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

Sunday, July 30, 2006

'Disproportionate' is the word Jack Straw uses to describe the Israeli actions in Lebanon, which has brought speculation on a rift in Tony's Cabinet. Jack was Foreign Secretary until last May, and has a high proportion of Islamics in his constituency.
One has to wonder, how politicians in the West can make judgements based upon ambiguous reports from so many disparate sources. Again, one must deplore the deaths of civilians in this conflict, but unless one is on the ground there, and has been for quite a while, it might be difficult to condemn any military actions against what's known to be a terrorist base.
It is exceedingly unfortunate that so many die in the class of 'collateral casualties', but again, wherein does the blame lie? Any country which harbours terrorists, or funds extremist causes, must themselves be held responsible for whatever action another country might take to eliminate the threat.
We do not condemn the British and American forces in Afghanistan for their continuing actions against Taliban. We do not condemn British, American, and other international forces for their continuing actions against Hammas and Hezbollah in Iraq.
How, in good concience then, can we condemn Israel for it's actions against an active foe?
al Jazeera aired a statement from al Q'aeda just two days ago, supporting Hezbollah and demanding the extermination of Israeli's and the dissolution of it as a State.
We have been told by George and Tony that we might expect a cease-fire within days, and truthfully this could be a script for the next Harry Potter novel. There is little or no chance that Israel will cease it's determination to eradicate those groups which call for it's destruction, nor is it plausible that those within the ranks of the terrorists will sit down at a table of arbitration and call off their rocket attacks.
This situation is one which has no real solution, and that can be blamed on hostilities which are ancestral.
Until the greater Islamic States involve themselves in a movement towards disbanding their terrorist factions, there will never be peace in the Middle East.
To think otherwise is naive at best. More likely it's a boondoggle in which the West is absolutely clueless. Sending the American Secretary of State to try and broker a settlement between these opposing forces is a chimera, for nothing will end this until someone begins to pull tight Western purse-strings.
One must mourn the deaths of innocents, but one must also be aware it is their own State which has brought this upon them.

Friday, July 28, 2006

There was a shooting in a London Subway Station on the 22d July last year. A 27 year old Brazilian man, by the name of Jean Charles de Menenzes was shot seven times in the head, as he wrestled with Police who mistook him for a terrorist. Mr. de Menenzes ran from the officers when they challenged him, as he was bording the Tube to go home. He had a rucksack on his shoulder, which, in the light of the July 7th bombings, was taken to be a bomb. He ran when told to stop so that knapsack could be inspected, and in turn, was shot.
Today, two firearms officers have been returned to full operational duty, and Scotland Yard has decided prosecutions were not in order.
Now this has understandably upset the relatives of Mr. de Menenzes, but given the climate, the circumstances, and the paranoia at the time, it would seem no other decision could be made.
This is what terrorism has done to us. It has made Police Officers unsure. It has made the public at large suspicious and afraid.
It has done exactly what the terrorists set out to do.
One must deplore the death of Mr. de Menenzes, but in truth, the blame must be placed on those who began all this furore in New York, on 9-11.
We cannot blame our own law enforcement officials for trying to protect us, and the death of innocents is exactly the aim of Hammas, al Q'aeda, Taliban and Hezbollah.
We can only mourn.
Now the ball really starts rolling.
Both Tony and George have met, and are demanding an international 'peace force' be sent into Lebanon, to end this Israeli/Hezbollah fracas. This means that all those countries who will involve themselves must, by proxy, align themselves with the Israeli cause, and must define Hezbollah as terrorists. This will allow Israel to quietly step aside, as the West and it's allies take over the job of continuing the 'war on terror', and this, without a doubt, is what the US and Britain wanted from the getgo.
What is still of lingering concern, is the role assigned to Condaleezza Rice. As Secretary of State, she is meant to deal with problems such as international diplomacy, but her presence in this area at this time can lead one to only one conclusion, that she will be on the next Republican ticket, and with all due respect for Dr. Rice, she's a tyro, and a dangerous one at that.
We are being prepared for a shift in leaderships with this issue in the Middle East. Prepped for a change, and both Labour and the Republicans want fervently to be seen as 'arbitrators and peacemakers', in a world that is becoming more and more paranoid concerning terrism, and terrorists.
Perhaps the worst action al Q'aeda could have taken was the destruction of the World Trade Center, for it brought fear home to the couchbound American. The same could be said for the London bombings, for it did the same, to a lesser degree, to the British.
The art of terrorism is an ancient one, and to hand the ideals and the weapons to such volotile people as fundamentalist Muslims, could be greatly regretted.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Red Mercury?
A trial of three suspected terrorists revolved about their trying to obtain this mysterious substance, in an effort to make a 'dirty bomb'. But what exactly is 'red mercury'?
There are 5 main theories.
1. That red mercury is a reference to cinnabar, a naturally occurring mercuric sulphide. The pigment derived from this plant is vermillion.
2. That it's a reference to the alpha crystalline form of mercury oxide, which changes to yellow at high temperatures.
3. That it's a reference to any mercury compound originating from the former Soviet Union, the 'red' being a legacy of the old Cold War era.
4. That it is a ballotechnic mercury compound which just happens to be red in colour. Ballotechnics are substances which react very energetically when subjected to shock compression at high pressure. They include mercury antimony oxide which, according to some reports, is a cherry red semi-liquid produced in Russian nuclear reactors. This theory contends that it is so explosive that a fusion reaction - a nuclear explosion - can be triggered even without fissionable material such as uranium.
and finally 5. That it is a military codeword for a new nuclear material, probably manufactured in Russia.
In the early 1990s, in the wake of the collapse of the Soviet Union, several articles were published claiming that a pure fusion device had been invented.
It reportedly weighed around 10 pounds and was no bigger than a baseball.
If such a device existed, and was capable of triggering a nuclear explosion, the threat to the world - especially the western world - would be catastrophic.
But no such bomb has been discovered and nobody - not even Osama bin Laden from his mountain base in Afghanistan or Pakistan - has even threatened to use one.
So is red mercury just a hoax?
One hopes so.

Meanwhile, as the trial continues, the Crown is asking that it be ignored whether or not such a substance exists, that indeed the intent of the trio on trial was to buy a something that would contaminate a large area for quite a long period of time.
This terrorism paranoia is becoming close to bordering on the psychotic, for while there are without a doubt terrorists out there, and their intent is doubtless to destroy and disrupt the West and its infrastructure, we must remain on the right side of caution, and not stray into Narnia.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

ahh.. the ubiquitous gaffes from John Prescott have tongues wagging again..
He announced today that there would be a Labour leadership convention called 'very soon'.. and even though Tony's stated quite firmly that he'll still be at the head come the next Party Conference, there is always doubts spawned when comments such as those from Prescott come to the public ear..
Of course, this could be a case of wishful thinking on the part of Prescott..
More to come..
On to the events unfolding in the Middle East. There was a discussion last night, of how Israel was alienating itself from Western sympathy for the destruction of so much Lebanese real estate, with the commensurate loss of life. The position taken was, that diplomacy should have been a viable option for the Israeli's, rather than the continuous lobbing of bombs into what were thought to be Hezbollah strongholds.
Now let it not be said one can realistically be a proponent of the death of innocents, but again the point must be emphasised that there is nothing.. nothing at all which separates by visual identification, a terrorist and a civilian. Even children in that society carry firearms, and are well trained in their use.
The question which must be asked, is what choice does Israel have?
The terrorists themselves, were they that concerned about collateral damage, should at very least wear say, an armband, a beret, a distinguishable mark which says 'I'm going to attach the State of Israel'.
The conclusion which must be srawn is that these terrorist group.. Q'aida..Taliban.. all use the fact they blend in with innocents as a weapon in itself. These groups all count on civilian deaths to draw worldwide attention to the fact that a state such as Israel is carrying out warfare indiscriminately... and such a conclusion is damning, and a chimera.
Extremist groups rarely care any more for the man on the street than they do for their own welfare. Their aim is to cause as much damage to Israeli innocents by the continued shelling of targets which are known to be peaceable. They even commit these acts against their own, by car-bombing markets and areas casual labourers gather to wait for employers to give them a days work. They kill theirt own as indiscriminately as they kill their declared enemy.
Point being, a terrorist is nothing short of a calculated murderer. This label cannot be attached to Israeli forces, for their intent is not to massacre as many Lebanese as possible, but to wipe out those who are in Lebanon only to attack Israel.
Warfare always has the effect of killing those who would normally be doing nothing more than carrying out their daily routine, but guerilla warfare counts on innocent blood being shed, and on the condemnation of those who cause that damage.
This is exceedingly worrying, this which is going on in Lebanon and Israel, because it's drawing lines.. segregating one religious group from all others. It would not at all be within the bounds of reason to suspect all Muslims to be extremist, yet those who are, count on this effect. Their aim is to make this a global confrontation, and unless clear heads remain in control, this could easily escallate into an issue which will eventually engulf us all.
There is not any country in the West which is not home to many faiths, including Islamics. Let not these innocents become targets for localised distinction, for the sake of terrorists..extremists..who in no way represent them, or their faith.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Israel is fighting a war here, in which there can be no winner. It's amazing, the similarities between what's going on in the Middle East today, and what happened forty years ago in Viet Nam, with Hezbollah fighting with impeccable guerilla tactics, and Israeli forces unsure of who's the enemy, and who's merely a civilian.
Reports are coming in that while the attacks from Lebanon continue to affect northern Israeli towns and setlements, the counter-attack is haphazard at best, for the enemy wears no uniform, and blends in completely with those around. The best Israeli forces can do is return fire close to the source of a rocket attack, and that leads to civilian deaths.. collateral damage one might say.
But, this cannot be blamed on Israel alone.
Lebanese civilians, either through suasion or active support, are sheilding this terrorist group. It is established that there is not one Middle Eastern State that would want Israel to feel comfortable, to be left in peace to continue with it's own internal struggles and daily life.
Funding for the arsenal Hezbollah has amassed had to have come from somewhere, and all the traditional enemies of the State of Israel are suspect.. Egypt.. Sudan.. Saudi Arabia.. are all to some extent in support of those the US has branded 'terrorist', from the Taliban, al Q'aida, Hezbollah..
And yet the West continually increases the economic might of these countries, of this region, with it's 'addiction' to oil.
It might be said with some assurance, that 'we have seen the enemy, and it is us..' in this case.
The hard line would be to throw all support behind Israel, and cut all economic ties with the rest of the OPEC nations. Develop a working relationship with Vlad for Russian oil and gas, and cut the Middle East completely out of the equation. Allow Russia membership in the WTO, while working towards restricting the Wild West attitude in the former Soviet States, and align China towards the same resources.. those in the Baltic.
A concerted effort towards exclusion would perhaps move the Muslim States towards policing their own, and make no mistake, this is not a religious measure, but an economic one.
Muslims are not, on the whole, any more violent than any other faith. They simply have more belief in the afterlife for those who martyr themselves than we do, and thus place a lesser value on this life, or on the lives of any others.
Work on their purses, and their ideology will be pulled into some semblance of compliance.
Work on the destruction of their ideology, and we do no more than to incite more and more to give themselves into the hands of Allah (blessed be His name)..
We must remember, that we are a complacent society, spurred into action only by the worst scenario's.
They are far more volatile, and are dedicated to such an extreme as boggles our imaginations.

Friday, July 21, 2006

We are on the brink of a catastrophe in the Middle East, yet dare one say, those in the majority of the West and Europe, indeed those outside the immediate sphere of influence of the violence, couldn't care less.
It's just not a 'reality' to most.
Now those leave Lebanon by the thousands have a different perspective, as do those who live in Israel. They live, work, breathe in the palpable tension that pervades the area. They are on the front line.
But those who's knowledge of events in that area is supplied by news services, can feel secure they're not at risk, in a real sense. There's always the possibility of a suicide mission which could destroy part of one of our major cities, but even that to the majority, is only news.
What defines the common worldwide man on the street these days?
One might suggest it be nothing more than personal needs and desires.
We elect people is a flurry of excitement, expecting a chicken in every pot and a car in every garage, and then spend the time remaining in their terms deriding them for not providing these basics. We expect our leaders to be as pure as Caesars wife, and delight in their foibles when they are exposed to have no more than feet of clay, no more exceptional than any one of us might be in such a position of power.
Needs. That's what it all comes down to.
We need a government that makes no mistakes. That increases our economies and our standard of living with little or no input from the individual. We want it handed to us on a plate, for we no longer have the belief that we are capable of improving our lot by stint of individual effort.
We need religious leaders who tell us that our deities approve of bombing the daylights out of innocents, and who condemn those who share not our particular faith.
What makes a young man or woman give up a course of living that would see them graduate university, or having already done so and is now plying their trade, sharing their knowledge, strap on a semtex vest and kill for their 'faith'? Surely it can be attributed only to those who have taught them, and their own personal 'need' to be a part of something bigger than a high-definition television, a good salary, a comfortable life.
We cannot universally condemn those who commit atrocities in the name of their beleifs, for in doing so we would be condemning all our historical figures. Mankind has been led by the nose by their preachers for millennia, and that is a situation that doubtless be later described as part of the 'human condition'.
What we can universally condemn is the apathy of those who sit, and wait for others to find a solution, or even offer an alternative. And that, comes down to you, and I.
When and if this sad community of this world gets off the couch, studies the issues, elects those who are not necissarily the most charismatic but who are certainly espousing actions which will give us direction again, we may see a renaissance of sorts.
When the wants of the individual are fewer, and the needs fewer still, then perhaps we will see a form of harmony. But it would take a massive uprising of those who have, like the one-ton man, lost the will and ability to move, to effect such a change.
We are heading for Armageddon, and unless we work towards a solution, most will see it only on the six o'clock news, and it will, sadly, be a great surprise.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

The UN Security Council is about to sit, is what would appear to be a pro forma session.. The subject under discussion, of course, is the crisis in the Middle East, but as Condaleesa Rice has said, the meeting will be of little use unless there is a chance of 'lasting resolution' of the current problems.
Plain language: Israel can do as it wishes with the blessing of the US, as long as Hezbollah continues to exist.
This American 'war or terrorism' will allow itself and it's allies to carry out any and all actions necissary to crush this Muslim threat, and that will be made plain in this upcoming meeting.
As it stands, thousands of Britons are evacuating Beruit, which is, even to the blindest, an indication this offensive is not about to come to a quick end.
One must wonder when the stakes will rise, when dirty bombs will be set off, when escallation will reach a point of no return.
More as this develops.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Things continue to unfold as they should.
British and French nationals are being evacuated from Lebanon, as Israel, in the words of the Lebanese Prime Minister, 'continues this madness'.
On the other hand, one more dead in Haifa from a Hezbollah missile.
The G8 left much unsaid as it closed it's weekend meeting in St Petersburg, and Vlad still hasn't got his membership in the WTO, although that may well be in the works..
George is set to veto stem-cell research.. too much of a Franenstein scenario for his administration to deal with.. But then there's always the next..
One more serious issue to be mentioned today. The Labour Party has revealed it's more than £27 million in debt, following the last election. The Conservatives claim they've had a resergeance of donations since David Cameron took the reins, but still are some £17 million in the hole. There is something inherently wrong with a system that demands such capital outlay to buy votes. That demands television and radio and newpaper ads must remind those with the franchise who it is that represents their way of thought... but then if it weren't spashed on them, the great unwashed would be totally bewildered.. or so it seems..
A step away from the mundane for a moment, and a reflection on the passing of Mickey Spillane, the mystery writer.
Much maligned by his critics and peers.. he once observed that "Those big-shot writers could never dig the fact that there are more salted peanuts consumed than caviar..."
He was 88. A good life...

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Civilians have started to die in Lebanon.. Israel has now bombed the Lebanese/Syrian crossing infrastructure.. and what started out as a rescue mission for 2, then 6 soldiers has escallated, in a matter of days, into a full-scale military operation bent on destroying Hezbollah.
There are Iranian officers on the ground in Lebanon, coordinating Hezollah missle strikes into Israel.. an Israeli gunboat has been blown out of the water by a surface-to-sea missile aimed by Hezbollah..
Damn, these folks know how to start a war.
And one fact one can depend on, is that nothing is a singular movement, a singular decision, bar those of Israel. This will soon be, one one level or many, a total Arab/Israeli confrontation, with the intent on the destruction of the State of Israel. It may be al Q'aida.. or Hezbollah.. or Taliban fighters who actually pull the triggers, but the organisation will be coordinated by Arab consensus.
One has to wonder, how important to Vlad is membership in the World Trade Organisation?
How important will it be, when China decides to push forward, that anything remains of the current infrastructure in the Middle East.
The West is driven hard by the potential losses in hard materiel, but even that can be recouped with a few government subsidies..
Kubrick might just have been mistaken in one aspect only. That of location.
It's to be 'war on every level' according to Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah..
And 4 more Israeli soldiers have gone missing.. ostensibly into Lebanon..
and Meanwhile, back at the ranch on the eve of the G8 meetings, Vlad and George with their respective wives have a 'quiet, private, dinner'. It is to be a given that part of the private talks George and Vlad will have before the other leaders arrive, will mention George's hopes the Russian State will stay on track, leading to a 'democratic form' of government..
But if one could be a fly on the wall..
Bet there have been negotiations on oil exports from Russian resources to American storage tanks, and what price a barrel of Balkan Crude will cost..
There will doubtless be some time spent on what advantages there might be for the Russian economy if there were better relations between the two countries, a legacy which might be forged before George leaves the White House..
The issue of who backs who in the Middle East will certainly come to the attention of the two leaders.. should Israel be allowed to continue it's war on terror, and worm out Hezbollah from it's hidey-holes in Lebanon, and to what advantage it would be for the West to allow the Lebanese standard of living slip back more than twenty years..
Will it be to either's advantage to watch the Middle East dissolve into outright hostilities right across the board, while the US and Britain still maintain boots on the ground in Iraq..
Much to be talked over during the next few days with the leaders of the G8.. but it seems there were some details to be ironed out before the others arrived..
We will see, over these next few days, as this Summit continues, what becomes the most prominent problem discussed.
Certainly, and on more levels than the obvious.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Now the fun's really under way..!
Israel's attacking 'Hezbollah' in Leabonon, which has Syrian backing.. and is continuing it's movement back into the Gaza.. as was undoubtedly the plan in the first place..
Georges dark-room boys must be just wringing their hands wirth delight..
Same applies in Tony's area of influence..
What this has demonstrated to even the most dense of us, is that one incident, two in this case, carried out by a tiny contingent of absolutely dedicated men and women, can move armies.
Two kidnappings, and a couple of strikes by missiles in the Northern Israeli port city of Haifa, has mobilised all the forces, ar a few of course, available to Israel.
If one was watching the wick that spark mentioned a week or so ago ignited, it would be about half-way down to the muzzle.
What a conflagration we could be facing. What a different way of life.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Three hours of debate in the Commons, ended with an agreement to call it a day early in ptotest over the current extradition treaty this country has with the United States.
To make it simple, if you're a British subject and the American Courts want you, they can have you. Reciprocity, though, is not the case.
Today investigators found the body of one of several men 'hounded by the FBI concerning this case.

The three men who were expected to be sent to the US to face charges concerning the Enron scandal are now in Houston, and may be there for some time to come. It could be two years before their case appears before a judge...
One wonder if we, the British, wanted an American citizen to face charges here. Would we see the same consideration, the same cooperation, from Washington..?
No doubt.. *chuckle*
We'll discuss this more.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

North Korea has tested a couple of long-range missiles. One has an efective ragne that would alow it to deliver a payload as far as Japan, Afghanistan, India..
The second, which by the way failed to launch successfully, could have reached Europe, and Alaska..
George's reaction was nothing more than the affirmation that the Western mind should either be kept in the dark concerning the feelings of the North Korean man on the street, or, Gods forbid, our analysts are ignoring that they are not the same as us.
North Korea has a failing econonomy. Compared to the lifestyles we lead, they're poverty-striken. But they don't see it that wway..
They see themselves working for a future, not for themselves or their children, but for their grandchildren. They do not cosider what we would see as privation as something to be worried about. They eat. They work. THey sleep. And their kids go to school and learn.
One can only hope that George is putting his stupid-face, to reassure an at best, disinterested American public.
The alternative is, that George has no contingency plan for the North Koreans.. has nothing in the works to help allied nations, the likes of Japan, India, and to some extent Pakistan.
Say it ain't so, Joe..

Saturday, July 01, 2006

It continues.
The division between the 'Christian West' and the 'Islamic East' has been prised just that further apart by that old nemesis, Osama. His broadcasts, repeated ad nausiam on Al Jazeera and other Arab -speaking news dispersers, have warned the world not to intervene in the Somalia issue.. to ignore Darfour, and leave the Islamic-lead government with a free hand.
Now it's not that we're not being fed the same tripe by our own politicians. Spinning a situation into an incident is the political way of life. Governments thrive, in fact would not survive, were there not another crisis to be faced, another 'cause' to be defended.
But Osama, and one must interject that one believes this man speaks for the same percentage of Islamic people as Jerry Adams used to for Republicans, is a danger. He can bring violence to my doorstep, to yours as well.
His rhetoric inflame the already unballanced to the point they will take their lives to take mine. This cannot be.
There will come a time when it will be recognized that the Middle East should have nothing to do with the West economically. When their commodity will have little or no value. If there is one adage in Arabic that states their ethos, it's trust nobody, and when negotiating, drag it out as long as possible.. and then a little longer.
Until we lose our dependance on fossil fuel, or are in a position to supply our needs domestically, we will be short a card in this Game. We can bring little pressure, true pressure to bear, on those we are dependant upon.
Iraq has it's government now. Let the 'War On Terror' continue, but without such demeaning detentions as those in Gitmo, and let it be fought from home.
It's time to let the Iraqi people deal with their own, however they will.
It's time for us to begin worrying about what's happening in the Gaza, and what could come from that.
Hammas has the clout.
Israel has the bomb.
Ahh. Happy Canada Day.

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