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article archives at abelard's news and comment zonetopic archives: politics 1 2 3 4 5
III-2004: 10 18 22 25 27 31 IV-2004: 09 13 15 26
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06 07 14 16 18 26 VII-2004: 2 3 7 22-1 22-2 29 30
New translation, the Magna Carta

hammerton blog

This blog focuses on civil liberty matters and some other contemporary political issues. It is highly useful and directed, and is run with considerable ability and judgement.

Recent items include

  • government plans to set up a data base to track every child in the UK
  • police DNA collection without controls
  • details of EU institutions.

James Hammerton works assiduously through those deliberately opaque documents in which governments delight to hide their intentions from casual understanding, and summarises the probable objectives.

A select list of relevant blogs is also displayed.

All in all a very useful and excellent service.

the web address for the article above is


the good news that your dinosaur media deigns not to report - afghan

Read the news on Iraq and Afghan that the dinosaur press dares not publish:
the good news!!

This news item comes from another blog to watch for the news that the left-wing (most) press prefer to ignore. The site also provides some counter-balance to the determinedly negative press on Irak (see side links on the blog page).

“ Afghani refugees continue to vote with their feet: "The pace of return to Afghanistan remains strong, with thousands of refugees going back daily. So far this year, we've seen some 450,000 refugees repatriate." Of those, more than 242,000 came from Iran, surpassing the previous source of returning refugees, Pakistan, with some 210,000 Afghanis coming back from there since January. "In all, some 3.5 million Afghans have gone home since the UNHCR-organized return movements started in 2002, including more than two million from Pakistan, 900,000 from Iran and more than 440,000 displaced persons, while tens of thousands of other exiles have gone back on their own." This is surely the greatest humanitarian good news story of the last few decades.”

the web address for the article above is

there is profit in mayhem - arafat trading on chaos

“The picture is further darkened, and Palestinian ire deepened, by the fact that in several cases, the closer the contact that PA officials have had with Israel, the wider their range of options for graft, including bribes paid to lubricate the process of obtaining crucial permits from both the Jewish state and the Palestinian state in the making.”

the web address for the article above is

"madsam was seeking uranium" - kerry taken in by liar

"First, contrary to what Wilson wrote in the New York Times, Saddam Hussein was trying to acquire uranium from Niger. In support of that proposition are a Senate report in Washington, Lord Butler's report in London, MI6, French intelligence, other European agencies -- and, as we now know, the CIA report, based on Joe Wilson's original briefing to them. Against that proposition is Joe Wilson's revised version of events for the Times."
"Some of us are on record as dismissing Wilson in the first bloom of his unmerited celebrity. But John Kerry was taken in -- to the point where he signed him up as an adviser and underwrote his Web site. What does that reveal about Mister Nuance and his superb judgment? He claims to be able to rebuild America's relationships with France, and to have excellent buddy-to-buddy relations with French political leaders [....] "

Thanks to Greg Hennessey for lead.

the web address for the article above is

on the west, the middle east, saddam and oil

Taking down Madsam was about oil, and about his wish to control the world's major oil fields, a wish that is totally intolerable to the West.

Madsam, the socialist religion and Islam

I do not accept the fashionable view that Madsam was a secularist in his political behaviour. He was a socialist fundamentalist and an arab nationalist/supremacist. That his religion was different from the mullahs did not stop him being a fundamentalist, any more than it stopped the Politburo or Hitler.

We cannot expect to remove the curse of fundamentalism with one mighty leap. It will be driven back week by week and generation by generation. The removal of Madsam is a step forward in the right direction. Socialism is a greater evil than Islam, but doubtless Islam will adjust over time, just a christianism is still adjusting.

I go with Voltaire (1694-1778)
Le mieux est l’ennemi du bien.
The best is the enemy of the good

This is basic if you do not have the mind-set of the fundamentalist.

The United States of America is not perfect, but it is a whole lot better than living under Madsam. This is fundamental to my approach.

America is no theocracy. Vast numbers of avowed christianists have fairly moderate views, much influenced by modern psychology in recent decades. Christianism is not static, despite idiotic claims to ultimate 'truth'. I see no reason to suppose Islam will not also adjust beyond current popular fanaticisms.

The modern tendency to throw out the christianist baybee with the most filthy fundamentalist bath water meets with no sympathy from me. Many christianists of intelligence reach similar positions to these I reach through more rational routes, but they from their strange Aristotelian/authority based systems. Aristoteleanism is fundamentally flawed, and thereby potentially misleading and socially dangerous, although people appear to get a goodly way towards sane behaviour through its use.

freedom and democracy

I am not for freedom for suicide bombers or other more minor pests, I want democracy to become (differently) conditional.

It is not the USA that has a history of imposing its particular interpretation of ideas on people, as a simple look at Germany or Japan immediately shows, let alone with many others.

oil and world security

Oil is about survival and future world security at the moment. This is quite apart from 'loons' who wish to use it to wrestle world domination from the USA in pursuit of a new caliphate.

It is vital the West continues to control the oil fields they developed in the Middle East, if the world is not to experience the greatest disaster for humans in all history. It is imperative that we move to stop this awful dependence on fossil fuels as quickly as possible.

Only the West is able to organise that process, assuming they do not keep messing around while the Middle East fields are also depleted to zero. Most people appear not to have a clue about the locomotive that is rushing down upon them.

Whether George Bush is the correct person to lead the West during these dangerous times is as yet unclear. Such a judgement can only be made according to whether he works to establish a serious alternative energy economy rather that focusing only on his family interests.

the US presidential election choice

It may well be necessary to wave the stick in the Middle East. Again, a mental pudding in the White House is not an option.

Bush has so far acted correctly and with purpose. Any pulling back will just encourage the loons in both the M.E. and among ourselves, and that will result in vastly more long-term danger/trouble than anything Bush is doing. Only if Kerry comes out unequivocally for the necessary use of American power could he be trusted in the White House. Even voting for Kerry carries the danger of sending a signal to the 'loons' that the United States is unserious when the chips are down. And right now, the chips are down.

Bush's actions in the Middle East can be backed to the hilt.

Care not for the excuses or vaunted reasons of the dictators in the Middle East, the intention must be to stop them and, wherever necessary, replace them.

In the meanwhile, we should be doing everything with in our power to help those nations move into the modern mainstream of world society. Essentially, this appears to be what Bush (and Tony Bliar) are now attempting.

If this interpretation is correct, one can only back them. As for internal politics, petty government control over education or health, or corporate corruption is trivia compared with the problems emanating from the Middle East.

the web address for the article above is

72 year-old chinese sars whistleblower being 're-educated'

“Doctor who exposed China's SARS cover up is in custody being brainwashed, 06 Jul 2004

“Last year a doctor, Jiang Yanyong, 72, exposed China’s SARS cover up [link to SARS story in depth, with copy of Dr. Jiang’s whistleblowing letter]. According to a source, he is now in custody and is undergoing ‘study sessions’ after he called for a reassessment of the Tiananmen Square protests which took place in 1989.

“Dr. Yanyong is not allowed to meet anyone from outside. He and his wife, Hua Zhongwei, who used to work as a doctor at the Academy of Military Sciences, were arrested at the beginning of June. Coincidentally, the arrest took place just a couple of weeks before the 15th anniversary of the crackdown of the Tiananmen Square protests.

“According to a statement issued by a source, obtained by Reuters, Hua went on a hunger strike in protest. She was released on June 15th and warned not to talk to reporters.”

spacer at science news

Dr. Jiang wrote a letter urging that the government reclassify the 1989 pro-democracy protests as a patriotic movement, rather than a counter-revolutionary disturbance.”

An article with much of the text of the letter sent by Dr Jiang in February 2004.

the web address for the article above is

with allies like 'them'... Three and a half GoldenYak (tm) award
[nominal registration required]

“America has the most powerful military on the planet. It spends more on its armed forces than the next 20 biggest spenders combined. Its mere annual increase in military expenditure is more than the entire official budget of the Chinese forces. And yet a relatively short occupation has given the impression of an overstretched army overly dependent on reservists and the National Guard.

“How can this be? Short answer: Europe, Japan, South Korea. A little light colonial policing is bound to overstretch you if the bulk of your assets have been assigned to garrison your wealthiest allies in perpetuity. More importantly, the prolongation of the American security guarantee has been disastrous for those allies, transforming them into ersatz postmodern allies who require you to engage in months of elaborate diplomatic tap-dancing in order to get them to contribute a couple of hundred poorly equipped troops. There’s a line conservatives are fond of when they’re discussing welfare: What’s better for a man? To give him a fish? Or to teach him to fish for himself? That goes double for defence welfare. The continued US presence in Europe is bad for Europe and bad for the US. Ending it would be a basic recognition of the new circumstances: the wars of the future are going to look a lot like Iraq - swift, decisive interventions in failed states in dysfunctional corners of the world. That being so, the United States army should not be living in Germany.”

the web address for the article above is

a long clear history of problems with north korean nuclear ambitions
short samples from 13 main pages of larger text dated 2002.

“ [...] In talks held in March 1999 and July 2000, North Korea demanded $1 billion annually in exchange for a promise not to export missiles [...] ”

“ [...] The Japanese newspaper, SANKEI SHIMBUN, reported on June 9, 1996, that Kim Chong-u, a leading North Korean economic official, asserted in a meeting with State Department officials on April 26, 1996, that South Korea and Japan would have to deal with four North Korean missiles with nuclear warheads if they didn’t provide North Korea with food.”

“ [...] In January 1992, North Korea signed a safeguards agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), providing for regular IAEA inspections of nuclear facilities. In 1992, North Korea rebuffed South Korea regarding implementation of the denuclearization agreement, but it did allow the IAEA to conduct six inspections during June 1992-February 1993.

“In late 1992, the IAEA found evidence that North Korea had reprocessed more plutonium than the 80 grams it had disclosed to the Agency. In February 1993, the IAEA invoked a provision in the safeguards agreement and called for a "special inspection" of two concealed but apparent nuclear waste sites at Yongbyon. The IAEA believed that a special inspection would uncover information on the amount of plutonium which North Korea had produced since 1989. North Korea rejected the IAEA request and announced on March 12, 1993, an intention to withdraw from the NPT.

“ The NPT withdrawal threat led to low and higher level diplomatic talks between North Korea and the Clinton Administration. North Korea "suspended" its withdrawal from the NPT when the Clinton Administration agreed to a high-level meeting in June 1993. However, North Korea continued to refuse both special inspections and IAEA regular inspections of facilities designated under the safeguards agreement. In May 1994, North Korea refused to allow the IAEA to inspect the 8,000 fuel rods, which it had removed from the five megawatt reactor. In June 1994, North Korea’s President Kim Il-sung reactivated a longstanding invitation to [...] former U.S. President Jimmy Carter to visit Pyongyang. Kim offered Carter a freeze of North Korea’s nuclear facilities and operations. Kim took this initiative after China reportedly informed him that it would not veto a first round of economic sanctions, which the Clinton Administration had proposed to members of the U.N. Security Council.”

the web address for the article above is

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