Tuesday, December 13, 2005
The Washington Post yesterday carried a report ...
Abuse Cited In 2nd Jail Operated by Iraqi Ministry
"Investigators said they found 625 prisoners at the center but declined to give details about them. Most of the detainees found at the secret prison last month were Sunni Arabs who had been picked up by forces of the Shiite Muslim-dominated Interior Ministry." (The BBC reports the bunker was beneath an interior ministry building)
.. and a little throwaway line finishes the article.
"Authorities have identified more than 1,000 detention centers across Iraq."
That's an awful lot of prisoners in Iraq.
Meanwhile Meanwhile Agence France Press report Major General Muntazar al-Samarrai saying that he witnessed horrific scenes of torture while he worked in Iraqi-run prisons. He showed the news agency videotapes recorded inside the prison. Men were seen with whip marks and acid burns. One prisoner had lost an eye. Another prisoner had nails driven into his body. The general said at least three people died as a result of torture at the prison, The general - who is a Sunni now living in Jordan - said the abuse is being carried out at nine secret prisons run by pro-Iranian Shiite militias who work for the Interior Ministry.
* Report RAND Corporation April 16th 2005 The police official in charge of the special forces of the security adviser at the Interior Ministry, Major General Muntazar Jasim al-Samarrai, survived an assassination attempt when gunmen opened fire on his car as he was on his way to the interior ministry. The attackers conducted their attack both from a car and a nearby house. Al-Samarrai's driver was injured in the attack as was one of his escorts. One attacker was wounded and arrested.
Recent blogs on same topic here
Monday, December 12, 2005
Tony Blair today on seizing cash from people not convicted of any crime...
"You cannot deal with this type of crime by ordinary methods or by ordinary court processes. I genuinely believe that. I have tried it, it doesn't work."
The great strength of the totalitarian state is that it forces those who fear it to imitate it.
Goebbels told an audience of the Volksgerichtshof (National Socialist People's Court -VGH) judges in 1942, " ...the judiciary has to recognize its political task. Whether a judgment was just or unjust was unimportant; what mattered was that it fulfilled its purpose". A Minister of Justice is reported to have said to the newly appointed President of the VGH: "In general, the judge of the VGH must become accustomed to seeing primarily the ideas and intentions of the leadership of the state, while the human fate which depends on it is only secondary".
It is a small step from the use of the personal pronoun repeated, to arrive finally believing that the law is framed by the subjective will of the Führer himself. It is an easy step to it's general acceptance.
Remember Bush's State of the Union address to Congress January 2003, televised nationwide just before the illegal invasion of Iraq. Claiming success in the War on Terra , Bush said that "more than 3,000 suspected terrorists" had been arrested worldwide – "and many others have met a different fate." Cue sickly knowing grin, a snicker .. "Let's put it this way. They are no longer a problem."
As my nanny used to say, "Well they must be bad men Teddy. or else the Policemen wouldn't have locked them up".
Recent blogs on same topic here
Liberty asked the Foreign Secretary in a letter dated 30th November (Press Release)
1. Liberty requested that he ask the US Government whether it has used British territory for the purposes of extraordinary rendition. Has he done this?
2. We asked him to investigate whether British territory has been so used. He appears to respond by saying that “no requests have been made” (to use airports to move CIA suspects).
3. Crucially, we asked him to seek an assurance from the US Government that in the future, neither it not its agents would use Britain for the purposes of extraordinary rendition. Has he done this?
To which the BBC report Jack Straw replying ;
"Careful research has been unable to identify any occasion... when we have received a request for permission by the United States for a rendition through the United Kingdom territory or airspace," Mr Straw told BBC Radio 4's Today programme.
"Our people have checked through all the detail of the Liberty suggestions.
"They have found no records which corroborate either the details of what Liberty say and no papers relating to any policy considerations of what Liberty say."
He said it was the practise of the US government to ask permission of the UK when it has sought such transfers in the past.
Two such requests were approved for flights taking suspects to the US for trial in 1998, under the Clinton administration, he said.
One cannot doubt that the mandarinate have been turning out drawers, scratching through waste paper bins, consulting files, dusty shelves and found nothing. Simply because there was nothing to find.
Of course no requests were made, because the CIA “rendered prisoners” had diplomatic cover afforded by the issue of diplomatic passports as revealed here 3/12 and here 4/12 and here 6/12
Late NewsApparently in Ministry of Defence and Transport answers, "if landing planes do not unload cargo or passengers, no record is kept of their contents or destination". - Perhaps it would be unrealistic to expect that the CIA would have a cargo manifest that would say.."2 prisoners for Cairo - purpose Torture". A list of passengers and passport details would surely be available?
Liberty have been in possession of this information directly for over a week and have neither sought confirmation or denial from the US our UK authorities, nor have any of the UK MSM media organisation.
Naturally one can understand a degree of scepticism about such a claim, in the absence of provable documents or testimony from named or identified individuals – but why is everyone so incurious ?
Of course if anyone HAS asked the question and the relevant authorities have denied it , I wish they would tell us all.
In the absence of any such information – I can only assume that the Bush administration changed procedures from the preceding Clinton Administration taking the advice of such smart ass lawyers like John Yoo.
It is evident to the meanest intellect that the CIA Airline in its many (dis)guises had a laissez passer (except notably never passing through France) to proceed as they wished. The prisoners were , simply an extension of the inviolable Diplomatic Bag.
Of course the Bromma airport incident in Sweden on December 18th 2001, is the most interesting of cases where approval was given because the lady (Swedish Foreign Minister Anna Lindh) who gave the approval for the kidnapping was murdered in public nearly two years later (curiously she died on 11th September 2003 at about the time that details of the incident were surfacing publicly) – by a Kosovan hit man (Mijailo Mijailović he confessed in Jan 2004).
PS The official Swedish enquiry reported eventually …
“The element in the handling of the case which there is reason to examine more closely is the acceptance of the “guarantee” or the diplomatic assurances. According to the Government, the guarantee was a precondition for the decisions to expel the men to their homeland, Egypt. It comprised the exchange of aides-mémoire and what took place during a conversation between State Secretary Gun-Britt Andersson and a representative of Egypt.”
Which should give great encouragement to Hazel Blears as she negotiates her novel “assurances” with the democratic regimes to which we are so anxious to expel people, for whom we can find no reason to prosecute in this country but wish to eject for reasons unstated and unknown, or at least shrouded in a legal secrecy.
The Bromma incident which came hard on the heels of 9/11 exsposed the problem of meeting the needs of such forthright and honest Ministers as Anna Lindh - it was from this that the ruse of diplomatic cover by use of diplomatic passports followed.
Of course this may be all a load of tosh - and they just shovel these people around without any cover, without notifying Jack Straw - I doubt it.
Recent blogs on same topic here
W.L Ross & Company, LLC was formed in April 2000 when Wilbur Ross, Jr. and bankruptcy advisory/investment team moved out of Rothschild Inc. to form an independent organization dedicated to managing distressed securities funds. The firm now manages more than $1.6 million of distressed security funds. WL Ross & Company LLC is headquartered in New York and has offices in Tokyo and Seoul.
The fund now has increased its ownership in UK Coal to 400,000 shares, or 3.3 per cent of the UK’s only sizeable coal producer. (and by now maybe even more)
Who is Wilbur Ross? (pic Wilbur and the 3rd Mrs Ros)Well his greatest successes have been in buying up steel companies – the most successful deal of which was announced on On the morning of Monday, October 25, 2004, when the business media was abuzz with news that Ross had struck a deal with Indian mogul Lakshmi Mittal to sell International Steel Group (ISG) for $4.5 billion. Shares of ISG immediately jumped, so that by the end of the day, Ross and other ISG shareholders were $545 million richer than they had been when the stock market closed on Friday.
This was after he claimed not to be an "asset flipper" and was investing for the future of the steel industry. A view he changed in what they call a New York minute.
One commentator remarks ..
What honestly can be said about Wilbur Louis Ross is that he took a troubled business, shook it hard, and emerged laden with fruit. No distractions kept him from extracting maximum value from his assets; no balancing of his financial interests against the sacrifices made by many others. Just knife-blade bargaining and cutting-edge execution.
After declaring a loss of £30Mn in the first six months of the 2005 Financial year the Board of UK Coal (Mkt Cap today £209 Mn) reported …
A decline in sales volumes, partially offset by higher coal prices, led to a fall in turnover from continuing operations to £164.1 million (2004: £222.4
million). Coal sales fell to 4.8 million tonnes (2004: 7.4 million tonnes) as a result of a reduction in production to 4.6 million tonnes (2004: 7.2 million tonnes) reflecting colliery closures in 2004 and a reduction in surface mine output. Overall coal stocks held amounted to 369,000 tonnes (31 December 2004:647,000 tonnes).
In early November Tom Farmer of Kwik Fit fame finally announced he was no longer interested in taking over UK Coal.
UK Coal’s major shareholders , Phoenix, Morgan Stanley, Fidelity will no doubt be having interesting conversations with Mr Ross and his colleagues who are dedicated to “managing distressed securities funds.”
Drax, producers of 8% of UK electricity is due for listing this week by the American bondholders. Which should value the company they invested £1.3 Bn in 2 years ago at £ 2.3 Bn after having rejected several offers for the company.
Drax are of course heavily dependent upon UK Coal performing against the contracts for supply that they have with them. Mr Ross who has a slew of coal interests (His International Coal Group IPO's last week handing him a7 fold increase on his investment to date) might well of course be contemplating completing those contracts with coal inported into the UK and closing down the mines and selling off their above ground property assets.
Mr Blair must have a grim smile on his face when he sees how vital decisions about the UK energy supply are made by financiers in New York rather than politicians in London.
UK Coal shares closed at 141 p on Friday, having risen some 10% since Mr Ross's interest was announced.
Recent blogs on same topic here
Also you can read in Sunday's Scottish Daily Herald how Gordon Brown's proposed increased taxation of North Sea OIl has shafted new developments (the oil industry has a technical term - killing the goose that lays the golden egg).... and how enlightened industry / Government partnerships in Venezuela have done the reverse.
Sunday, December 11, 2005
This is the SEALION (SEAL Insertion / Observation / Neutralization) demonstrator (the only one built so far) .Based in the Norfolk, Va., area, it has been tested by Naval Special Warfare Group Four in the Hampton Roads waterways and the coastal Atlantic area. The 71-foot-long, aluminium -hull, high-speed watercraft is designed to demonstrate new technology in advanced hull forms, human systems engineering and interface, and modular mission packages.
SEALION II is being designed to accommodate a short-range strike missile, to demonstrate a modular payload with a precision-strike capability. It will also feature a pop-up infrared imaging system built by DRS Technologies (Parsippany, N.J.), as well as a modular mission missile payload bay. The boat also features the Craft Integrated Electronics Suite, built by Azimuth Inc., a West Virginia-based company specializing in high-technology services.The 71 foot metal catamaran behemoth is designed to be carried on a C13 Hercules.
Those interested in the way Azimuth Inc is connected to the Republicans Mollahan and Byrd in VA you might like to read Chapter and Verse at the above link.
If you swim in the sea off Ramallah, Gaza , Palestine, you might be interested in this Israeli Defence Force (IDF) radio controlled boat. The IDF is already deploying this stealth remote controlled "Death Shark" boat complete with 4 satellite imaging cameras, as well as a sonar or radar system and electro-optics capable of providing a three-dimensional image, and capable of a top speed of 50 knots.
The 9 metre (30 ft) long rigid inflatable is an all Israel assembly and can easily operate off the shores of Lebanon, Syria, Saudi Arabia and Iran undetected by it's fully tested stealth design. It may also act as a submersible. The principal mission is to protect Israel coastal waters. The unmanned speedboat (of which hundreds are said to have been deployed) is equipped with a mini-Typhoon type remote coontrolled automatic machine gun, developed by Rafael. The Typhoon system allows the gun to stay on target as the unmanned surface vehicle (USV) bounces across the waves.
The remote-controlled machine gun is said to be capable of being operated with laser accuracy up to a range of 50 kilometers, reportedly the first of its kind in the world.
Developers also said the "Death Shark" could be used to ferry commandos, as well as contribute to anti-terrorist protection. Some military observers say it could be used as the ultimate "suicide bomber" being able to carry a payload of undefined weapons against a ship, submarine or an enemy coastal military installation..
The "Death Shark" will most definitely be used to protect and escort Israel's merchant marine fleet and civilian vessels in both the Middle East and throughout the world..... It was probably used during Israel disengagement from Gaza, where it quietly neutralized any opposition both on land and in the water.
At a recent (July) demonstration in Israel , the sleek, stealthy boat was able to quickly manoeuvre around a naval harbour while controlled by a civilian operator inside a control room. The vessel had a maximum speed of 50 knots. Rafael can also equip the USV with search lights and a powerful public address system - and no doubt crowd control directed sound equipment.
Readers here will know that Israel is a world leader in unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV's) some of which are armed and have been used to assassinate Palestinians in Gaza.
Israel is also said to be deploying remote-controlled ground vehicles along the security fence in the West Bank.
You can buy your own remote controlled 20 mph stealth model boat here looks cool but no cameras, guns, etc.,
Recent blogs on same topic here
TO IMMEDIATE FCO
OF 220939 JULY 04
INFO IMMEDIATE DFID, ISLAMIC POSTS, MOD, OSCE POSTS UKDEL EBRD LONDON, UKMIS GENEVA, UKMIS MEW YORK
SUBJECT: RECEIPT OF INTELLIGENCE OBTAINED UNDER TORTURE
1. We receive intelligence obtained under torture from the Uzbek intelligence services, via the US. We should stop. It is bad information anyway. Tortured dupes are forced to sign up to confessions showing what the Uzbek government wants the US and UK to believe, that they and we are fighting the same war against terror.
2. I gather a recent London interdepartmental meeting considered the question and decided to continue to receive the material. This is morally, legally and practically wrong. It exposes as hypocritical our post Abu Ghraib pronouncements and fatally undermines our moral standing. It obviates my efforts to get the Uzbek government to stop torture they are fully aware our intelligence community laps up the results.
3. We should cease all co-operation with the Uzbek Security Services they are beyond the pale. We indeed need to establish an SIS presence here, but not as in a friendly state.
4. In the period December 2002 to March 2003 I raised several times the issue of intelligence material from the Uzbek security services which was obtained under torture and passed to us via the CIA. I queried the legality, efficacy and morality of the practice.
5. I was summoned to the UK for a meeting on 8 March 2003. Michael Wood gave his legal opinion that it was not illegal to obtain and to use intelligence acquired by torture. He said the only legal limitation on its use was that it could not be used in legal proceedings, under Article 15 of the UN Convention on Torture.
6. On behalf of the intelligence services, Matthew Kydd said that they found some of the material very useful indeed with a direct bearing on the war on terror. Linda Duffield said that she had been asked to assure me that my qualms of conscience were respected and understood.
7. Sir Michael Jay's circular of 26 May stated that there was a reporting obligation on us to report torture by allies (and I have been instructed to refer to Uzbekistan as such in the context of the war on terror). You, Sir, have made a number of striking, and I believe heartfelt, condemnations of torture in the last few weeks. I had in the light of this decided to return to this question and to highlight an apparent contradiction in our policy. I had intimated as much to the Head of Eastern Department.
8. I was therefore somewhat surprised to hear that without informing me of the meeting, or since informing me of the result of the meeting, a meeting was convened in the FCO at the level of Heads of Department and above, precisely to consider the question of the receipt of Uzbek intelligence material obtained under torture. As the office knew, I was in London at the time and perfectly able to attend the meeting. I still have only gleaned that it happened.
9. I understand that the meeting decided to continue to obtain the Uzbek torture material. I understand that the principal argument deployed was that the intelligence material disguises the precise source, ie it does not ordinarily reveal the name of the individual who is tortured. Indeed this is true - the material is marked with a euphemism such as "From detainee debriefing." The argument runs that if the individual is not named, we cannot prove that he was tortured.
10. I will not attempt to hide my utter contempt for such casuistry, nor my shame that I work in and organisation where colleagues would resort to it to justify torture. I have dealt with hundreds of individual cases of political or religious prisoners in Uzbekistan, and I have met with very few where torture, as defined in the UN convention, was not employed. When my then DHM raised the question with the CIA head of station 15 months ago, he readily acknowledged torture was deployed in obtaining intelligence. I do not think there is any doubt as to the fact
11. The torture record of the Uzbek security services could hardly be more widely known. Plainly there are, at the very least, reasonable grounds for believing the material is obtained under torture. There is helpful guidance at Article 3 of the UN Convention;
"The competent authorities shall take into account all relevant considerations including, where applicable, the existence in the state concerned of a consistent pattern of gross, flagrant or mass violations of human rights."
While this article forbids extradition or deportation to Uzbekistan, it is the right test for the present
12. On the usefulness of the material obtained, this is irrelevant. Article 2 of the Convention, to which we are a party, could not be plainer:
"No exceptional circumstances whatsoever, whether a state of war or a threat of war, internal political instability or any other public emergency, may be invoked as a justification of torture."
13. Nonetheless, I repeat that this material is useless - we are selling our souls for dross. It is in fact positively harmful. It is designed to give the message the Uzbeks want the West to hear. It exaggerates the role, size, organisation and activity of the IMU and its links with Al Qaida. The aim is to convince the West that the Uzbeks are a vital cog against a common foe, that they should keep the assistance, especially military assistance, coming, and that they should mute the international criticism on human rights and economic reform.
14. I was taken aback when Matthew Kydd said this stuff was valuable. Sixteen months ago it was difficult to argue with SIS in the area of intelligence assessment. But post Butler we know, not only that they can get it wrong on even the most vital and high profile issues, but that they have a particular yen for highly coloured material which exaggerates the threat. That is precisely what the Uzbeks give them. Furthermore MI6 have no operative within a thousand miles of me and certainly no expertise that can come close to my own in making this assessment.
15. At the Khuderbegainov trial I met an old man from Andizhan. Two of his children had been tortured in front of him until he signed a confession on the family's links with Bin Laden. Tears were streaming down his face. I have no doubt they had as much connection with Bin Laden as I do. This is the standard of the Uzbek intelligence services.
16. I have been considering Michael Wood's legal view, which he kindly gave in writing. I cannot understand why Michael concentrated only on Article 15 of the Convention. This certainly bans the use of material obtained under torture as evidence in proceedings, but it does not state that this is the sole exclusion of the use of such material.
17. The relevant article seems to me Article 4, which talks of complicity in torture. Knowingly to receive its results appears to be at least arguable as complicity. It does not appear that being in a different country to the actual torture would preclude complicity. I talked this over in a hypothetical sense with my old friend Prof Francois Hampson, I believe an acknowledged World authority on the Convention, who said that the complicity argument and the spirit of the Convention would be likely to be winning points. I should be grateful to hear Michael's views on this.
18. It seems to me that there are degrees of complicity and guilt, but being at one or two removes does not make us blameless. There are other factors. Plainly it was a breach of Article 3 of the Convention for the coalition to deport detainees back here from Baghram, but it has been done. That seems plainly complicit.
19. This is a difficult and dangerous part of the World. Dire and increasing poverty and harsh repression are undoubtedly turning young people here towards radical Islam. The Uzbek government are thus creating this threat, and perceived US support for Karimov strengthens anti-Western feeling. SIS ought to establish a presence here, but not as partners of the Uzbek Security Services, whose sheer brutality puts them beyond the pale.
From the Craig Murray website - see also blairwatch who provides much, much more.
I have just heard Hazel Blears the UK Whore on Terror (whose lies to the House of Commons have been chronicled here ad nauseam)on the BBC World at One deny that the UK condones torture or uses information so obtained.
You can believe Ex Ambassador Craig Murray or you can believe Hazel Blears.One is a person of integrity and honour the other a fucking lying bitch.