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..There's a little Samuel Pepys in all of us..

Friday, October 03, 2003

Random thoughts.. too much time staring at the pieces of one particular puzzle, those already on the table, to assimilate much of the new..
But still, to catch the eye is the disturbingly 'convicted' look in Geiorges eyes, as he defends the deposition of Saddam..
Tony shares the same line, but without the almost religious zealotry Goerige seems to be both exhuding, and inspiring..
'They're there.. we'll find them..'
'It's a matter of trust'..
More noise from the Korean's.. this time the South's President Roh Moo-hyun said that last thursday's announcement from Pyongayang, that they could and probably would be putting a nuclear bomb or two into production was "a bombshell announcement".
The irony'll hit you..
Interesting note here from Saudi Arabia.. an aides patient denied treatment at a clinic, and who was literally tossed into the street, was refused transport to a hospital where he would be treated, because the Red Crescent Society refused to help move the man because it did not transport Aids patients...

Sunday, September 28, 2003

It's that time of year again..
Charlie Kennedy and the LibDems have just finished a week of hail fellow well met and vitriolic commentary on the doings of the government and the Official Opposition.. not much new there.. Charlie's still leading that third string group..
But tomorrow, begins the Labour Annual Conference. In the run up, Tony's defended the war on Iraq.. saying it was right to invade and he has nothing to apologise for.. adding that his domestic policies are on track thanks very much, and effectively bugger the unions who say they're not.
Now this is not a traditional Labour stance.. in fact it's about as diametrically opposed to tradition as it can possibly be.. There are some who have now dubbed Tony's government as 'almost the working-man's Conservative Party'.. and they're not far off the mark.
Mind you, one topic Tony's managed to scrape past is Iraq, for while the war will be brought up, the issue will not be one brought to ballot..
Lucky Tony.
While Pierre Trudeau, long may he rot, is credited with the quote 'polls are for dogs'.. Tony's performance in the latest across the island show him in an exceeding bad position.. and with what's facing him on the home front, his political future is in sincere doubt.. for the polls show him slipping, slipping away.
It yet remains to be seen how Iain Duncan Smith, the Conservative leader for those not intimate with UK politics, will fare at his conference, but he'll be doing his utmost no doubt, to keep Charlie and his LibDems firmly in the background, while aiming for if not the PM's position, at least a firmer hold on the role of his party as the Opposition..
Good luck Iain..
This country's in the grip of political confusion, for the simple reason there doesn't seem to be a viable choice for leadership. Those in the States will understand perfectly.
Asked if there was anything he would have done differently in relation to Iraq, Mr Blair replied.. "Nothing. I would have done exactly the same. We did the right thing in removing Saddam Hussein. The world is a safer place without him. And I don't think we have anything to apologise for as a country. Our soldiers did a magnificent job."
Tony insists the world knew "perfectly well" Saddam had.. has weapons and programmes...and that British troops would stay in Iraq "until we get the job done".. mind you he didn't think it would be as long as five years...
Realistically, it could be six, or seven, or more..
Ahh.. but where politics fade into insignificance down at the pub, is legislation pending that will ban smoking in all public places.. even in your car..
This has the populace agitated.. for especially in this small rebellious country, this Scotland, the average man loathes enforced morality..
The SNP is smiling..

Wednesday, September 24, 2003

Ahh.. to what lengths will we go..
To allow freedom to any, means it must be allowed to those we fear.. and thus we all must see our freedoms diminish, so the asocial can be constrained, without appearing discriminated against..
There is an investigation ongoing in Britain.. Operation Ore.. It's designed to expose and prosecute those involved in internet paedophilia.. On the surface, any effort to protect children is to be applauded, as indeed this police action is designed to do. And what's more, there have been some convictions, among the hundreds of charges laid, and literally thousands of names investigated.
But among some of those investigated, are those who have had nothing to do with paedophilia whatsoever. Many of those who's names appeared on a list provided by the United States, date back to 1997, when credit card fraud on the net was a far easier proposition.. It's a slow process eliminating the wheat from the chaff, but it grinds on in defence of our children. Thus, it must be endured.
But here we have an ISP, Microsoft, announcing that three weeks from today, there will be no chat facilities provided by them. Quite a move, in that while Microsoft chat has never been a personal favourite, it has drawn some million faithful hits per month from this island alone.. Microsoft has always been one of the more heavily moderated chats as well, with rules of conduct and language strictly enforced.. much the same with AOL..
Yet how quickly Microsoft can throw away this aspect of the purpose of the net, due to their inability to successfully 'control' it.
One has said for years there should be age restrictions placed on those in chat.. for the most part, those rooms which allow complete unmonitored chat have a code of conduct of their own.. those serious on discussion do not suffer fools, or infants gladly.. and those bent on sexual cyberplay will soon find themselves ignored..
One would have to think, that rather than a throwing of hands in the air, and knee-jerking towards the cancellation of a service, anyone really concerned with the future of the net, and those who use it, would instead direct their attention towards education of the youth of this, or any country, on the proper use of chat..
It's a shame, but in this age of faster than light technological advances, children must learn when they can be 'innocent', and when they must not.. yet it would seem we've come to the point wherein 'Cynicism 101' should be taught, along with maths and spelling..
Ahh.. and while on the topic of cynicism..
It's the winding down of the Hutton Inquiry.. there have been revelations, more revelations, resignations, and recriminations, but while we've all been better entertained than we could normally have expected by our news of late, we've not had much in the way of hard answers to any of the questions. Lord Hutton will publish his decisions, his report, in about a months time.
As to what comfort it might bring to the family of Dr. Kelly, or his colleagues, or the BBC, or Downing Street, or the MoD, or the British motk..
We'll see, for while the Inquiry might end today, the machinations set in place by the events leading to the very cause of it all have yet to finish running their courses..

Monday, September 22, 2003

Ahh the games, the intrigue, the everlasting conflict between the government and the BBC, at best hidden by a thin veneer of civility, or at least such has been customary. And the lengths both would go to, to discredit the other, is frankly nothing short of amazing for the locals along the bar. Sad shakes of the head, and a somewhat embarassed avoidance of the revelations from the Hutton Inquiry..
Interesting reading.. this diary for Alastair Campbell, former chief of spin for Tony, and according to some, the power behind the throne so to speak..
David Kelly was used. by both the BBC and our esteemed government, as a pawn in the battle for discreditation..
To quote Alastair's diary.. "it would fuck" BBC reporter Andrew Gilligan if Dr Kelly was the source, because he was not "a spy or full-time MoD official".
A sacrificial offering, so to speak, was Dr. Kelly.
While one is not, these days, as firm a believer in 'justice', one can only hope the right heads will roll.
'It's a matter of trust'.
Meanwhile.. Jacques and George seem to have reached some sort of agreement on what might be done with Iraq.. at least France will not veto an American backed Security Council resolution on the future of that country..
Yet still there, the war of attrition continues. Seems American troops just can't win these days. The job's never as simple as it was initially expected to be, and not only do they have to deal with the hostility of the Iraqi's who want occupying forces gone, there is also the vocal faction at home decrying what they're laying their lives on the line for.
Rock and a hard place ain't in it..
Ahh.. and economically.. while the G7 called for market forces to set exchange rates, the weak American dollar prompted a 109 point drop in the Dow.. There are concerns, ostensibly, that the state of the buck will throw off foreign invesment in the States.. something George was originally bent on resolving before September 11th two years ago..
However, with France's sudden agreement with the US on UN involvement, coupled with yesterday's news the Iraqi government was selling off state owned businesses.. excepting oil of course.. and was about to allow a foreign banking presence in the country, one might think that a drop of a hundred, is really nothing to be too concerned with..
It was either liberate Iraq.. or legalize marijuana..
All the governments vying for a place in the industrial regeneration of a country with money to burn, desperately need this business.. from an entirely fresh market..
Recall what was mentioned some months ago, when the rise in the value of the Euro was mentioned as cause for alarm...
"Currency wobblies have hit global markets hard, as a falling dollar and a rising yen and euro tend to impact crucial export activity," said Larry Wachtel at Prudential Securities...
Bechtel might be something to look into, if you had some spare cash lying around..

Sunday, September 21, 2003

Not been a particularly good weekend for Tony..
Snubbed by Gerhard and Jacques at a meeting designed to encourage UN support in the stabalization if Iraq.. still the lingering indigestion of Brent East..
But then it's not been good for many of the European leaders either..
Germany's as confused politically as ever, and Gerhard's Social Democrats suffered a defeat equally as humiliating as Labour, on a far grander scale in Bavaria.. the Bavarians apparently of the mind the conservative Christian Social Union can't do a worse job.. and have put them in power... For Gerhard, this follows heavy losses in Hesse and Lower Saxony back in February.. One wonders what directions Germany and France will take, when their economies, already unstable, begin to reflect the implications of all these new members into the EU, the injection of rampantly captalistic eastern Europeans, all wanting a piece of the pie..
Interesting points of note here..
China's refusing to float the value of the Yuan.. at least not yet.. There have been complaints for decades China's currency's vastly undervalued.. and while the Bank of China agrees, it's not yet ready to take the economic upheaval that would follow, with it's work worth what the market would pay anywhere else.. The G7's made oblique references.. China's smiling..
The war of attrition continues in Iraq.. with US troops taking most of the casualties.. only to be expected for as long as there is a western presence, armed, walking the streets of an eastern town or city.
What is interesting, is the speed with which the Iraqi council, has agreed to sell off all of the formerly state-owned industries.. other than those involved with the oil sector.. This opens the door for investors, wanting a share of the multi-billion dollar reconstruction process..
It'll be a gold rush.. watch the price of firms involved in construction.. telecommunications.. food importation and processing.. and banking..
Under new bank rules, six foreign banks will be allowed "fast-track" entry into the country and will be permitted full ownership of the local banks within five years...
The World Bank says it should have a better idea of Iraq's long-term financial needs by the end of this week..
Perhaps this approach will have more success. Open wallets create more smiles than armed occupational forces, and, as in any part of the world, create far more allies..
Welcome to the west..

Friday, September 19, 2003

A somewhat disturbing wakeup call for Tony yesterday..
There is a constituency, Brent East, which has for generations been staunchly Labour.. a guarranteed seat for what had traditionally been the 'working man's party'..
Even Maggie Thatcher, who during her time in office managed to sweep seats away from the opposition with ease, failed to take Brent East..
Labour lost Brent East yesterday, in a byelection necessitated by the death of the former Labour MP.. and not only did they lose, they watched 29% of their most faithful supporters, turn instead to the Liberal Democrats..
A sign to Tony, that the country is not happy. And while perhaps not ready to move completely to the other side of the coin and vote Tory, they obviously are looking for something other than that which Labour has become.
The LibDems are as close as you can get.
For those who have never heard the name before, the leader of the Liberal Democrats in Charles Kennedy. It's a name one might become more familliar with in a year or so..
'It's a matter of trust'.
Ahh.. and poor Jacques.. there are problems for France looming..
Recall the Ontario Provincial Government of Bob Rae.. the first NDP government in the province's history was a knee-jerk reaction to the mammother 28 year run of the Conservatives, ending with Bill Davis..
The NDP came to power, and began a policy of uncontrolled social spending, coupled with the detemination not to raise taxes. Two years they spent and spent.. while the triple-A credit rating Ontario had always enjoyed slipped.. and the provincial deficit soared..
France is in this position now.
The problem is this. One of the foundations of membership in the EU, and tied to it, the use of the single currency, is the stipulation the various governments do not allow their deficit to exceed 3% of the GNP.. France's deficit is now over 4%, and it would seem it will still climb before coming down.
What a predicament.. is France now going to be put on probationary status within the hegemony it has dedicated itself to forming? And what does this bode for the future of the Euro, when France's economy cannot itself support it's use..

Thursday, September 18, 2003

In the interest of keeping the public informed..
There were 2,200 Americans injured by toilets during the single year 1996..
That equals the shark attacks on humans since such records first appear, back in 1580.
Now there's food for thought.
Ahh.. the sad nods of those along the pub rail says volumes.. the 'sad nod' being the step beyond the 'finger alongside the nose and the knowing look'..
It was a terrible performance from George, when questioned about Saddam's alleged connection with al Q'aeda and the bombings of 911 two years ago..
With the look of a rabbit caught in the sudden glare of headlights, he lost composure, appeared flustered, babbled for a moment about 'the guy who ordered the assassination of an American diplomat.. that, by the way a reference to a Jordanian Islamic zealot, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi who's the leader of 'Ansar al-Islam', a terrorist group in Northern Iraq..
George ended the line of questioning with a defensively scornful assertion that of course, it was obvious Saddam had ties to terrorism..
Not his best performance.. Mind you he had a flight booked to get away from Washington.. and what Isabel might do to his shrubberies might have been on his mind..
And of course Tony's part in all of this is still being examined, if by proxy through the cross-examination of more of his MoD people at the Hutton Inquiry.. As this investigation progresses it is becoming apparent to even the dimmest intellect in this country, that what the government does, is often without the knowledge of the government..
It's a feeding frenzy of denouement, and reads better than Ian Fleming..
But, here is the point. What this government has done, what the American government has done, is nothing that any other has either done in the past, or has certainly had the power to do in the past. It's not the machinations of governments that have suddenly changed, become devious and twisted, for so have they always been..
It is we who have changed. We ourselves who now, privy to more and more of the pieces of the puzzle, demand public involvement in areas the public, in reality, should not even be concerned with.
We elect a government to represent us, investing in that government the power to act internationally on our behalf, because we know the common man is not equipped to deal with matters of diplomacy, foreign policy, international economics..
The common man is far too busy dealing with daily life itself, and that is as it should be..
There are many these days who have far too much time on their hands.. and while historically, the 'silent majority' has always been a ponderous presence politically, it has been silent.. Governments could go about their business, sordid or laudable, without having to really concern themselves with what the public might think until the next election approached...
Now, the masses who sit at home, who hithertofore have been stuck in a screen with their favourite soap surrogates, have this medium at their disposal.. and many of them express opinions, perhaps for the first time in their lives.
It's a development that no government is prepared for.. and truth be told it's going to be a struggle to make sense out of the noise coming from what might now be called the 'sedentary' majority..
For while they still may occupy couch space.. they now can communicate.
And they are demanding and consuming information.. faster than they used to go through a bag of Frito's..
A good thing, this superfluity of information? This new 'open administration' style of government people are looking for?
One must be carefull for what one wishes..

Monday, September 15, 2003

Ahh.. what a new day Tony ushered in, with this alignment with the political goals of the West, and the alienation of those of the New World Order emerging in Europe..
Not only has the international situation solidified, not entirely to Tony's benefit, but the national picture is one which must be seen with some alarm in No.10.
The Hutton Inquiry has continued today, with a witness appearing in public, who's very identity would have been a closely guarded secret two years ago. Sir Richard Dearlove is the head of MI6, and the gist of his testimony was that the intelligence suggesting Iraq was capable of launching weapons of mass destruction within 45 minutes was reliable...
He also said it was a 'case-scenario'.. and had been given far too much prominence.
This is turning into two 'trials', this Inquiry...
Both Downing Street, and the BBC, have much to answer for..
Internationally.. the dance continues.. with the focus off the economies of the world, and squarely on the Middle East.. economic policies have been somewhat lost in the dust..
Significant is the collapse of the World Trade Talks.. the main issue being the subsidies the wealthy countries provide their farmers..
Significant, because it puts a perspective on the promises of world economic growth, specifically on those who make such promises. The EU is no more going to cut it's agricultural subsidies for the benefit of say Nigeria, than it would celebrate Sweden's weekend vote.
Just not to mutual benefit.. Integral word being mutual.

Friday, September 12, 2003

There are problems in this country in particular, when presented with the necessity of taking on the powers that be...
The police.. the courts.. the media.. the division among one's own colleagues as to one's 'guilt' or 'innocence'.. the 'yellowing' that attaches itself regardless of the outcome of such a rigorous rotorooting of one's professional and personal history..
We've all done something, at sometime, we wish we'd never done.
The cost of September 11th 2001 is still being counted, for it indeed set in motion a series of events which those meagre terrorists could never have imagined in their wildest dreams.
The Homeland Security Act.
The Whitehall Witch Hunt.
The loss of confidence in, and credibility of, the two most powerful Western nations..
And the spreading of an already thin economy over half the globe, in payments for the maintenance of a military presence to combat what is essentially a religious movement. Granted, an extremist religious movement, but when it comes to the wanton killing of innocents, those who have habitually followed the doctrine of Manifest Destiny find it exceedingly difficult to back away without seeming to be abandoning the foundation upon which their own country(ies) are built.
The Chinese would say, losing face.
Interesting to note, the Chinese have spent billions of £'s over the past few days, on the latest in military hardware..
Good to have the money coming in, with most going to the US suppliers, and the lions share of the rest to the UK..
Also of note, the assassination of Sweden's Anna Lindh. The country votes on entry into the common currency Sunday.. It's a very important movement towards the consolidation of Jaques 'United States of Europe'..
Anna Lindh was considered to be one of those who were the future of Swedish politics, and an outspoken advocate of adopting the Euro..
What is interesting now, is even the Swedes, who have almost vehemently prided themselves on their open society, have reacted with comments the likes of 'it's naive in this day to be as prominent as Anna was, and walk about a department store without a bodyguard'..
For interests sake, those who can be bothered, there are startling comparisons to be made reading either Constantinian Roman historic accounts, or Gibbons..
A final note.
This debacle in Anglo/American Intelligence has had trmendous impact on the lives of many who have worked, always anonymous, in the back rooms.. There has been a tradition, set from the times even as far back as the Napoleonic Wars, that has been tossed off with contumely by this government, or with this government's assent through it's servants.
Families have been separated, allegations made, reputations smeared by inference...
Some, others less publicized than Dr.Kelly, have taken their lives rather than face the prospect of having to prove innocence in a system which normally would have to prove guilt.
Reprehensible, is too light a word.
A reckoning will have to be reached...
'It's a matter of trust'.

Thursday, September 11, 2003

Two years ago today, at this hour, the world was progressing in it's natural order, as it had become over the past decade or so .. In North America people read, and watched the problems worldwide develop as indeed they had since the advent of saturation news coverage..
Suicide bombings in Israel.. Israeli reprisals on the West Bank.. threats of global terrorism from some radical Islamic group or another.. nothing new..
Problems, issues, that while certainly concerns, were not something that touched one's personal life. Or your neighbours.
People, at this hour, were still rising, making their coffees, standing in showers, sitting on commuter trains or subways as they made their way towards the same desk they'd sat at yesterday, and the day before..
Here, we had just begun discussions, oddly enough, which would have direct bearing on what would happen in the immediate months ahead, and which indeed are still ongoing today.. It was just about the time someone mentioned a lunch break might be in order, at 1:25 in fact.. that we began recieving frenzied reports.. we thought it a joke to begin with.. that someone had flown a highjacked plane into the North Tower of the WTC in New York..
We all knew people in that building..
Then, as more and more information flooded us.. at 2:03 we began hearing of a second aircraft, this time flying into the South Tower.. then 37 minutes later a third, crashing into the Pentagon..
The Intelligence community reacted as though an Al Hussein missile had been the driving force behind an enema.. Think-tanks were convened.. scenario's presented on the run.. the usual suspects dragged in for whatever information might be scraped..
As this quiet panic directed most, as though by instinct, through the machinations, we watched, an hour after the first 767 slammed into the South Tower, the entire structure collapse. A moment later, while we still stood shocked by the first spectacle, the North Tower followed.
It is vivid in memory, the sight of the building, the people leaping from windows, the utter amazement that such a thing could be contemplated, let alone planned and carried out..
The shocks of that collapse reverberate even unto today..
The British ISC released it's report on the government's handling of intelligence today..
One of the ripples of 911, still damaging two years after the fact..

Monday, September 08, 2003

Parliament has begun it's fresh session, with the standard rhetoric from the standard actors..
However for Tony, these next few weeks will be the making or breaking of himself, and his Party...
It must be odd, for those not intimate with this island, it's peoples, and the standards set both for those who lead, and for those who follow, to understand the gravity of the situation this Labour government finds itself hip deep in. In throwing in our lot with the Americans once again, Tony was doing what any Prime Minister since the First World War would have done, and while certainly there were and still are those vehement in their opposition to 'modern colonialism', the country, as a whole, resigns itself to following what is inevidably found to be a just cause.
For we are a 'just' peoples, on the whole. Well used to standing up to oppression and tyranny, equally adept in recognising when we ourselves are behind opression, and in support of tyranny, and attempting reparations.
Gods know Britain has been doing it for centuries..
War is not a stranger. Governments leading us into war is not unusual.
But today, in this Britain, as throughout our history, the people do not like to have the piss taken...
We can be as patriotic as the next fool, but it had better be justifyable in the end..
'A matter of trust'.
Much has passed since last one had opportunity to sit, undisturbed or unsupervised, and merely write.. sequestration is a dreadful bore when all's said and done..
The end of the first stage of the Hutton Inquiry at an end.. now Lord Hutton's tapping the buiscuit, watching for the weevils to emerge.. It has been demonstrated adequately, one would think, that this country's ability to inspire trust in those it farms out information to, is somewhat lacking.
But then Tony knew it would come down to this, ages ago. It was a calculated toss of the dice..
An opportnity to demonstrate solidarity with an injured superpower, while seemingly doing Jaques and his New Holy Parisian Empire in the eye, would seem now to be more of a millstone around the government's neck..
More troops to be sent off to Iraq.. an announcement in just over an hour which should have some 80 thousand or so more British uniforms running about the desert sands.. so to speak..
And George, asking for $87billion US.. to help rebuild Iraq..
Now, if only it could be determined how best to get the Iraqi's to accept the help, without shoving their faces in their own squalor.
Ahh well.. we'll see what the pub philosophers have to say..
And if all else fails.. the nation can lose itself in Test Match cricket..
One note.
John Scarlett will be recalled for cross examination at the Hutton Inquiry.. this could lead to the recall of Geoff Hoon, and perhaps of Tony himself..
It would be short odds, against Hutton wishing he had the power to subpoena some of the key American actors in this drama..

Friday, August 29, 2003

Tony, it must be said, handled himself well during the testimony he gave yesterday at the Hutton Inquiry. Not to be unexpected, considering the man is a barrister, and had already been offered a clear field by the sacrificial blocks offered by Geoff Hoon, and Alastair Campbell.
But those who watched the Prime Minister as he spoke, made mental note of the occasional pause, the fleeting looks to above, when certain issues were raised, the likes of his involvement with the release of Dr.Kelly's name to the media, and his assessment of the '45 minute attack' capability intelligence suggested Saddam posessed..
The media here agrees Tony's staked his political carreer on the outcome of this Inquiry..The Telegraph' noted that Tony 'took the honourable way' is accepting the buck stopped on his desk when it came to the nameing of David Kelly..
But the Times noted Tony had, at times, a 'cold and unfeeling' attitude, as though this entire scenario, emotions and gestures included, had been practiced..
'It's a matter of trust..' in Tony's words..
What's is perhaps being overlooked in all the high profile testimony and the excitement over this rare glimpse into the grey world of Whitehall, is the fact that what has emerged from this inquiry so far, is a picture of a government where key decisions have been made by groups of friends, without official notes being taken.
A government in which even a Cabinet Minister was cut out of the loop when information of the utmost importance was being 'spun'..
A government of cronies, the antithesis of what 'New Labour' proclaimed itself to be when Tony swept into power..
The star witnesse so far has not been Tony, but Geoff Hoon. His admissions will have reverberations for years. Another was John Scarlett, who's Intel Services will be raked..
Tony's performance was polished, for the most part assured, and entirely contrived.. but then we expect that, even admire a good rendition, from those we choose to govern us..
Ahh.. as a post script. Interesting the Globe and Mail, in it's morning edition, makes the claim that Dr. Kelly was a suicide..
To quote..
"Dr. Kelly, a soft-spoken scientist unaccustomed to the public glare, slit his wrist after he had appeared before two parliamentary inquiries and had been covertly identified by Ministry of Defence press officers as the mole behind the BBC stories..."
A tad presumptuous, that.

Thursday, August 28, 2003

One mentioned previously.. a day for anniversaries.
The last time a British Prime Minister was called before a Parliamentary Investigation was nine years ago. At that time, John Major was asked to come along and answer some rather pointed questions for the Scott Inquiry, about the British role in clandestine sales of arms to, of all places, Iraq.
John was pushed to explain how embargo's so firmly set in place, could be so easily circumvented by arms dealers working out of the Home Counties..
It was not a pleasant experience, and not long after, Tony took over at No.10..
It's Tony's turn today.
As he himself said, 'it's a matter of trust'.
One is beginning to wonder at the clout the Hutton Inquiry itself might weild.. the questions and answers from those called so far, have been low-key, and dealing for the most part with the assignation of blame, for the pressure brought to bear on D. David Kelly, which may or may not to have led to what is being called his 'apparent suicide' some 7 weeks ago.. One wonders when some questions will arise, which will call for disclosure of someone else's name, and what that denoument might have for that, or those individuals involved...
Tony's under the gun.
But still, he and his have caused most of those who work, for what was thought to be the country's interests in the back rooms, to seriously consider the safety in being involved in thinktanks..
When the hand that feeds you, bites you..
We'll continue with this..
It was a hot, long summer in 1963.
President Kennedy was keeping the world awake with the serve-and-volley game with the USSR, people were still seriously looking at plans for back-yard bomb shelters, and we in Southwestern Ontario were aware that something was stirring in the States below us...
It was a decade of protests, and if one who was there was asked, perhaps they would say that this was the day, the very day, that the true American protest movement was born..
Martin Luther King, a name still not yet famous, had led a quarter of a million marchers on this day 40 years ago, to the steps of the Washington Monument, where he delivered the speech which follows..
A day for anniversaries..

"I am happy to join with you today in what will go down in history as the greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of our nation.
Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand, signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of captivity.
But 100 years later, we must face the tragic fact that the Negro is still not free. One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination. One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. One hundred years later, the Negro is still languishing in the corners of American society and finds himself an exile in his own land.
And so we've come here today to dramatize an appalling condition. In a sense we've come to our nation's capital to cash a cheque. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men would be guaranteed the inalienable rights of "Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.
It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check which has come back marked "insufficient funds." But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation. So we've come to cash this check - a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of justice. We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God's children.
It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment. This sweltering summer of the Negro's legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality. 1963 is not an end, but a beginning. Those who hope that the Negro needed to blow off steam and will now be content will have a rude awakening if the nation returns to business as usual.
There will be neither rest nor tranquillity in America until the Negro is granted his citizenship rights. The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges.
But there is something that I must say to my people, who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice: in the process of gaining our rightful place we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred. We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force.
The marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to distrust of all white people, for many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny. They have come to realize that their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom. We cannot walk alone. And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall march ahead. We cannot turn back.
Trials and tribulations
There are those who are asking the devotees of civil rights: "When will you be satisfied?" We can never be satisfied as long as the Negro is the victim of the unspeakable horrors of police brutality. We can never be satisfied as long as our bodies, heavy with the fatigue of travel, cannot gain lodging in the motels of the highways and the hotels of the cities. We cannot be satisfied as long as the Negro's basic mobility is from a smaller ghetto to a larger one. We can never be satisfied as long as our children are stripped of their selfhood and robbed of their dignity by signs stating "For Whites Only". We cannot be satisfied and we will not be satisfied as long as a Negro in Mississippi cannot vote and a Negro in New York believes he has nothing for which to vote. No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.
I am not unmindful that some of you have come here out of great trials and tribulations. Some of you have come fresh from narrow jail cells. Some of you have come from areas where your quest for freedom left you battered by the storms of persecution and staggered by the winds of police brutality. You have been the veterans of creative suffering. Continue to work with the faith that unearned suffering is redemptive.
Go back to Mississippi, go back to Alabama, go back to Georgia, go back to Louisiana, go back to the slums and ghettos of our northern cities, knowing that somehow this situation can and will be changed.
Let us not wallow in the valley of despair. I say to you today, my friends, that in spite of the difficulties and frustrations of the moment, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.
The dream
I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed - we hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.
I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave-owners will be able to sit down together at a table of brotherhood.
I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a desert state, sweltering with the heat of injustice and oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.
I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.
I have a dream today!
I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of interposition and nullification; one day right there in Alabama little black boys and little black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.
I have a dream today!
I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together.
This is our hope. This is the faith that I will go back to the South with. With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope.
With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.
This will be the day, this will be the day when all of God's children will be able to sing with a new meaning: "My country, 'tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my fathers died, land of the pilgrim's pride, from every mountainside, let freedom ring." And if America is to be a great nation, this must become true.
And so let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire.
Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York.
Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania!
Let freedom ring from the snow-capped Rockies of Colorado.
Let freedom ring from the curvaceous peaks of California.
But not only that.
Let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia.
Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee.
Let freedom ring from every hill and every molehill of Mississippi, from every mountainside, let freedom ring!
And when this happens, when we allow freedom to ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual: "Free at last! Free at last! thank God Almighty, we are free at last!"

Thursday, August 21, 2003

Interesting, as the people who each had their own small piece of the puzzle are brought together, to be asked a series of questions which will, if followed to it's end, reveal the entire picture, as only a very few have seen it..
Dr David Kelly told a UK diplomat he would probably be "found dead in the woods" if the UK invaded Iraq, the Hutton inquiry has heard...
David Broucher, the UK's permanent representative on the disarmament conference in Geneva, said the scientist made what at the time he regarded as a "throwaway remark" in February. It was only when he heard that Dr Kelly had been found dead in Oxfordshire woodland last month that Mr Broucher thought the comment might be more significant...
One might think that in truth, such a 'throwaway comment' would have taken on much more weight four weeks ago, but then Mr.Boucher also has his head, figuratively speaking, on the block..and might have well taken some time for sober thought before bringing it to light.
Some senior officials will without doubt, be looking for something to help them get a couple of hours of unbroken sleep these nights..

Monday, August 18, 2003

The Hutton Inquiry continues.. with Alastair Campbell offering to 'bite the bullet' for his Prime Minister.. but such an act might not be necissary.. Tony would appear to be in this that deeply, that even the symbolic seppuku of his media rep might not pull him back from the brink of political disaster..
This has been a subject of much sub rosa discussion among those who worked, if not with, then in the same capacity as Tom Kelly.. we all of us note the conditional 'apparent suicide' references every time our confrere's name is mentioned..
And today..Tony's most senior aide told intelligence chiefs their draft dossier failed to demonstrate "an imminent threat" from Iraqthat the comment, in an e-mail from Downing Street chief of staff Jonathan Powell, was written just one week before the controversial dossier on Iraqi weapons was published on 24 September last year...
'A matter of trust', were Tony's own words..
Other key points to emerge on the fifth day of Lord Hutton's inquiry into the death of government scientist Dr David Kelly were:
Documents showed it had been decided by 5 September to restructure the dossier "as per TB's discussion".. an apparent reference to the prime minister..
A Downing Street spokesman described the row with the BBC over the Iraq dossier as a "game of chicken"..
Mr Powell said Number 10 had not considered the pressure that Dr Kelly would face after he was named..
The head of the Ministry of Defence press office said it was the ministry which made the decision to confirm Dr Kelly's name..
Sir David Manning said BBC journalist Andrew Gilligan's report "was seen as a pretty direct attack on the integrity of the prime minister"..
Ahh what a tangled web we weave..
Once can't wait to put one's own small pieces of the puzzle on the table..
One also wonders at the cost, both already incurred, and those implied..

Wednesday, August 13, 2003

The weather's returning to what would be called normal for this time of year, and the Mediterranian ambiance of the pub has evaporated,.. still though the public house philosophers take this in stride..
The talk is centering about two distinct topics.. those being the surreptitious melding of church and state in both the UK and the US, and the depth to which the Hutton Inquiry will actually delve..
The former is a concern for all those in attendance, with thoughts of the Reformation.. Cromwellian Greycoats.. last call at 10:30..
A deep concern that such is happening here, but an even deeper concern with the trend in the US.
The Homeland Security Act has brought out images of Harry Anslinger, McCarthy, Hoover.. and while it would be an inconvenience for Britons to deal with Tony's proposals, there is no doubt if they grew to any proportion near concern, it would be dealt with. Oddly enough, Britons will not tolerate fools gladly, and will act when pushed far enough..
Different matter in the States though. Religion..'faith' perhaps would be a better word, has been a cornerstone of most of those who came into the melting pot.. 'faith' still has tremendous power in the States, far more than it does in timeworn and cynical Britain..
And the States, could in the aftermath of the Middle East, withdraw into a state of isolationism..
Britain stands on the razors edge here.. Politically and economically bound to the present terms of membership in the EU, and in the same situation with George..
As though being pulled in two directions wasn't enough.. Tony's got his own appearance before Lord Hutton to consider, and what his responses could mean in determining his political future... and the current level of trust he enjoys with the British public..
What Tony faces while in harness with George and bicxkering with Chirac, are matters which can be planned in terms of years.
What Tony faces in the next few weeks, is effectively Tony's Watergate..
There have been some 'wide decisions' made, as cant would have it here..
It was about this time of the morning, when most of Berlin slept, that East German troops went about the business of dividing the city, and building the Berlin Wall. There were some, on that night 42 years ago, who were kept awake, while the original six-foot barbed wire barrier was unrolled..
There are some awake tonight, as walls are quickly being erected in many minds, in many countries, as the Hutton Inquiry gets to the journalists tomorrow... the mental cacophony it's providing, and the segmenting it's effecting, could even outshadow the sound of jackboots..
Meanwhile, as the average Scot becomes accustomed to drinking al fresco at home, there appears to be a lassitude appropriate to the heat.
Some are thinking a decade or so ahead though, planning the new Costa del Saltcoats.. after all's said, if global warming's an inevidability, there might as well be some profit in it..

Monday, August 11, 2003

It was now that Dr Kelly began to feel uncomfortable.
Back in the office the following Monday, 30 June, Dr Kelly's colleagues were talking about the foreign affairs committee hearings. The turning point came when a colleague pointed to Mr Gilligan's claim that his source had said it was "30 per cent likely" that Iraq had a chemical weapons programme in the six months before the war, and that though it was "more likely" there were biological weapons, it would have been reduced "because you could not conceal a larger programme. The sanctions were actually quite effective; they did limit the programme." These were, the colleague noted, the precise phrases used by Dr Kelly in discussions with colleagues.
David Kelly realised the game was up. He confessed to his bosses that he might be the source for some of the information - but not all of it. And not the damaging detail on the "45-minute" claim. It was a high risk strategy, but being accused by someone else would have been worse. He might have been charged with violating the Official Secrets Act. His career was at risk. And so, possibly, a year from retirement, was his pension. They might prevent him from going to Iraq that weekend to join the Iraq Survey Group which was hunting for evidence of weapons of mass destruction.
Dr Kelly wrote that day, 30 June, to his immediate boss, and said he thought he might have been the source of some, but crucially not all, of the Gilligan story. His letter said he had met the BBC reporter whose description of his meeting with his source "in small part matches my interaction with him, especially my personal evaluation of Iraq's capability".
But that was all.
He wrote: "I can only conclude one of three things. Gilligan has considerably embellished my meeting with him; he has met with other individuals who truly were intimately associated with the dossier; or he has assembled comments from both multiple direct and indirect sources for his articles."
Almost as soon as the letter was received government ministers were briefed. Detailed discussions took place. On 4 July Dr Kelly was interviewed by his line manager and by Richard Hatfield, the personnel director of the MoD. According to the MoD, Dr Kelly was told to go away for the weekend and "think over his options". He returned to work on 7 July, to more questioning. That day, the foreign affairs committee pronounced that Alastair Campbell was not guilty of "sexing-up" the dossier.
Dr Kelly was told he would have to appear before the Commons Intelligence and Security Committee to discuss his meeting with Mr Gilligan. The meeting would be in camera and Dr Kelly was promised anonymity. But the MoD broke that understanding. Exactly who did is unclear. Lord Hutton will be quizzing, on that subject, Alastair Campbell, Geoff Hoon, Sir Kevin Tebbit, the MoD's most senior civil servant, Richard Hatfield, its personnel chief, and Pam Teare, its head of news. But whoever made the decision, what is clear is that the MoD fixed on a highly unusual strategy of agreeing to "confirm or deny" any guesses put to it by journalists.
On 8 July, Geoff Hoon wrote to Gavyn Davies, the chairman of the BBC, enclosing a statement which the MoD were going to issue that day saying that Mr Gilligan's mole had come forward. He was not to be named, but he was not a senior intelligence source nor was he involved in the preparation of the dossier, as the BBC had claimed. Mr Hoon offered to tell Mr Davies the name "in confidence, on the basis that you would then immediately confirm or deny that this is indeed Mr Gilligan's source". The BBC refused. The MoD issued the statement citing an anonymous official who believed he was Mr Gilligan's source for some of his report. The inference was that the rest was made up.
The emotional temperature rose higher. Tony Blair justified Downing Street's ferocious pursuit of the BBC on the grounds that Andrew Gilligan's allegations were just about "the most serious charge" anyone could level against a Prime Minister. On 9 July, Guto Harri, the BBC political correspondent, spoke of Tony Blair doing "some BBC-bashing."
That day the MoD personnel director wrote to Dr Kelly stating that his "behaviour had fallen well short of the standard he expected from a civil servant of his standing and experience", but that "it would not be appropriate to initiate formal disciplinary proceedings".
His punishment was to be different. The same day Downing Street and MoD officials began leaking details of Dr Kelly's career, designed to assist journalists to identify him. Twowere told Dr Kelly's name.
The pressure on Dr Kelly was growing. He was asked if he wanted to take his wife to Jersey, where a Foreign Office house would be made available. Dr Kelly declined.
On 10 July a number of newspapers named Dr David Kelly as the official behind the Gilligan story. They quoted government sources triumphantly insisting Dr Kelly was a middle-ranking official, not a "senior and credible source", and that he had no access to intelligence briefings - both claims are untrue. They said he had only provided some input for a background section on UN weapons inspections for the dossier, that he was not a member of the intelligence services, had not seen the key material relating to the "45-minute" claim, and was not in a position to know if Downing Street had wanted to "sex-up" the document.
The BBC countered that Dr Kelly was an "intelligence source" in the broadest sense because he knew a lot about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction and would have seen secret material. But the BBC still refused to confirm Dr Kelly as its source. That day Dr Kelly, who was holidaying in Cornwall, received a summons to appear before the foreign affairs and the intelligence and security select committees on 15 July.
His appearance at the foreign affairs committee was televised. There, he was read a transcript of the Susan Watts Newsnight interview and said: "I do not recognise those comments." Asked if he had had any conversations with Gavin Hewitt, he replied: "Not that I am aware of, no. I am pretty sure I have not." Questioned on whether he had been critical of Mr Campbell to Mr Gilligan he shifted uncomfortably in his seat and closed his eyes before saying: "I cannot recall using the name Campbell in that context, it does not sound like a thing that I would say."
At the end of the 176-question grilling the Labour-dominated committee concluded that Dr Kelly could not have been the BBC's main source. To many commentators Dr Kelly came across as uneasy and evasive; and we now know at least one of his answers was untrue.
The next day, 16 July, Dr Kelly gave evidence in private to the intelligence and security committee and then, friends and family have since revealed, went home to Oxfordshire, deeply upset and unhappy. Some reports said he felt he had been humiliated by the committee, others that he felt his MoD bosses had put him in an impossible position, others that he was uncomfortable at discrepancies in his testimony.
Something now seems to have snapped for David Kelly. Had he felt - or been told - his performance hadn't been good enough? Did he fear losing his job, or calculate that his family would do better financially if he died in service? Did he fear what Mr Gilligan might say when he reappeared before the foreign affairs committee that day? Might he have learned that the BBC had a tape of his conversation with Susan Watts?
Or might he have felt he had compromised his integrity? The Baha'i faith is strong on veracity; one of its scriptures says: "The individual must be educated to such a high degree that he would rather have his throat cut than tell a lie, or think it easier to be slashed with a sword or pierced with a spear than to utter calumny."
On the face of it everything seemed normal the next morning, 17 July. Dr Kelly, finished a report for the Foreign Office. And though he e-mailed a journalist on The New York Times and wrote of "dark actors" at work around him he sent up-beat e-mails to Alistair Hay, a fellow scientist, and Roger Kingdon. "Hopefully it will soon pass and I can get to Baghdad and get on with the real job," he wrote to Mr Hay. To Mr Kingdon, his co-religionist, he wrote: "I'm hopeful things will be calming down in a week or so and I'll be going back to Baghdad."
He never did. That afternoon at 3pm - almost the exact time Mr Gilligan was again before the foreign affairs committee - David Kelly left home, telling his wife he was going for a walk. He did not return.
Just before midnight his wife alerted the police, and the next morning, 18 July, at 9.20, police found his body at Harrowdown Hill, a few miles away from his home. A post-mortem found the cause of death was bleeding from wounds to his left wrist. The fact that several incisions had been made - and that his watch appeared to have been removed whilst blood was already flowing, together with the removal of his spectacles - suggested suicide, experts said.
Not everyone agreed. Some doctors pointed out that slashing one wrist was an unreliable method of suicide. The fact that four electrocardiogram electrode pads were found on his chest aroused some people to suggestions of murder, though cardiologists said, most likely, Dr Kelly had earlier been wearing a portable monitor to diagnose a possible heart problem.
Two days later, on 20 July, the story took a new twist. The BBC acknowledged that Dr Kelly had been the primary source of its reportr. Andrew Gilligan came under renewed fire. Even if it was true, as seemed clear from the supporting evidence of Susan Watts and Gavin Hewitt that Dr Kelly had strong views about the "45-minute" claim, Mr Gilligan had gone further. He had quoted his source as asserting that "the Government probably knew that the 45 minute figure was wrong even before it decided to put it in". Critics pronounced that "sexed-up" was a phrase more to the taste of Andrew Gilligan than David Kelly.
Mr Gilligan was further damned a week later by a leak of the unpublished transcript of evidence he had given to the foreign affairs committee on his second appearance, after which he had been publicly criticised by Donald Anderson, the chairman. It purported to show that Mr Gilligan had admitted that Dr Kelly had not actually said Mr Campbell had inserted the "45-minutes" claim, but that Mr Gilligan had "inferred" it from their conversation. Mr Gilligan denied this was what he had meant, but it seemed the pressure had now shifted primarily onto the BBC.
Yet the twists were not over. News then broke that Susan Watts' conversation with Dr Kelly had been recorded. Richard Sambrook, the corporation's director of news, was said to have smiled broadly after listening to it. Some insiders said Dr Kelly mentioned Mr Campbell there too. The BBC has refused to say, but has passed the tape to Lord Hutton. Then came an admission from the Ministry of Defence that documents relating to the Government's media strategy on Dr Kelly had almost been incinerated. Unofficial reports suggested the MoD police had been called by a security guard after a senior official was discovered hurriedly shredding material. To cap it all, on the eve of David Kelly's funeral, came the tasteless and preposterous attempt by a senior No 10 official, to suggest that Dr Kelly, the Government's foremost expert on chemical and biological weapons, was a "Walter Mitty" style fantasist.
Yesterday there was yet another turn. It was reported that a two weeks ago, before Dr Kelly's apparent suicide - Sir Kevin Tebbit, the permanent secretary at the Ministry of Defence, described the man as "eccentric and unreliable."
He even went so far as to circle the side of his head, a gesture suggesting madness. And he did so at a private dinner with James Robbins, the BBC's diplomatic editor.
The Hutton inquiry takes its first evidence today.
We'll see what remains, when the dust clears... for after all,
'It's a matter of trust'.
Almost a year has passed since Tony’s government issued its first fateful dossier on Iraq's WMD.. Now this was not what became known as the "dodgy dossier"..that one came later.
But, as it happened, the controversy surrounding the first dossier on the threat from Saddam was far more grave, and would be the one with the most far-reaching consiquences.
Dr David Kelly, a former Porton Down scientist and UN weapons inspector in Iraq, was among those involved in compiling it.. having worked for the MoD as an expert on biological warfare for the past four years.
The dossier was published on 24 September 2002... containing the portentous warning that Saddam Hussein had chemical or biological weapons ready to use within 45 minutes of the order being given.
We now know, and in fact those who had worked with Dr. Kelly knew then, that David Kelly was expressing reservations about this core claim. We know this, even before the Hutton Inquiry takes its first evidence today.. because since Dr Kelly's body was found near his Oxfordshire home on 18 July a stream of intriguing new details have emerged.
In October 2002, Dr Kelly gave a slide show and lecture about his experiences as a weapons inspector in Iraq to a small almost private gathering of the Baha'i faith... Dr Kelly had converted to the religion three years earlier, while in New York on attachment to the UN. When he returned to England he became treasurer of the small but influential Baha'i branch in Abingdon near his home.
Roger Kingdon, a member, recalls: "He had no doubt that [the Iraqis] had biological and chemical weapons. It was clear that David Kelly was largely happy with the material in the dossier, but he was not so happy with how the material had been interpreted."
Several months later - the date is unclear - Dr Kelly bumped into Geoff Hoon, the Secretary of State and confronted him, a meeting which the politician later claimed to forget.
Exactly what was said will probably never be known. But conversations between Dr Kelly and his friend, Tom Mangold, the television journalist, suggest that while he was broadly supportive of the document's content he was sceptical of the "45-minutes" claim.
"We laughed about that," Mr Mangold said later. "He reminded me it would take the most efficient handlers at least 45 minutes just to pour the chemicals or load the biological agents into the warheads." A precise man, Dr Kelly was irritated by inaccuracy; he believed the dossier exaggerated intelligence for effect.
He said as much on 7 May when he spoke by telephone to Susan Watts, the science editor of BBC2's Newsnight - a conversation which, though he did not know it, she wasrecording. And Dr Kelly voiced the same reservations, it is claimed, when the pivotal meeting in the whole sorry affair occurred - with Andrew Gilligan, the defence correspondent of the Today programme, two weeks later on 22 May.
Seven days after that, on 29 May, Mr Gilligan told the Radio 4 audience, "one of the senior officials in charge of drawing up the September dossier said the Government probably knew the 45-minute figure was wrong even before it decided to put it in". He quoted him as saying: "Downing Street, a week before publication, ordered it to be sexed-up, to be made more exciting and ordered more facts to be discovered".
The intelligence services were unhappy because the end product did not reflect their considered view.
Later that day another reporter became involved. Gavin Hewitt, working for BBC1's News at Ten O'Clock, rang Dr Kelly in an attempt to substantiate Mr Gilligan's story. Hewitt did not realise he was speaking to Mr Gilligan's source.
Mr Hewitt that night broadcast..
"In the final week before publication some material was taken out and some put in. Some spin from No 10 did come into play." But he also added: "Even so the intelligence community remains convinced weapons of mass destruction will be found in Iraq."
Two days later Susan Watts phoned Dr Kelly again and discussed the "45-minutes" claim. That Sunday, 1 June, Mr Gilligan wrote a piece in The Mail on Sunday in which he went further than on radio. He said the man responsible for the exaggeration was Alastair Campbell, the Government's director of communications and strategy.
The next night Susan Watts was on Newsnight again. She told viewers she had spoken to a senior official intimately involved with the process of pulling together the dossier. She said: "Our source made clear that in the run-up to publishing the dossier the Government was obsessed with finding intelligence on immediate Iraq threats, and the Government's insistence that the Iraqi threat was 'imminent' was a Downing Street interpretation of intelligence conclusions."
She quoted the source as saying: "While we were agreed on the potential Iraqi threat in the future there was less agreement about the threat the Iraqis posed at the moment. That was the real concern, not so much what they had now but what they would have in the future, but that unfortunately was not expressed strongly in the dossier because that takes the case away for war to a certain extent."
Of the "45-minute" claim, the source added: "It was a statement that was made and it just got out of all proportion. They were desperate for information, they were pushing hard for information that could be released. That was one that popped up and it was seized on, and it is unfortunate that it was. That is why there is the argument between the Intelligence Services and No 10, because they picked up on it, and once they had picked up on it you cannot pull it back from them."
Looking back there is an interesting additional element. Though the Government issued a rebuttal to Mr Gilligan's original report, that was all. About a week later Tony and Alastair Campbell had dinner with BBC executives, including the editor of Today. They discussed various things, but not the Gilligan affair. The Government, it appeared, became angry in retrospect - on the day of Alastair Campbell's appearance before the Commons Foreign Affairs Select Committee.
A fortnight later, on 19 June, Andrew Gilligan gave evidence to the foreign affairs committee. He maintained his line and refused to name his source. The next week, on 25 June, Mr Campbell appeared before the same MPs. He admitted he had been intimately involved in the dossier's presentation, suggesting amendments to the Joint Intelligence Committee - he had even chaired some meetings. But he denied adding material to the dossier. He upped the stakes by demanding an apology from the BBC…
Interesting, said Alice..

Sunday, August 10, 2003

The Hutton Inquiry begins tomorrow morning.
Today, figures have been published, showing the results of a poll that for the first time on seven or more years, have the Tories leadering Labour in popularity.
34 percent of those questioned, believe Tony should resign, and the media seems to be lining up against him..
A senior BBC journalist was told that Tony Blair was "involved" in sending the September Iraq dossier back to the Joint Intelligence Committee to harden up its content. The source of the report is understood not to have been Dr. David Kelly.
The likely existence of an additional intelligence source for the BBC's reports on the disputed Iraq weapons dossier is somewhat convenient.. coming as the Government fights a rearguard action to regain public trust on the eve of the Hutton inquiry.
Andrew Gilligan, the defence correspondent whose 29 May report on Radio 4's Today programme sparked the BBC's ongoing row with Alastair Campbell, Downing Street's director of communications, is to give evidence on Tuesday. He will be followed by Susan Watts, the BBC's science correspondent who has kept a tape recording of her conversation with Dr Kelly, in which he is said to mention Mr Campbell, and special correspondent Gavin Hewitt... News that a fourth BBC journalist, the diplomatic correspondent Barnaby Mason, had direct contact with a source who underlined the intelligence community's concerns about the Government's use of information on Iraq's alleged WMD programme in the run-up to war strengthens the corporation's hand.
Now.. while all this is going to be going on for quite a while, and quite a number of hands are going to be slapped, the fact remains a man who had, for his entire life, put his trust in his government and his employers, has been removed from the scene, and there are many who still think of the 'dark actors' Dr. Kelly referred to..

Britons have always been travellers. A race who's leasure time has always been spent elsewhere, whenever possible..
It's been an interesting week down at the pub, with our compliant host investing in some patio furniture, so that we regulars can sit in relative comfort while we dissect the world, it's problems, and how our local economy might benefit from a few years of this weather.. 100F for the first time since records have been kept.. only some 130 years or so, but still..
Benedorm without the noise, and with a superfluity of golf courses.. never anywhere on the island more than a couple of hours from the sea..
And we, in this small village, are not alone in our deliberations, or in our choice of forum.. an extra three million pints of beer are expected to be have been downed across Britain over the weekend.

There are currently no water shortages.

Monday, August 04, 2003

Rail delays are to be expected over the next few days across this island, as unprepared for the coming heat as for last winters snow, authorities have decided there's a chance rails could buckle if the trains run at their normal speed..Steve Hounsham of Transport 2000 questioned why the rail network could not cope with "what is, after all, a relatively mild climate".
But Caroline Jones, a spokeswoman for the Rail Passengers Council, said Network Rail could not be criticised for such a safety move.. as long as it did its best to inform passengers...
So, say those who sit and smile in the pub, who never have to rely on British Rail, if you're train is slower, or simply isn't running at all, it's likely for your own good...
And the heat has spoiled many a holiday plan as well, with the Portuguese government declaring a 'State of Public Calamity', with fires burning unexpectedly all over the country. Same in France and Germany..
And nearly obscured by all this natural upheaval, is a news release.. in which Downing Street has distanced itself from a report leaked today, indicating the government saw weapons expert Dr David Kelly as a "Walter Mitty" character.
This was a comment on a story in the Independant, which quoted a "senior Whitehall source" saying Dr Kelly had misled the government and BBC reporter Andrew Gilligan over Iraq's weapons programmes.
While Downing Street fumbled between an initial denial and an eventual grudging revelation that indeed a source within the PM's Office had spoken to the newspaper, a 'spokesman' managed to issue a statement to the effect the previouisly mentioned leak was not to be considered an official government position, and that the remarks might be seen as somewhat out of context.
Paul Waugh, the Independent's deputy political editor, said he stood by his story...
The Hutton Inquiry sits again, in a week.. The problem facing Tony when he returns from holiday, is that aspects of this case will have already been tried in the court of public opinion..
'A matter of trust'.. indeed.

One must take one's chances when one may these days.
Noteworthy is the suicide of Chung Mon-hun, the now former chairman of Hyundai... he'd been implicated with dealings with North Korea before..
And the post in Britain could be disrupted, for the first time in seven years...The CWU has a vote set for it's 160 thousand members, and we could see rotating strikes over the next few weeks..
The focus is still Iraq though, from the pubs to parliament, those involved are marking time..
Never have so many been caused so much discomfort by so few..

Sunday, August 03, 2003

It's a startling move, to say the least..
Tony is to allow Christian organisations and other 'faith groups' a central role in policy-making.. a decisive break with British traditions that religion and government not mix...
Tony, who this weekend becomes the longest continually serving Labour Prime Minister in history, has set up a ministerial working group in the Home Office charged with injecting religious ideas 'across Whitehall'..
Now, this working group will be chaired by the Home Office Minister with responsibility for what is called 'civic renewal', Fiona Mactaggart. The members will include Estelle Morris, the former Education Secretary who is now the Arts Minister, and Christian organisations including the Evangelical Alliance. Known as the Faith Community Liaison Group, it will have an input into controversial policy areas such as faith schools, which are allowed to select their pupils on the basis of their beliefs, and religious discrimination.
There are problems with this, on too many levels to contemplate at one sitting..
It's not without surprise to write that there are those concerned that the Government will fall victim to unfavourable comparisons with the Republican administration in America, where George makes no secret of his religious faith and right-wing religious organisations have a powerful input into policy-making..
Some among the religious communities are calling it 'a blow to secularism' in Britain..
The government has denied reports of a rift with its intelligence chief over Iraq...
Yet as Tony's government continues to deal with the fallout from its use of intelligence in the lead up to war, it has been suggested that the head of MI6 could be retiring due to tension with Downing Street...
Sir Richard Dearlove, will stand down in August 2004, having completed five years in the post known as 'C'.
The Foreign Office confirmed the departure, but said it was normal practice for MI6 chiefs to spend about five years in the position...
It is government policy not to discuss MI6 internal operations, and a successor for Sir Dearlove has yet to be announced...but it's an interesting statement from Liberal Democrat foreign affairs spokesman Menzies Campbell.. that there was "considerable tension" between Downing Street and the intelligence agencies...but added that it "dates back long before the present controversy" over Iraq.
"In order to re-establish a proper relationship it is almost certainly necessary for the head of MI6 to go," he said.
"Sir Richard Dearlove, who has been a distinguished public servant, is taking the honourable way out."

Saturday, August 02, 2003

A milestone for Tony, and the Labour Party as a whole.
He has overtaken Clement Atlee's 6 years and 92 days, and has become the longest continuously serving Labour government leader. His weekly press conference indicates he wants himself seen as equally as innovative as Atlee was.. he wants history to look well upon him..
But Atlee took over from Churchill, immediately forming the first post-war administration..built housing for families emerging from the rubble of the war, formed the NHS, and introduced the welfare state. There are few who would deny the man changed the face of Britain entirely.
And in many ways Tony Blair has followed in some of Wilson's footsteps. His critics would say most particularly in his move away from traditional, core Labour values.
But Tony clearly hopes he has avoided the failings of the Wilson and, later, Callaghan governments.
Their reputation for economic incompetence hung over Labour probably from the moment Wilson devalued sterling and started talking about the "pound in your pocket and purse".
But, as he marks this point in Labour history, he knows he is facing challenges which could yet spell disaster...his government is being battered on all sides, not only on foreign policy - particularly the war on Iraq - but also on domestic issues such as foundation hospitals and student finance...
His own personal popularity is taking a major battering over spin and the issue of trust..
It seems increasingly clear that the prime minister believes if he is to achieve anything like the transformation of Britain wrought by Attlee, he will need a third full term.. .
These next few months will surely determine whether or not he will get the chance to do so.
Point of interest. The MoD's denying it really meant a dossier of Dr. Kelly's work to be among a batch slated for incineration today..
The papers were noticed, and removed by a guard, who turned them over to his superiors..

The Hutton Inquiry has begun, and the gathering of information which it necessitates. A trying time for some..
Not the least of whom will be Tony, Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon, along with BBC journalist Andrew Gilligan..
Dr. Kelly's widow is also expected to appear..
While no firm timetable has yet been set, it's expected Lord Hutton will resume his seat on the 11th this month...
Odd, that it had not been previously mentioned, Dr. Kelly was found with 4 EEC pads stuck to his chest..
Herewith, those as released to date, who will be expected to speak their minds..

Tony Blair
Alastair Campbell
Geoff Hoon
BBC chairman Gavyn Davies
BBC defence correspondent Andrew Gilligan
BBC science correspondent Susan Watts
BBC news correspondent Gavin Hewitt
MoD officials
Donald Anderson MP
Ann Taylor MP
Dr Kelly's widow, Janice
Other relevant government officials..

That is the list, as officially released.

Friday, August 01, 2003

The Hutton Inquiry began this morning, with a minute of silence for Dr.David Kelly, and early morning calls for those who will be expected to testify before this court. Not that anyone can be forced to testify before this group, but those who will likely jump at their chance will no doubt include Alastair Campbell, Tony himself, and likely Geoff Hoon. Might even see the name Eliza Mannigham Buller crop up..
And there are a host, who are wondering just what, if anything, they can say, if called...
Meanwhile, seems George's boys have taken the ball in the media game, with David Kay, a weapons inspector and special advisor to the CIA, saying 'surprises' lie ahead. Iraqui scientists are still being debriefed.. and Senator Pat Roberts, the Republican chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said "I think in view of a lot of criticism, I would not be surprised if there is a surprise that would end up changing a lot of people's minds."
A short note referring to yesterday's observations on North Korea. South Korea today says the North will take part in 6-way talks aimed at nuclear disarmament, which ends Pyongyang's insistence it would only deal with the US on the matter.

Thursday, July 31, 2003

Ahh.. one more note..
The dance with North Korea continues.. a 'senior American official' has inssued a somewhat harsh statement on North Korea.. saying the country has accelerated it's nuclear weapons programs at the expense of the North Korean peoples, who are themselves living a 'hellish nightmare'..
John Bolton, an American arms negotiator, spoke either his heart, which makes one smile, or the Party Line yesterday, making some unusually personal remarks about North Korea's leader Kim Jong-il..
A 'tyrannical dictator' was perhaps the kindest ..
The comments appeared part of an on-going diplomatic stand-off over the North's nuclear ambitions, with neither side wishing to be seen to be weak ahead of expected talks...
However, the finger-along-the-nose crowd have been expressing some surprise, that the US would even bother to engage in what's apparently a pissing contest with Pyongyang...
Almost as though they're planning a crisis, from which each might withdraw claiming moral ascendancy, while allowing the western market further inroads into the orient..
A story of note from the US today, concerning plans George has for an 'International Earth Observation System'. Ostensibly, this network of sattelite observation posts would be in geosynchrinous orbits at determined sites above the globe, in order to collect and collate data on weather, climactic changes, environmental data..
Critics are saying this is merely another delaying tactic, with the US still not having met it's agreed levels of atmospheric emissions, but there is another angle to consider.
A system such as the one George's boys are presenting, would not only provide access to information on the condition of our atmosphere, but also on what's going on beneath it. Yet another eye in the sky, to feed the ever-widening maw of the 'information gatherers'.
The tin-foil hat brigade will doubtless emerge eventually.
A rare news conference from George yesterday.. reiterating his stance against terrorism in general and al Q'aeda specifically.. there are concerns this summer might bring them out of the wordwork again..
Time for the leaders to take a break though.. George off to herd some on his ranch in Texas..Tony off to Cliff Richard's villa in Barbados...
And many still wait throughout this island, for the beginning of an Inquiry that will end one set of problems, and certainly begin a new..

Wednesday, July 30, 2003

Not the best of days for Tony.. but then who's really been enjoying themselves recently..
An issue of trust. Tony faced a somewhat skeptical fifth estate this afternoon, trying his level best to give satisfactory non-answers to queries concerning the death of David Kelly, and the investigations currently underway involving members of the security service on all levels.
His repeated response was to allow the Hutton Inquiry to run it's course, before any liability is admitted to.
Tony's job is that much harder than George's, when all's said and done. While it seems Americans can be forgiving, in retrospect, to those Presidents who've led the country down the garden path...the British are much harsher, and after all, the whole purpose of this exercise was to guarantee Tony a place in the history books.
There's a somewhat large line between fame..and notoriety.
However, it is to be noted that Tony has led this country, often at odds with many, for longer than any other Labour Prime Minister in British history.. in just a couple of days time, he'll break Clement Atlee's record, having been in No.10 for 6 years and 92 days.
How time does fly.

Tuesday, July 29, 2003

Greece no less.
It was just some scant months ago, Greece came head to head with the British government over an issue involving 'planespotters', aero-enthusiasts, those who for whatever odd reason enjoy flitting about Europe to various air shows, identifying aircraft with the dedication of an orthithologist.
Greece accused some 30 Britons with espionage, for taking snaps of some Greek military craft, which flew at this event. Took months to resolve this idiocy.
Now, Greece, or top lawyers from that country, the Athens Bar Council as a matter of fact, have filed a lawsuit with the International Criminal Court, accusing Tony, Geoff Hoon, Foreign Secretary Jack Straw, and the recently retired Admiral Sir Michael Boyce of crimes against humanity, atrocities, and conducting an illegal war.
One will be interested to see how the ICC, a body with absolutely no weight whatsoever by the way, defines a 'legal war'...
But the point is, ridiculous as the attempt is, Greece is making a stance here, much as France did against George some months ago. One must wonder what benefit Greece will enjoy within the EEU, the 'new EEU', in adopting this role.
What has many a regular wondering, down at the pub, is once this massive expansion of the European Union is completed, and that's only some seven years away, how will this political behemoth conduct itself?
The EEU has evolved, mutated perhaps, from a true European Trade Union, into an all-embracing mega-state. From a group of countries with common economic, political, and in most cases ethnic background, to what will be an unweildy monster with a total population, tax base, of more than 500 million peoples, each within their own baliwick. More than 25 national languages to deal with. Cultural and ethnic diversity unseen since perhaps the Holy Roman Empire, all lumped together, and told to play nice.
The EU itself is not a viable concern, nor a matter for any great worry, for it will fall in on itself.
Now that fall, the nature of it, might be something to think about.

Sunday, July 27, 2003

While the charter of the BBC is not under any direct threat, it would appear the broadcaster is going to be the patsy in the David Kennly affair. Alastair Campbell, Tony's chief spin doctor, will likely feel the boot within a few weeks, once the Inquiry's under way.
What the government is as yet unsure of, and as a result is maintaining ridiculous pressures on those holding what could be damaging to their infrastructure, is what degree of faith those in the back room still have in this Parliament, and to what lengths they'll go to find a way back to normalcy. What the 'dark and sinister actors' are waiting to see, is what effect those actions they've taken already will have on those others, who like Kelly, are capable of putting the pieces of the puzzle together.
It becomes a contest of wills, and Tony's future, along with the reputations and in fact freedom of others, depends on the dedication of a few to maintain silence. To play for the side.
It had been hoped in Washington, that the much publicized deaths of Uday and Q'Say, would result in a diminution of attacks on US troops. Five killed and seven wounded since early yesterday.. it may well have to be taken into seious consideration, that even if the last of Saddam's faithful can be removed, American troops will continue to come under attack as long as they remain on Iraqi soil. Mind you, with the possibility of a mobile force heading to quell the Liberia problem, whatever government the US does manage to erect in Baghdad will still have the reasuring presence of George's boys in the area..
It was never thought to have been a quick process, this westernization of the world..

Thursday, July 24, 2003

One really must smile at times.
The government's in quiet turmoil these days, with Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon off to visit the widow of David Kelly yesterday, while in Parliament and Whitehall eveyone with a finger is pointing it at someone else.
This past weekend, it was Tony and his despicable government egging an academic to distraction with misinterpretation of his facts. Tony, Geoff, and Tony's spin doctor Alastair Campbell firmly in the media's sight... there was some villification left over for the Foreign Affairs Select Committee as well..
But as the week began, with the BBC admitting they'd used DR.Kelly as their principle source, it became the broadcaster that was the villain.
And the Judicial Enquiry's not even yet begun.
One must suspect, that in light many who have known David Kelly thinking his suicide is not quite in character, and the cryptic messages he sent out just an hour or less before his death, that there are still some sitting at their keyboards, where for years they've banged out reports to often faceless individuals throughout the government.. wondering if they too might be found, one wrist slashed, a couple of mild analgesics to hand, alone some woodland path.
That there are those, who knowing governments to be the animals they are, who simply wait, hoping the inquiry begins before they're totally destroyed.
Ahh well.. sic transit gloria mundi..
Meanwhile back on the ranch, Saddam's son's appear to have been dealt out of the game, and the war of attrition continues in Iraq..
One wonders how they'll work out the leave rotation, come Xmas..

Monday, July 21, 2003

It was 1969, and there weren't many people on the streets that evening, as most were watching Neil Armstrong stepping down the ladder of the lunar lander, making the first human footprints on the moon.. In retrospect, it was amazing we did so much so quickly.
One wonders why nothing further has been managed in the intervening 34 years..
Those who have worked for the government can only hope the Judicial Enquiry into the circumstances surrounding the death of David Kelly will bring to a halt to the current MoD witch hunt.. yet somehow, one doubts..
Whether the blame for this debacle falls on the shoulders of the Government, or the BBC, is to the intelligence community unimportant.
Lines have been crossed, and many believe firmly in the old saw, 'fool me once, shame on you.. fool me twice...'

Sunday, July 20, 2003

There are some who truely believe that working for one's government, is in effect working for those who elected it. That what is done in the name of National Security will be put to wholesome use, for the betterment of the whole. One finds an odd mixture of cynicism and blind commitment among those academics who toil in the back rooms.. well from their homes for the most part.. as they put the various pieces of the puzzle into some semblance of shape for those who make national policy..
There is an unworldliness that can overtake some who spend too much time staring at the macro..
Such overcame David Kelly. The information he gave to the BBC over a casual lunch, was no more to him than that. Simple information available to anyone who cared to seek it out.
The spin was journalism.
Yet, with David Kelly the pressure of being dragged before a Commons Select Committee, the internal questioning of an entirely ethical man as to whether he had actually said the words as they appeared in print, the thought of scandal and loss of not only public but self esteem, was evident.
So it is with many these days. Character assassination can be a very effective weapon, especially in the 'back rooms'
But, taking the man's character itself, the plans he had made, the discussions he left in mid-point, we must wonder what the police investigation will uncover, let alone what the judicial inquiry will find.
'Dark and sinister actors are at work' said Kelly before he died.
One takes an oath of secrecy when one works with Intelligence. When you've made that oath to those who you've come to distrust, and in some cases outright fear, how binding might it become?
We will see.

Saturday, July 19, 2003

One last note.
For those watching the machinations in Europe, it's Constitutional issue, the stance Britain has taken with the US, and Tony's continuing role in all of these..
Recall the names Alastair Campbell, Tony's communications chief.. and Geoff Hoon, the Defence Secretary.
One wonders who the American counterparts will be.
Watch as well for a shakeup in the depths of British intelligence...
Some interesting stories may well come to light, on the manner and disposition of intelligence reports, which for most will be only confirmation of the finger beside the nose made some months ago, but for some might bring to mind the debacles of the 60's...
One can only reiterate, that these are interesting times we live in..
Tony, at this point, must be wondering at the wisdom of throwing in so wholeheartedly with George on this Middle East move. It's not turned out quite as he'd planned at all.
As he sits in Japanese discussions, North Korea is crowing their ability to construct as many as 6 nuclear weapons from supplies they have at hand, and Pyongyang is inundating the populace with anti-western sentiment... there is a domestic crisis in full swing with the death of Dr. David Kelly, and the emergence of other government machinations aimed at those who recently worked for them... the stress is becoming obvious on the Prime Ministers face..
And George's next project, might well be just a few nautical miles away across the Sea of Japan..
Sending British troops into the far east will reawaken sentiments in the British collective memory of Burma, and inspire much the same feelings as VietNam does for an American. Whether Tony can afford to remain harnessed to George on this one is going to have to be a matter for some thought..
And whether Tony has any analysts still willing to tell him what they think, is yet another matter to ponder..
Yet each man kills the thing he loves
By each let this be heard,
Some do it with a bitter look,
Some with a flattering word,
The coward does it with a kiss,
The brave man with a sword!
One awaits, with great interest, the government reaction to the outcries for a public inquiry into the death of David Kelly.
For those who straddle the border between academia, analysis, and journalism, this death is of particular importance. It's significance lies in the reliability of one's own government, in one's own intelligence gathering systems, and the depths of one's own discretion.
It also demonstrates what pressures can be brought to bear by those who felt themselves 'let down'. While at this point, the Commons Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman, Donald Anderson, is saying the questioning aimed at Dr.Kelly led to criticisms aimed 'more at the MoD than himself'.. he cannot deny that at one point he admonished this esteemed academic that he was 'testifying before the Highest Parliamentary Court'.. a blatant mis-statement, aimed only at intimidation.
This government, if attempting to lay blame for this recent action in the Middle East, must not be allowed to hector those it employs to analyze the information itself provides.
But after all this, Oscar Wilde said it far more eloquently in the first few lines.

Friday, July 18, 2003

Perhaps the first sign of public wavering on the US government's 'commitment' to stabalizing Iraq today.. 34 American soldiers have been killed since the end of the war, so to speak, on MayDay.. total toll is 148 to this time, higher than the entire American human cost in 1991..
Therein a fundamental problem with American foreign policy. It can be agressive, but it doesn't like continuing damage. The public recalls VietNam in the US, with something akin to loathing and fear. The one incident in modern history, when the might of the American War Machine couldn't defeat 'foreigners'. It's a pill that still sticks in the collective craw.
Rapid change is what's called for, according to these advisors. But then, it's the insistence on immediate results, and concentration on the short term, that will eventually make this a black spot in American history.
It's the fast food, fast cars, fast wars, immediate success syndrome that will bring the States down.
Just as it's the patience and planning which involves decades of unfolding intrigue that will have the Middle East still the Middle East, long after the last Western soldier has gone home.
A note at the passing of Dr. David Kelly. A mid-eastern analyst for the Ministry of Defence, who after testifying at a Foreign Affairs Select Committee on Tuesday, was today found murdered near his home, in a small village in Oxfordshire.
Dr. Kelly had been at the center of the 'Iraq Dossier' controvercy, and had told the Committee he had not provided anyone with documents, suggesting a dossier on Iraq had been 'sexed-up'...
Evidently there remained some doubt in the minds of a few at Whitehall..

Thursday, July 17, 2003

It was a rousing speech from Tony, was the consensus down at the pub..
And perhaps it's as honest a statement as we'll get, and should perhaps expect, from a politician who's put his head in the noose.
One cannot deny, that even should there never be an ounce of what might have been a WMD found, it does not discount it simply being well hidden. One cannot deny Saddam was not really anyone's first choice for Iraqi leader and he is better off away. T'would be nice if the next Iraqi regeme was more inclined to favouring the west.. all true..
But, said Tony, he still believes these weapons will be discovered, and that their existence, or his conviction of their existence, was justification in itself for the actions taken.
That if history judges the removal of Saddam as an act based on false intelligence, then how much harsher would history judge total inaction, should those intelligence reports eventually be found correct.
There's a statement many a British voter will be turning over.
Mind you, Tony got 17 standing ovations in Congress..
One hopes at the very least, it brings back the tourism money lost to Mad Cow Disease..
Note should be made of the passing of Carol Shields.. she of The Stone Diaries.
Canadian forces have taken control of the occupational troops still trying to bring some sense of 'western' order to Afghanistan. It's their turn in the NATO order of things to try and do the impossible, to continue in the tradition which goes back past the Highland troops trying to hold the Khyber Pass, to Alexander himself...
It's the Germans and Dutch who get to go home. They've been targets since last February..
It would appear even to the most vehemently opposed, that the natural state of mankind is, and has always been conflict. Whether it be inner, or manifestly outwardly directed, it is for the vast majority, an existence endured from one crisis to the next.
While most shake their heads, and deny they can be classed with such, it's the group along the bar, with their fingers beside their noses and the wry winks, who nod..
It might be interesting to see what develops in the near future, as far as the stance Tony and George take on the issue of WMD's.. It's a far larger problem for Tony than George at this point..
One might think the spin needed to sort this, is achieved, could possibly affect tidal patterns..

Tuesday, July 15, 2003

Retrospect. Six years ago it was, that Gianni Versace was shot to death on the steps of his Miami mansion. Most recall Versace, but the name of his killer?
An interesting precident set in the US, with the government defying a court ruling concerning one member of Al Q'aeda talking with another. The names in this case are irrelivant, but the situation is that the only man charged with the September 11th bombings, claims he has a man who happens also to be in American custody who can prove if not his innocence, then his diminished responsibility.
The courts say it's a just request, that this interview take place. The government, perhaps under the Homeland Security blanket, is saying stuff it.
Dangerous precidents.
Meanwhile, back with George and the African campaign. It appears the possibility of American troops in Liberia is under consideration, this following a meeting with Kofi Annan. While the transformation of Iraq may well be a project George has within himself pledged years to, the consolidation of the American presence in the area would only be enhanced by the presence of a 'West African Peacekeeping Force'. One of George's conditions for involvement, is of course that the current Liberian leader, President Charles Taylor, has to vacate before the US arrives.
Two down..
Ah. the man's name was Andrew Cunanan.

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