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JOE GLENTON'S FIRST PUBLIC SPEECH SINCE RELEASE

STOP THE WAR COALITION    
Newsletter No.1164   
22 July 2010   
Email office@stopwar.org.uk   
Tel: 020 7801 2768   
Web: http://stopwar.org.uk   
Twitter: http://twitter.com/STWuk

IN THIS NEWSLETTER   
1) JOE GLENTON'S FIRST PUBLIC SPEECH SINCE RELEASE   
2) I'M A WARMONGER, GET ME OUT OF HERE    
3) HOW TO LOBBY YOUR MP   
4) TONY BLAIR'S PROVEN CULPABILIY IN MASS MURDER   
5) NEW LOCAL STOP THE WAR GROUPS   
6) SONG OF THE WEEK: WE GOTTA GET OUT OF THIS PLACE

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1) JOE GLENTON'S FIRST PUBLIC SPEECH SINCE RELEASE

On Monday 26 July, Joe Glenton, the soldier who said no to the    

KABUL CONFERENCE SHOWS THE WAR AT AN IMPASSE

STOP THE WAR COALITION
20 July 2010
Email office@stopwar.org.uk
Tel: 020 7801 2768
Web: http://stopwar.org.uk
Twitter: http://twitter.com/STWuk

1. KABUL CONFERENCE SHOWS THE WAR AT AN IMPASSE
2. 'AFGHANISTAN:TIME TO GO'. PUBLIC MEETING MONDAY 26TH JULY

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1. KABUL CONFERENCE SHOWS THE WAR AT AN IMPASSE

The Kabul conference discussing the war in Afghanistan has only served to
demonstrate the impasse which the war has now reached. Even the US
administration has conceded that talks with the Taliban – so far resisted by
Obama - are going to happen. The recognition that the war is losing contradicts
the statements, still reiterated by foreign secretary William Hague, that there
is a gradual improvement in the situation in Afghanistan.

The much-touted date for withdrawal in 2014 shows the desperation of the Nato
governments, faced with defeat in Afghanistan and growing unpopularity of the

PROTEST FRIDAY 16 JULY: END THE KILLING, BRING THE TROOPS HOME: 5.00 - 6.00PM DOWNING STREET LONDON SW1A 2

STOP THE WAR COALITION
14 July 2010
Email office@stopwar.org.uk
Tel: 020 7801 2768
Web: http://stopwar.org.uk
Twitter: http://twitter.com/STWuk

PROTEST FRIDAY 16 JULY: END THE KILLING, BRING THE TROOPS HOME: 5.00 - 6.00PM DOWNING STREET LONDON SW1A 2

Four more UK soldiers killed in one day, three of them by a recruit to the
Afghan army, but Liam Fox, the defence secretary, still says we will "see our
mission through and train Afghan security forces so they can look after their
own security and our forces one day can come home". The latest opinion poll
shows that only 17 percent of the British public agrees with him. Stop the War
has called a protest at Downing Street this Friday to represent the vast
majority who say bring the troops home.

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RALLY MONDAY 26 JULY 7PM: AFGHANISTAN - TIME TO GO
CONWAY HALL, 25 RED LION SQUARE, LONDON, WC1R 4RL

SPEAKERS INCLUDE: Lance Corporal JOE GLENTON, just released from prison

5,000 Italians in Vicenza Turn Out to Oppose US Base at Dal Molin

Duemilacinquecento persone che, alle otto di un lunedì sera di mezza estate, si incamminano in corteo verso il Parco della Pace; almeno il doppio che, man mano che la serata avanza, si accomodano sul prato dinnanzi al palco per ascoltare Luca Bassanese e Marco Paolini: sono i numeri della Festa per l’Acqua che ci restituiscono l’immagine di una Vicenza ancora capace di mobilitarsi.

In migliaia hanno messo piede all’interno del Dal Molin; «la cosa più bella di questa sera – ha detto Cinzia dal palco – è che mentre negli anni passati in quest’area ci siamo entrati tagliando le reti, oggi, per la prima volta, ci entriamo da padroni: questo territorio è dei vicentini».

Torture Complicity

Torture Complicity Under the Spotlight in Europe (Part Two): Germany and France

Rendition Map

Jul 9th, 2010 Last week, in the first of two articles examining how “War on Terror”-related complicity in torture is under intense scrutiny in Europe, I ran through the history of Britain’s post-9/11 involvement in US torture, and its extensive forays into holding people without charge or trial in the UK, attempting to send foreign nationals back to countries where they face the risk of torture, using information derived from torture in other countries (sometimes with direct British involvement) and subsequently using this information operationally and even in judicial hearings.

Dutch Genocide, and Reason to Root for Spain in World Cup Final

The Dutch National Team will be playing for the World Cup upon the fifteenth anniversary of the genocidal massacre at Srebrenica for which the Dutch National Government is jointly and severally responsible under international law. Furthermore, for the past 15 years the Dutch National Government has lied about, covered up, whitewashed, and stonewalled the fact that it cooperated in the massacre of 8000 Bosnian Muslim men and boys at Srebrenica, also rendering the Dutch National Government an Accessory After the Fact to the "genocide" at Srebrenica, as determined by the International Court of Justice in The Hague, the so-called World Court.. For these reasons, the Mothers of Srebrenica and Podrinja call upon all people of good faith and good will around the World, especially those at the World Cup Stadium in South Africa, to publicly root against the Dutch National Team in sympathy with the Victims at Srebrenica.
We will not rest until Justice is done!

Professor Francis A. Boyle
Attorney for the Mothers of Srebrenica and Podrinja

ABC News Editor's Notebook: Britain's Emotional Reception for War Dead

Editor's Notebook: Britain's Emotional Reception for War Dead
Haunting Scene as British Casualties Pass Through Wootton Bassett
By Tom Nagorski, Managing Editor | ABC News

In Britain last Wednesday, the papers carried mostly unremarkable fare: the latest on the Russian spy story, a shakeup in British sentencing policies, the Queen's visit to Canada , Scotsman Andy Murray's run at Wimbledon. It was a beautiful summer morning in London, unseasonably warm, hardly a cloud in the sky. I was finishing my breakfast, and finishing the papers, when my eye found an image as arresting as any I'd seen in a while.

The photograph showed a procession of black cars making its way down a narrow street, police officers and soldiers saluting the cars, people on either side lined six deep or so, nearly every one of them standing at attention. The Union Jack was visible in the backs of the cars – the last clue, if you needed one, of what you were looking at. The picture struck me as a particularly compelling portrait of war, and loss.

Seven men had come home in coffins that morning, flown on a Royal Air Force plane from Afghanistan to the RAF base at Lyneham. Then, as has been the custom in Great Britain, a cortege had carried the men past throngs of mourners, a slow and profoundly moving procession that would bring the servicemen to their final resting place. The photograph had been taken in Wootton Bassett, a small market town in northern England where thousands of people had come to pay tribute. Read more.

Torture Claims: David Cameron Announces Inquiry

Torture claims: David Cameron announces inquiry | BBC
David Cameron has said a "judge-led" inquiry will look at claims that UK security services were complicit in the torture of terror suspects.

Excerpts: The Conservatives and Liberal Democrats have long called for an investigation into the claims by Ethiopian-born UK resident Binyam Mohamed that UK security services were aware of his torture by foreign interrogators, who were allegedly fed questions via the CIA....

Mr Cameron told MPs: "For the past few years the reputation of our security services has been overshadowed by allegations about their involvement in the treatment of detainees held by other countries.

"Some of those detainees allege they were mistreated by those countries. Other allegations have also been made about the UK's involvement in the rendition of detainees in the aftermath of 9/11.

"These allegations are not proven but today we do face a totally unacceptable situation. Our services are paralysed by paperwork as they try to defend themselves in lengthy court cases with uncertain rules.

"Our reputation as a country that believes in human rights, fairness and the rule of law - indeed for much of what the services exist to protect - risks being tarnished."

The panel conducting the inquiry would have access to all relevant papers, the prime minister promised, with some proceedings held in public. Read more.

Turkey Restricts Israeli Use Of Airspace

Turkey restricts Israeli use of airspace | CNN

Turkey has clamped down on Israel's use of its airspace, according to a statement from the Turkish prime minister and information from a Turkish government official.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Monday that his country's airspace had been closed to Israeli aircraft in the wake of the Israel's May raid on a Turkish ship that was part of a Gaza aid flotilla. Nine Turkish activists were killed in the raid, which has caused an epic rift between the two countries.

But the government official, who declined to be identified, told CNN that "this is not exactly the (complete) closing down of Turkish airspace."

All civilian flights are continuing, the official said. "With regard to military flights, the normal procedure is that for each ... flight countries, must ask for permission to use Turkish airspace. It is evaluated on a case-by-case basis. It is true that one Israeli flight was not allowed into Turkish airspace. ... Any future military flights will also be evaluated on a case-by-case basis." Read more.

ANTI-WAR MPs GATHER AFTER TRAUMATIC WEEK FOR AFGHAN WAR

STOP THE WAR COALITION
http://stopwar.org.uk

The Stop the War/CND public meeting in parliament on Monday 28 June has added
significance following a trumatic week for the political and military leaders
waging war in Afghanistan.

Many MPs will attend the meeting, including a number who were previously
supporters of the war. Among the MPs speaking are Caroline Lucas, Jeremy
Corbyn, Paul Flynn, John Trickett, Eric Joyce and Yasmin Qureshi.

June has been the worst month for Nato casualties since the war began in 2001.
Ten British soldiers have been killed in the last nine days and 66 have died so
far in 2010, which is more than double the 32 in the same period last year.

General McChrystal's sacking, for making indiscreet remarks about President
Obama and others, disguises the real reason for his removal -- his latest
report which told the truth about the war: Nato is losing and the Afghan
resistance is "resilient and growing".

Charity Will Sue Israel In Britain Over Flotilla Massacre

Charity will sue Israel in Britain over flotilla massacre | Window Into Palestine

Mary Nazzal Batayneh, president of the Palestine Legal Aid Fund (PLAF), will be joined by six internationally renowned lawyers.

Dubai: A UK-registered charity on Tuesday said it was planning legal action in Britain on behalf of activists who were detained by Israel after a deadly raid on their Gaza-bound aid flotilla last month.

Mary Nazzal Batayneh, president of the Palestine Legal Aid Fund (PLAF), will be joined by six internationally renowned lawyers.

The team "will launch a court case in the name of the hundreds of activists illegally abducted and imprisoned, many of whom were beaten and wounded and nearly all their belongings confiscated," as well as for the families of the Turkish activists killed, she said.

"A trial should be held in Britain based on the British legal system," Batayneh added. Read more.

Europe Condemns Israel Killings, Calls For End To Gaza Siege

Europe condemns Israel killings, calls for end to Gaza siege | World Bulletin
Israeli commandos shot dead eight Turk activists and an American of Turkish origin on board Turkish ship Mavi Marmara on May 31.

The European Parliament on Thursday debated and voted a resolution which condemns Israel over its raid on the flotilla heading for Gaza and calls for an immediate end to blockade on that territory.

The resolution condemns Israel for its military operation on Gaza-bound flotilla carrying humanitarian aid. Israeli commandos shot dead eight Turk activists and an American of Turkish origin on board Turkish ship Mavi Marmara on May 31.

The resolution, drafted jointly by political groups in the parliament, says Israeli attack was a breach of international law.

It calls for a prompt international and impartial inquiry into the raid and calls on European countries to raise this demand. Read more.

Gaza flotilla: EU Parliament calls for international inquiry and end to blockade
By Yossi Lempkowicz | European Jewish Press

The European Parliament on Thursday called for an international and impartial inquiry into Israel's attack on a Gaza-bound flotilla and the end to the Gaza Strip blockade, in a resolution adopted by 470 votes in favour, 56 against and 56 abstentions.

Israel should "immediately" end the Gaza blockade, “which has resulted in a humanitarian disaster, paralyzed the Gaza Strip's reconstruction and economy and aggravated political radicalization,” the resolution said.

They called on EU’s foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton to submit an EU plan to the Mideast Quartet to help end the blockade.

The MEP’s also proposed an international monitoring of the crossings into Gaza, including the re-activation of the EU Border Assistance Mission (EU-BAM), in order to address Israel's security concerns. Read more.

Gulf News; From Bad to Worse


Gulf News; From Bad to Worse
By Rob Kall | Op Ed News

Sit down. Get ready. Your life has begun to change. It will never be the same again. This gulf disaster is changing everything. Call your legislators. Tell them that they are now on notice. There are the constituents and there are planet killing corporations, ready to wipe out life on the planet for a profit. Those legislators have to choose whose side they are on. No more bullshit. No more lobbyists getting favors. This is not life or death.

Here's the latest report I just received from my contact inside BP:

Ok, here's the deal.

Size of reservoir - estimated by BP and its partner, Andarko to be between 2.5B and 10B bbl. (that's 100,000,000,000 gallons and 400,000,000,000 gallons.

Yes - all of those numbers are BILLIONS.

BP has admitted in at least 3 interviews that the well casing is compromised (broken). So, when they tried the Top Kill - and then the Junk Shot - the stuff shot out the sides and didn't go much down the hole. A REAL top kill should just take a few hours - or it's not going to ever work.

The casing was undoubtedly broken apart by the natural gas 'explosion' at the bottom of the well, which was the result of methane coming out of solution (ie. the methane hydrates melting and expanding dramatically). Much like when your washer's water line has air in it and you shut off the valve and the line 'hammers', the well 'hammered' when the BOP shut (the guess is 80%), and the dramatic upshot in pressure, as well as the acoustic shockwave, broke the casing.

The Question of the Day is: Did the explosion rupture the casing for its entire length?

If that is so, then a relief well will be unable to plug the hole. TEN relief wells would be unable to plug the hole. Read more.

Bloody Sunday Inquiry:

victims were all unarmed and killed without justification, says Saville report

 

15 Jun 2010 David Cameron has apologised for the actions of British soldiers after the Saville Inquiry found that 14 civil rights demonstrators and bystanders were killed without justification.

 

Poland Holds Alleged Israeli Spy

Poland holds alleged Israeli spy | Al Jazeera
Submitted by Michael Munk | www.MichaelMunk.com

Polish authorities have arrested a suspected Mossad agent wanted by Germany over the assassination of a Hamas commander in Dubai, German prosecuters say.

Germany is now seeking the extradition of the Israeli intelligence agent, who was said to have been arrested in Warsaw in early June.

"He was arrested in Warsaw and is suspected of being involved in illegally obtaining a [German] passport," a spokesman for German federal prosecution said on Saturday, confirming a report by German magazine Der Spiegel.

"It's now up to the Poles to decide if they are going to hand him over to Germany."

Israel's foreign ministry confirmed that "an Israeli national was arrested in Poland," adding that "the consulate of Israel is dealing with the case."

According to an article to be published on Monday in Der Spiegel, the suspect, identified as Uri Brodsky, was arrested on arrival at Warsaw's airport on suspicions that he helped a member of the hit squad get a German passport in June 2009. Read more.

Pentagon Chief In Azerbaijan: Afghan War Arc Stretches To Caspian And Caucasus


Pentagon Chief In Azerbaijan: Afghan War Arc Stretches To Caspian And Caucasus
By Rick Rozoff | Stop NATO | Blog site

U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates arrived in Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan, on June 6, meeting with President Ilham Aliyev on that day and on the following with Defense Minister Colonel General Safar Abiyev.

Gates was the first cabinet-level American official to visit the strategically positioned nation - located in the South Caucasus with Russia to its north, Iran to its south and the Caspian Sea to its east - in five years and the first U.S. defense chief to visit since Donald Rumsfeld did in 2005.

When Gates' predecessor was last in Azerbaijan his mission centered on "the transportation of Caspian oil and the security of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline" as the chief element of U.S. trans-Eurasian oil and natural gas plans "which [are] directly connected with Mr Rumsfeld's department" [1] to bring Caspian Sea hydrocarbons into Europe while bypassing Russia and Iran, both of which adjoin Azerbaijan.

Rumsfeld's visit of five years ago also focused on a related initiative, the Caspian Guard project the Pentagon launched in 2003. "Guaranteeing security to the pipeline...will be the prime goal of the Caspian Guard. The Caspian Guard will represent a network of police detachments and special military units in the Caspian region." [2]

At the time Rumsfeld's Defense Department planned to allot over $100 million for the Caspian Guard to operate at both ends of the inland sea - Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan - and to be based in Stuttgart, Germany where the Pentagon's new Africa Command is now based. In fact U.S. European Command was simultaneously elaborating plans for the Caspian Guard and a complementary Gulf of Guinea Guard in oil-rich western Africa to secure control over the 21st century's main new sources of energy supplies. [3]

Gates arrived in Azerbaijan the day after the ninth annual Asian security summit organized by the International Institute for Strategic Studies in Singapore and before his attendance at the NATO defense chiefs meeting in Brussels on the 9th.

He had intended to visit Beijing following the conference in Singapore, but his overtures in that direction were rebuffed by the Chinese government, presumably because of Washington's confirmation this January of plans to complete a $6.5 billion arms transaction with Taiwan, one whose latest installment includes 200 Patriot Advanced Capability-3 anti-ballistic missiles.

That Baku replaced Beijing on the Pentagon chief's way to the NATO meeting indicates the importance that the comparatively small nation - with a population of under nine million while China's is over 1.3 billion - has in American global geostrategic plans.

Sweden, Norway Act Against Israel

Sweden, Norway Act Against Israel | WSJ

International fallout from Israel's bloody boarding of a flotilla offshore Gaza intensified, moving beyond angry denunciation from Israel's foes to protest measures in some Western countries.

In Sweden, dockworkers are set to launch a weeklong boycott of Israeli ships and goods, a union spokesman said Saturday according to Associated Press.

Peter Annerback, a spokesman for the Swedish Port Workers Union which has around 1,500 members, said workers are urged to refuse handling of Israeli goods and ships during the June 15-24 boycott.

Norway's military says it has canceled a special operations seminar because the Defense Ministry objected to the inclusion of an Israeli army officer in the program, AP reported. Read more.

German President Horst Koehler Resigns Over Military Row

German president Horst Koehler resigns over military row
By Sarah Garrod | In The News UK

Germany's president Horst Koehler has resigned following remarks he made about the country's military deployment.

The 67-year-old faced increasing pressure to step down when comments he made about the link between the country's economic interests and its military deployments were met with criticism.

The president's role in Germany is largely ceremonial, with Mr Koehler being re-elected for a second term last year.

His remarks were made during a radio interview after visiting Afghanistan, in which he said military missions helped to "protect our interests, for example, free trade routes, or to prevent regional instability, which might certainly have a negative effect on our trade, jobs and income".

He said yesterday that "it was an honour for me to serve Germany as president", adding that he regretted the comments he had made if they were misunderstood, while his office said his they had been misinterpreted.

Mr Köhler's decision marked the first time in post-war German history that a president has resigned with immediate effect. His replacement will be voted in by an election next month. Read more.

The Common Culture of Turkey, the United States, and Iran

By David Swanson

I'd guess roughly 3% of the Americans who watch the new Disney movie Prince of Persia have any idea that Persia and Iran are the same place. A similar number are probably aware of Iranians' demonstrations of sympathy following 9-11 and of Iran's assistance to the United States in Afghanistan in 2001. But surely an even smaller percentage of Americans know that Iran, Turkey, and our own country all fought revolutions against British colonialism, and developed democracies, our own serving as an inspiration for the others, our nation serving as a friend and ally to them. And you could probably fit into one football stadium every American who knows that Turkey's democratic advance succeeded where Iran's failed, principally because Teddy Roosevelt's grandson, working for the CIA, overthrew Iran's elected leader and installed a dictator, whom the United States proceeded to support and arm for decades.

Poland: U.S. Moves First Missiles, Troops Near Russian Border


Poland: U.S. Moves First Missiles, Troops Near Russian Border
Rick Rozoff | Stop NATO | Blog site | May 29, 2010

On May 26 Polish news media announced that the first American Patriot interceptor missile battery and 100 U.S. troops were officially welcomed by Defense Minister Bogdan Klich, U.S. Ambassador Lee Feinstein and Brigadier General Mark Bellini of U.S. Army Europe at a ceremony in Poland.

American troops, it was further reported, had arrived over the previous weekend from a base in Germany to unload over 37 railway cars and assemble the Patriots in the Polish town of Morag, only 60 kilometers from Russia's northwestern border in the Kaliningrad district. Details concerning the Patriot deployment and the stationing of as many as 150 U.S. servicemen were finalized in a supplemental Status of Forces Agreement between Washington and Warsaw in February.

One of Britain's major daily newspapers characterized the development as follows: "The mission amounts to the most significant deployment ever of US forces to Poland, which once was behind the Iron Curtain but is now an enthusiastic member of Nato." [1]

At the unveiling of the missile battery the Polish defense chief stated that "Placing the Patriot batteries in Poland makes the country more secure and contributes to Poland's cooperation with the U.S," and, allowing for an imperfect translation, "The more America and Europe in Poland, the more Poland in American and European politics." [2]

The Associated Press reminded its readers on the occasion that "The U.S military has previously carried out training exercises in Poland, and
has also trained the Polish air force to operate F-16 military fighter planes, which Poland bought to modernize its military."

In fact between November of 2006 and December of 2008 Poland received 48 F-16 Fighting Falcon American warplanes and the Pentagon and NATO conduct regular military exercises - infantry, naval and air - at Polish bases.

What is qualitatively different about this week's events, though, was spelled out by Andrew Paul, a spokesman for the U.S. Embassy in Warsaw, who acknowledged "that the Patriot garrison involves a longer time commitment than anything before, and marks 'the first continuing presence' of American soldiers and equipment in Poland." [3] The U.S. troops who arrived earlier this week are the first foreign ones based on Polish soil since the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact twenty years ago.

The Spanish Government Is Trying To Stop The Activities In Gijón and Madrid

The Spanish Government is trying to stop the activities in Gijón and Madrid
Memo from the Spanish Campaign against the Occupation and for the Sovereignty of Iraq
By CEOSI Organizing Committee | IraqSolidaridad | May 28, 2010

“CEOSI deplores the change of attitude of the Spanish government, which will complicate or delay what would have been an invaluable contribution to the success of a negotiated, democratic and binding solution in Iraq. The meetings organized in Spain encompass the participation of the highest representatives of the currents in the anti-occupation camp, along with Iraqi intellectuals and activists, international personalities and representatives of European and U.S. organizations. The rough draft of the final communiqué, which would be signed and presented in Gijón, would have been a remarkable contribution to this objective, as it would display for the first time a united and public commitment to a democratic reconstruction of Iraq and condemnation of terrorism.”

Today, on May 28, the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation has informed the Spanish Campaign against the Occupation and for the Sovereignty of Iraq (CEOSI) of “the impossibility of its giving support of any type” to the activities planned in Gijón and Madrid between June 18 and 21 within the framework of the International Conference of the Iraqi Political Resistance: Iraq, sovereignty and democratic reconstruction [1]. CEOSI believes that with this unexpected decision, the Spanish Government is preventing (in fact, prohibiting) the two activities from being carried out as initially programmed [2], and is unexpectedly failing to fulfill commitments agreed upon with the activities’ organizers.

In relation to this, CEOSI makes the following statement:

1. CEOSI denounces the breach in the agreement reached between CEOSI and the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation in relation to this initiative, which included the commitment of the Spanish authorities to facilitate the presentation of visas to the Iraqis participating in the planned activities.

The Breakup

The Breakup
By John Feffer | Foreign Policy in Focus

“I need a little space.”

When lovers utter these words, it’s usually a bad sign for the relationship. They feel suffocated. They're reexamining their commitment. They're checking out other options. But they don’t have the courage to make a clean break.

Britain is the latest country to question its “special relationship” with the United States. The recent elections have brought in the new team of David Cameron (Conservative Party) and Nicholas Clegg (Liberal Democrats). Both leaders have complained of how unquestioningly close Britain became to the United States during the Bush-Blair and then Brown-Obama years. The new British Foreign Minister Walter Hogue has called for trans-Atlantic relations to be “solid but not slavish.”

Meanwhile, a couple months ago, a British parliamentary committee recommended that the very phrase “special relationship” be retired altogether. “The UK needs to be less deferential and more willing to say no to the United States on those issues where the two countries’ interests and values diverge,” the committee’s report said.

Sounds to me like the Brits are very clearly saying: This whole shacking up thing isn’t working out. Let’s just be friends. Do you mind spending the night on the sofa? Read more.

Death Tolls Set To Spiral As Allied Forces Face 40 Attacks Every Day


Death tolls set to spiral as allied forces face 40 attacks every day

By Jonathan Owen | Independent.co.UK

British troops in Afghanistan are coming under the fiercest and most sustained assault since the start of the conflict nine years ago, with coalition forces subjected to more than 40 attacks each day in March: double the rate of a year ago. Attacks by the Taliban between September 2009 and March 2010 leapt by 83 per cent compared with the same period last year, according to a new report released this month by the US Government Accountability Office.

This in turn is greater than the 75 per cent increase between 2008 and 2009, when the Taliban launched 21,000 attacks. Worse, the violence is expected to grow even more ferocious in the coming months as US and British forces fight to retake Taliban-held territory in the south of the country.

Ineffective governance and money from the opium trade are cited as factors behind the continuing resilience of the insurgency. Read more.

Euro Crisis: Only Root-And-Branch Financial Reform Can Tame The Wolf Pack


Euro crisis: only root-and-branch financial reform can tame the wolf pack
By Dan Roberts | Guardian.co.UK

Excerpt:

European optimists hope the way to save the eurozone will be to complete the project by agreeing much closer fiscal and political union between the single currency members. In future, the hope is Germany would no more allow Greece to get into this mess than it would Bavaria.

Yet recognising how interconnected our economies have become does not in itself lessen the risks. In many respects, the credit crunch which began in 2007 has just jumped another firebreak: what began as a private sector banking problem has mutated into a sovereign debt disaster as nation states try to help, and is now becoming a supranational headache instead as the few remaining stable authorities, such as the EU and International Monetary Fund, get dragged in too.

Understandably, many are now again questioning the role that banks and traders have played in this saga – not least as a government-spurred recovery in bank profits once again drives personal bonuses to record levels.

In Europe, anger at the financial system is directed particularly towards London and New York, where most of the world's currency traders and debt investors hang out. The EU is already working on plans to form its own credit rating agencies as an answer to what many see as an American hegemony....

Satisfying, and just, as it may be to turn fire back on the financiers, the complicating factor is that indebted countries have never needed them more. Perhaps only a root-and-branch reassessment of our financial system itself can save us now. Read more.

Eastern Europe: From Socialist Bloc And Non-Alignment To U.S. Military Colonies

Eastern Europe: From Socialist Bloc And Non-Alignment To U.S. Military Colonies
Rick Rozoff | Stop NATO | Blog site | May 11, 2010

Eleven years ago today the North Atlantic Treaty Organization was in the seventh week of a bombing war against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, one which saw over 1,000 Western military planes fly over 38,000 combat missions, bombs dropped from the sky and Tomahawk cruise missiles launched from the Mediterranean Sea.

Having quickly exhausted military targets, NATO warplanes resorted to bombing so-called targets of opportunity, including bridges on the Danube River, factories, Radio Television of Serbia headquarters in the capital (where sixteen employees were killed), a refugee column in Kosovo, the offices of political parties and the residences of government officials and foreign ambassadors, a passenger train, a religious procession, hospitals, apartment courtyards, hotels, the Swedish and Swiss embassies and the nation's entire power grid.

U.S. Apache gunships and British Harrier jet aircraft were deployed for attacks on the ground and Yugoslavia was strewn with unexploded cluster bomb fragments and depleted uranium contamination.

The 78-day bombing campaign, NATO code name Operation Allied Force and U.S. Operation Noble Anvil, was promoted in Washington and other Western capitals as history's first "humanitarian war."

The U.S. and NATO dramatically escalated the reckless assault with an overnight attack on the Chinese embassy in Belgrade on May 7 in which five American bombs simultaneously struck the building, killing three and wounding 20 Chinese citizens. The government of China denounced the action for what it was, a "war crime," a "barbaric attack and a gross violation of Chinese sovereignty" and "NATO's barbarian act."

During the long Cold War it was assumed that military action by the North Atlantic military bloc would result in the death and injury of soldiers and civilians in member states of the Warsaw Pact. But NATO's first victims were Serbs and Chinese.

When the war ended on June 11, the West had achieved what it set out to accomplish:

50,000 troops under NATO's command entered Serbia's Kosovo province, where over 12,000 remain eleven years later.

The Financial Oligarchy Reigns: Democracy’s Death Spiral From Greece to the United States

The Financial Oligarchy Reigns: Democracy’s Death Spiral From Greece to the United States
By David DeGraw | Amped Status

As the Economic Elite continue their plunder, the people in Greece riot and the big banks score yet another big blow against the people of the United States.

Democracy throughout the world is under attack. Many people can make the argument that our democracy here in America is only an illusion, but even the illusion of democracy is crashing down. Tragedies are currently playing out across the world on an epic scale. Unprecedented economic and environmental catastrophes have become the norm. Billions of people, the overwhelming majority of humanity, have been sentenced to a slow death due to a concentration of wealth and resources within the humanity’s economic top 0.5%. Ultimately, short-sighted greed has proven to be humanity’s most severe disease.

I: Democracy Vs. Oligarchy: Lessons from History

The experiment known as democracy is devolving into fascism before our eyes, the “iron law of oligarchy” is once again asserting itself. From the Founding Fathers on, we have known that you cannot have a concentration of vast wealth and Democracy at the same time, and we currently have the greatest concentration of wealth in the history of the United States. As former Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis once said, “We can have democracy in this country, or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can’t have both.”

The power struggle between democracy and the concentration of power represented within private banking interests has been a war raging throughout American history. Our Founders and early Presidents were very explicit in their opposition and our need to vigilantly guard against any private interests who sought control over our economy. In fact, our current crisis and power structure was summed up with stunning accuracy by the Founding Fathers themselves. As James Madison called it, “the daring depravity of the times.” As he described, “The stock-jobbers will become the praetorian band of the government, at once its tools and its tyrants; bribed by its largesse, and overawing it by clamors and combinations. Substituting the motive of private interest in place of public duty, leading to a real domination of the few under an apparent domination of the many.”

Leave it to Madison, the Father of the Constitution, to give us one of the most prescient quotes on modern day America you can find. For those of you who have never heard the term “stock-jobbers,” here’s the definition from a dictionary written in 1811:

“Stock Jobbers

Persons who gamble in Exchange Alley, by pretending to buy and sell the public funds, but in reality only betting that they will be at a certain price, at a particular time; possessing neither the stock pretended to be sold, nor money sufficient to make good the payments for which they contract: these gentlemen are known under the different appellations of bulls, bears, and lame ducks.”

Yes, even the Founders, long before High Frequency Trading algorithms and derivatives, had a clear understanding and great fear of the casino rigging tyrants in “Exchange Alley.” Madison also famously said: “History records that the money changers have used every form of abuse, intrigue, deceit, and violent means possible to maintain their control over governments by controlling money and its issuance.” Read more.

Atlantic Council: Securing The 21st Century For NATO

Atlantic Council: Securing The 21st Century For NATO
Rick Rozoff | Stop NATO | Blog site | April 30, 2010

On April 28 the Atlantic Council held its annual awards dinner at the Ritz-Carlton hotel in the Foggy Bottom neighborhood of Washington, D.C. where the U.S. State Department is also situated.

The honorees were headed by former President Bill Clinton, who was given the Distinguished International Leadership Award for his intervention in the Balkans in the 1990s, expanding the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and launching the North American Free Trade Agreement. Josef Ackermann, Chairman of the Management Board and the Group Executive Committee of Deutsche Bank AG, was presented with the Distinguished Business Leadership Award.

Distinguished Military Leadership Awards were presented jointly to U.S. Marine General James Mattis, currently chief of U.S. Joint Forces Command and NATO's Supreme Allied Commander Transformation from 2007-2009, and French General Stephane Abrial, who took over the NATO command in Norfolk, Virginia from Mattis last year.

The Atlantic Council of the United States also conferred its first Humanitarian Leadership Award on the Irish pop singer Bono.

NBC plugged the event beforehand with this background blurb:

"The Atlantic Council, which counts current National Security Advisor James L. Jones and UN Ambassador Susan Rice as former employees, is a non-partisan group with a mission of promoting international cooperation, particularly between the U.S. and Europe. Jones will be joined at the black-tie gathering by Joint Chiefs Chairman Mike Mullen, Sen. John McCain and a host of other Washington socialites and politicians." [1]

European MPs and Ministers Assess Gaza Today


European MPs and Ministers Assess Gaza Today
By Stephen Lendman

During a recent visit, a 50-person European Campaign to End the Siege of Gaza (ECESG) assessed conditions on the ground firsthand, one year after Operation Cast Lead:

"to collect and document the facts, and then return to our respective countries and the European Parliament to push for actions that will bring immediate humanitarian relief and an end to the siege, as well as peace and justice to the Palestinian people," what they've long been denied under a repressive occupation.

ECESG calls itself:

"an umbrella body of non-governmental organizations across Europe that advocates (for) the fundamental right of the Palestinian people in Gaza to live in peace and dignity without being subjected to any form of collective punishment....ECESG supports the restoration of (Gazans') inalienable rights....and lobbies for pressure to be exerted on (Israel) to lift its siege and end the human tragedy there."

Meetings were held with Palestinian Legislative Council members, Prime Minister Ismail Haniya, and UNRWA Director of Operations, John Ging.

Areas toured were most affected, including Izbet Abet Rabu, the Al-Fakhoura School, and the Al-Salam neighborhood. Delegates also met with Al-Samouni family survivors who lost 23 members during the war.

They saw firsthand what human rights and various international organizations documented, including the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) Goldstone Commission's damning indictment of Israeli crimes of war and against humanity after its extensive 2009 fact finding mission.

The combination of destructive war, siege, and humanitarian crisis has been well reported. Nonetheless, ECESG's report is important because it's current and by 50 European parliamentarians and ministers, able to reach other high level officials at home, perhaps with enough clout for action - if not now, toward it happening sooner.

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