Green success than greater environmental concern. The geographical disparities can still be partially explained by the long-term emergence of “post-material values” in affluent western European societies in the 1970s. These saw individuals move beyond materialist, redistributive concerns to quality-of-life matters, including care for the environment.

Moreover, the breakdown of postwar western European party systems and the accompanying decline in class voting mean that we are increasingly inclined to vote according to psychological predispositions and less because of social group. Without these social anchors in place, mainstream parties have become more vulnerable to “anti-incumbency” voting and single-issue voting, primarily to new parties. Centre-right parties have had to deal with challenger, anti-immigration parties, while the centre-left has suffered at the hands of, first, anti-austerity parties and, increasingly, environmentalist parties...

... All of these challenger parties, including the Greens, have displayed a remarkably more professional appearance to voters, mirrored by far more effective internal machinery, all of which has been aided by the arrival of the internet and social media...


I thought this might be of interest here. Europe is increasingly governed by coalitions that negotiate policy.

"designed to placate a dictators ego" - ¡Bingo!

In 2024 the dictator intends to either be running for and assured of a third term or to have simply decreed no further elections.

The Reconquest of (America's) Moon and the American Space Command will be part of the new Emperor's show, as will be, probably, the use of tactical nukes and compulsory citizens' digital ID by then.

I think he intends to go full-Mussolini.

The Brits are spinning narrative... Under orders?

... Lord Howell, a former Conservative cabinet minister and chairman of the Lords international relations committee, asked his government on Thursday whether it “was such a good idea to raid the Iranian oil tanker in Gibraltar in the first place”. He said: “Obviously we want to stop oil getting to President Assad, although probably he can get all the oil he wants from Russia. Are we not supposed to be on the same side as the Iranians on the question of nuclear proliferation and control? Can we have a firm assurance that we did this not just at the say-so of the US?” Lady Goldie, for the government, insisted the request to intercept the ship came from the government of Gibraltar, but Foreign Office officials in the past have indicated the biggest factor in play was pressure from the US.

Speaking on the BBC, Nathalie Tocci, the special adviser to the EU foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, put the UK decision in a wider political context. “The UK is feeling its own fragility and a fear of isolation as it tries to cut off its membership from the EU. There’s a line connecting the Iran story and the UK ambassador to the US.”

Either way, once Grace 1 had been seized, UK shipping in the Gulf was in Iranian crosshairs. By the weekend, the British government was privately advising British flagged vessels not to carry oil through the Gulf, leading to an abrupt about-turn of a BP tanker, British Heritage, heading to collect oil in Basra. By Tuesday night the British government was lifting the code alert to level 3, the highest possible, and on Wednesday the giant British Heritage was interrupted by Iranian ships.

Curiously, media briefing about British Heritage, and the intervention by HMS Montrose, which warded off the Iranian boats by aiming its guns at them, came originally from the US, and not the Ministry of Defence...


...Iran has rejected the claims. Foreign minister Javad Zarif called the British allegations “worthless” in remarks to the semi-official Fars news agency. “Apparently the British tanker has passed. What [the British] have said themselves and the claims that have been made are for creating tension and these claims have no value,” Zarif said...


Brexit is about disintegration of UK

... Polls show repeatedly how strongly Conservative members and voters prefer achieving Brexit over supporting Scotland and Northern Ireland. That upends the renewed support for the union expressed by Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt who compete to lead the party. Johnson especially alienates Scottish political activists of all hues based on his previous disregard for their interests and his evident English home counties appeal. Despite his pledges to union-proof policy for fair treatment, the deeper strain of English nationalism coming through the campaign and from future Conservative competition with Nigel Farage’s Brexit party is likely to win out.

Labour members and voters are more unionist in their solidarities. But the growing fragmentation of English politics between the Conservatives, Labour, Liberal Democrats and the Brexit party will dampen that effect. So would any Labour search for Scottish National Party support after a general election, since the SNP would demand a second independence referendum and/or a differentiated deal allowing Scotland to remain closer to the EU.

By the same token, it would be difficult for Labour to resist supporting a second EU referendum. Were it to be held and reverse Brexit, how much would it resolve these deepening fissures in the UK’s constitutional order?

There is little sign of a will or capacity to conduct the root-and-branch reform many legal and political analysts say is needed to avoid break-up – by reforming, differentiating or federalising the UK in a more codified way. Calls for a UK-wide constitutional convention, citizens’ assembly or new foundational Act of union lack cross-party support and citizen interest, and are rejected by the dominant SNP in Scotland. The ignorance and indifference about Brexit’s consequences for the UK’s peripheries among politicians and officials in London reinforces pessimism among these analysts as to whether such reform is possible...


Proportional representation in Westminster elections would lead to much possibly healthy change...

Labour plots 'new banking ecosystem' to tackle climate emergency

... In order to fully decarbonise the economy, McDonnell said Labour would marshal the resources and levers of power available to HM Treasury, as well as strengthen regulatory powers and priorities for the Bank of England (BofE) in order to unlock investment needed for a 'Green Industrial Revolution'. He reiterated Labour plans for to set up a system of national and regional investment banks to spend £250bn over the next decade on projects such as solar farms, zero carbon transport networks, green home retrofits, and tidal lagoons, which he said would be funded through government bonds.

The speech follows previously announced plans to rewrite the Treasury's Green Book in order to tackle Whitehall's "short-termist economic philosophy", which McDonnell today suggested would ensure the government takes into account the costs of both action and inaction on climate change. McDonnell also said Labour would seek to look beyond the Treasury by taking action to force the private and banking sector to take action to tackle climate risks and shift spending towards the net zero transition.

He revealed plans to set up a Sustainable Investment Board that would bring together the Chancellor of the Exchequer, the Business Secretary, and the Bank of England Governor to oversee productive investment across the UK with a specific responsibility for meeting climate targets.

"Let's set out the range of government resources to be made available," he said. "Leaving it to the market just won't succeed."...


Analysis: Trump - Iran - Abe (Guardian)

... In the wake of US abrogation of the 2015 nuclear deal with Tehran, and its attempt to pressure the rest of the world to follow suit, Iran expected China and at least a few of their other oil customers to defy the US oil embargo. That has not happened so far. Rouhani met Xi Jinping in Kyrgyzstan on Friday to get a clear idea of Chinese intentions, but Xi seems to have remained non-committal.

Meanwhile, the European mechanism that was supposed to insulate the trade in basic humanitarian supplies from US sanctions has yet to get off the ground – and may never fly.

Faced with economic strangulation, Tehran has less and less to lose. Whether it was behind the tanker attacks or not, it had signalled its intention to make the rest of the world pay some of the price for US brinksmanship. The message from Iranian officials over the past two months has been that, if Iran could not export its oil through the Gulf, nor should other nations. Tehran has also slapped down a nuclear ultimatum. If sanctions pressures are not significantly eased by 8 July, it will throw off some of the shackles of the 2015 nuclear deal, most importantly by raising the level at which it enriches uranium. That will ring alarm bells around the world, by cutting the time Iran would need to make a bomb.

Trump now appears to realise that the train he boarded is not heading to a glorious summit, but a potentially devastating conflict in the Gulf, and that some of his own officials, notably the national security adviser, John Bolton, are quite content – enthusiastic, even – to keep driving in that direction...


Is this voice good? (Use Me Up (Bill Withers)) Soundcloud:


Why Trump's Hawks Back the Iranian MEK Terrorist Cult (NY Review Of Books)

On July 22 (2018), Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is scheduled to address an Iranian-American audience at the Reagan Presidential Library in California. The speech is part of a deliberate policy of escalating tensions with Iran, targeting its economy and supporting Iranian opposition groups—all for the purpose of pressuring and destabilizing Iran. At least one member of an Iranian terrorist group that has killed American citizens will also be in attendance. But it won’t be to disrupt Pompeo’s speech; rather, to support it. In fact, the member is on the invitation list.

Last month, the same terrorist group held an event in Paris, busing in thousands of young people from Eastern Europe to hear Donald Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani call for regime change in Tehran. A similar event in Paris last year was addressed by John Bolton, who recently became President Trump’s national security adviser.

How an organization that was only delisted by the US Department of State as a terrorist group in 2012 could so soon after win influential friends at the heart of America’s current administration is the strange and sinister story of the Mujahedin-e Khalq, better known by its initials, MEK. Commonly called a cult by most observers, the MEK systematically abuses its members, most of whom are effectively captives of the organization, according to Human Rights Watch (HRW). Regardless of its delisting by then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton—a political calculation on her part since many senior Democrats, as well as Republicans, had been persuaded by the MEK’s lavish lobbying efforts—the group has never ceased terrorizing its members and has continued to conduct assassinations inside Iran.

In the 1980s, the MEK served as a private militia fighting for Saddam Hussein during the Iran-Iraq War. Today, it has a different paymaster: the group is believed to be funded, in the millions of dollars, by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. In Washington, D.C., as in Paris, France, the MEK pays tens of thousands of dollars in speaking fees to US officials. Bolton, in particular, is a long-time paid supporter of the MEK, reportedly receiving as much as $180,000 for his appearances at the group’s events...

(Much more...) https://www.nybooks.com/daily/2018/07/20/why-trumps-hawks-back-the-mek-terrorist-cult/

So, "Intelligence" might point to the use of these people in a false flag op., conserving US-UK special forces direct action for, soon?

(See also MEK website: https://mek-iran.com/ )
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