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Archive for April, 2003

UNHCHR resolutions

Posted by Ed on April 15, 2003

Today the UNHCHR voted on a number of resolutions regarding Israel:

“In a resolution on human rights in the occupied Syrian Golan, adopted by a roll-call vote of 31 in favour and 1 against, with 21 abstentions, the Commission called upon Israel to desist from changing the physical character, demographic composition, institutional structure and legal status of the occupied Syrian Golan, and emphasized that the displaced persons of the population must be allowed to return to their homes and to recover their properties; and determined that all legislative and administrative measures and actions taken or to be taken by Israel that purported to alter the character and legal status of the occupied Syrian Golan were null and void.”

31 in favour, and one against. Any guesses? Yep, the U.S.

And they claim to be serious about the so-called ‘road-map’.

The press release is also available here.


Posted in Politics | 3 Comments »

Shock and Awe ™

Posted by Ed on April 15, 2003

With all the delicacy of a bull in a china shop, Sony has applied for a patent on the term ‘Shock and Awe’, for a computer game.

Other ideas include ‘an “Axis of Evil” board game, “Iraqi Freedom” crockery and clothes as well as “Shock and Awe” trainers and dolls.’

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Chaos and Lawlessness

Posted by Ed on April 12, 2003

Brian Whitaker in the Guardian describes the different viewpoints of the US and British governments, and the world’s media.

Donald Rumsfeld ranted about the focus of the media on the chaos and lawlessness in some of Iraq’s cities,

“I picked up a newspaper today and I couldn’t believe it,” he said. “I read eight headlines that talked about chaos, violence, unrest. And it just was Henny Penny – ‘The sky is falling’. I’ve never seen anything like it! And here is a country that’s being liberated, here are people who are going from being repressed and held under the thumb of a vicious dictator, and they’re free.”

but failed to mention how well the media had cooperated just a couple of days previously by repeatedly showing the fall of a statue of Saddam Hussein in Baghdad.

I heard a report on Dutch TV yesterday from a reporter in Iraq who had visited many parts of the country away from the capital. He reported that in the rest of the country the statues and portraits of the ‘great leader’ remain intact, and the statue whose demolition was broadcast was in fact more or less the only one to suffer that fate. (Sorry – no link)

Downing Street apparently hit out at the BBC’s defence correspondent, Andrew Gilligan, who has a war diary on the BBC’s website.

“A spokesman for prime minister Tony Blair claimed that “in the main the anarchy and disorder is being directed against symbols of the regime”. Mr Gilligan hit back: “The reality is half the shopping district [in Baghdad] is now being looted. Downing Street may be saying it’s only regime targets that are being attacked. I’m afraid it isn’t.””

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New model for scientific publishing

Posted by Ed on April 10, 2003

In other news, scientists are becoming increasingly dissatisfied with the scientific publishing process. We do all the work preparing manuscripts (publicly funded), we review the manuscripts of others (publicly funded), we hand over the copyright for free and when the manuscripts are finally published, we have to pay to read them (publicly funded). The publishing companies, meanwhile, sit back and rake in the cash.
Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Science | 2 Comments »

The President’s Weird Men

Posted by Ed on April 8, 2003

The New Statesman has an excellent article on “The weird men behind George W Bush’s war”. The magazine does not provide free content unfortunately, but you can purchase 24 hrs access for $1.60.

I will try to summarise the article here (without infringeing copyright, of course).

You will have guessed by now that the article is about PNAC.
Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Politics | 1 Comment »

MP’s lose whip

Posted by Ed on April 7, 2003

Well it seems George Galloway and Tam Dalyell are to lose the whip by way of punishment for their errant behaviour (criticising the government – ok, they went quite far but its a democracy, right?). Those unfamiliar with the sometimes bizarre traditions of the UK Houses of Parliament may think this can only be a good thing, but in fact having the whip withdrawn is a severe warning, and is likely to be followed by suspension or expulsion from the Party. For a full explanation of whips, click here.
Read the rest of this entry »

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Raising awareness of PNAC

Posted by Ed on April 3, 2003

The other day I wrote to Robin Cook MP on the subject of PNAC and the war in Iraq, basically with the intention of raising public awareness of the goals of PNAC and their links to the Whitehouse. The following day I submitted a question to the BBC news director via the Guardian about PNAC.

Today I came across another blog bringing PNAC to light, so I thought I’d link to it. They also link to PNAC Watch, a blog dedicated to exposing PNAC.

Now to see if this Trackback thing works…

Posted in Politics | 1 Comment »

Lonely protester

Posted by Ed on April 3, 2003

Man holding a vigil outside the U.S. embassy in the Hague. The police were obviously on tenterhooks.


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BBC planning PNAC documentary

Posted by Ed on April 2, 2003

Today the Guardian had BBC news director Richard Sambrook in one of their ‘live talk’ sessions. I sent in the following question:

Mr Sambrook,

Why is the BBC not discussing the Project for the New American Century, the right-wing think tank driving US foreign policy? Its members have included/include Rumsfeld, Cheney, Wolfowitz, Jeb Bush and many others.

Regards, etc.

Actually, my question was slightly longer, as I also referred to my letter to Cook, but unfortunately it got cut. This was the answer I received:

We are planning a documentary on this in the near future.

Read the whole discussion here.

Posted in Politics | 2 Comments »

Wonder of internet proved again

Posted by Ed on April 1, 2003

Anyone not yet convinced of the marvels of the internet should check out this Guardian article (no, I don’t have shares in the Guardian):

‘Meanwhile it has emerged – as a result of detective work on the internet by a Guardian reader – that the explosion in a Baghdad market which killed more than 60 people last Friday was indeed caused by a cruise missile and not an Iraqi anti-aircraft rocket as the US has suggested.’

‘A metal fragment found at the scene by British journalist Robert Fisk carried various markings, including “MFR 96214 09”. This, our reader pointed out in an email, is a manufacturer’s identification number known as a “cage code”.’

‘Cage codes can be looked up on the internet (www.gidm.dlis.dla.mil), and keying in the number 96214 traces the fragment back to a plant in McKinney, Texas, owned by the Raytheon Company.’

‘Raytheon, whose headquarters are in Lexington, Massachusetts, aspires “to be the most admired defence and aerospace systems supplier through world-class people and technology”, according to its website (www.raytheon.com). It makes a vast array of military equipment, including the AGM-129 cruise missile which is launched from B-52 bombers.’

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