Madness of war memo
By Kevin Maguire And Andy Lines

PRESIDENT Bush planned to bomb Arab TV station al-Jazeera in friendly Qatar, a “Top Secret” No 10 memo reveals.

But he was talked out of it at a White House summit by Tony Blair, who said it would provoke a worldwide backlash.

A source said: “There’s no doubt what Bush wanted, and no doubt Blair didn’t want him to do it.” Al-Jazeera is accused by the US of fuelling the Iraqi insurgency.

The attack would have led to a massacre of innocents on the territory of a key ally, enraged the Middle East and almost certainly have sparked bloody retaliation.

A source said last night: “The memo is explosive and hugely damaging to Bush.

“He made clear he wanted to bomb al-Jazeera in Qatar and elsewhere. Blair replied that would cause a big problem.

“There’s no doubt what Bush wanted to do – and no doubt Blair didn’t want him to do it.”

A Government official suggested that the Bush threat had been “humorous, not serious”.

But another source declared: “Bush was deadly serious, as was Blair. That much is absolutely clear from the language used by both men.”

Yesterday former Labour Defence Minister Peter Kilfoyle challenged Downing Street to publish the five-page transcript of the two leaders’ conversation. He said: “It’s frightening to think that such a powerful man as Bush can propose such cavalier actions.

“I hope the Prime Minister insists this memo be published. It gives an insight into the mindset of those who were the architects of war.”

Bush disclosed his plan to target al-Jazeera, a civilian station with a huge Mid-East following, at a White House face-to-face with Mr Blair on April 16 last year.

At the time, the US was launching an all-out assault on insurgents in the Iraqi town of Fallujah.

Al-Jazeera infuriated Washington and London by reporting from behind rebel lines and broadcasting pictures of dead soldiers, private contractors and Iraqi victims.

The station, watched by millions, has also been used by bin Laden and al-Qaeda to broadcast atrocities and to threaten the West.

Al-Jazeera’s HQ is in the business district of Qatar’s capital, Doha.

Its single-storey buildings would have made an easy target for bombers. As it is sited away from residential areas, and more than 10 miles from the US’s desert base in Qatar, there would have been no danger of “collateral damage”.

Dozens of al-Jazeera staff at the HQ are not, as many believe, Islamic fanatics. Instead, most are respected and highly trained technicians and journalists.

To have wiped them out would have been equivalent to bombing the BBC in London and the most spectacular foreign policy disaster since the Iraq War itself.

The No 10 memo now raises fresh doubts over US claims that previous attacks against al-Jazeera staff were military errors.

In 2001 the station’s Kabul office was knocked out by two “smart” bombs. In 2003, al-Jazeera reporter Tareq Ayyoub was killed in a US missile strike on the station’s Baghdad centre.

UBERKIWI: See the movie “Control Room”. Clearly the 2003 missile attack was not a mistake. Pigs.

The memo, which also included details of troop deployments, turned up in May last year at the Northampton constituency office of then Labour MP Tony Clarke.

Cabinet Office civil servant David Keogh, 49, is accused under the Official Secrets Act of passing it to Leo O’Connor, 42, who used to work for Mr Clarke. Both are bailed to appear at Bow Street court next week.

Mr Clarke, who lost at the election, returned the memo to No 10.

He said Mr O’Connor had behaved “perfectly correctly”.

Neither Mr O’Connor or Mr Keogh were available. No 10 did not comment.”


2005 V8 Supercar Championship final decider round – Ford rules

Stone Brothers Racing’s Russell Ingall claimed his first V8 Supercar crown at the BigPond Grand Finale at Phillip Island Raceway in Victoria today. In his 10th year of V8 Supercar competition, Ingall finished fifth in the two final heats of the final round in his Caltex Falcon to collect his maiden crown ahead of fellow Ford driver Craig Lowndes.

Ingall’s SBR team-mate Marcos Ambrose finished his V8 Supercar career in style and gave Ford the V8 Supercar manufacturers’ title when he won the round with wins in both of today’s 32-lap races.

Ambrose, who won the last two V8 Supercar Championships, finished third in this year’s title chase in his Pirtek Falcon and now heads to the US to chase a career in the NASCAR series.

Ingall’s victory was the third consecutive championship victory for the Stone Brothers Racing outfit.

Stone Brothers Racing (SBR) is one of the premier teams in Australian V8 Supercar Championship Series and is owned and run by Kiwi brothers Jimmy Ross Stone.

Note that the top three cars are Fords. Ford clearly thrashed all the holdens this year, the commodores looking like the taxis that they are.

Position Driver Car
1 Russell Ingall Ford BA Falcon
2 Craig Lowndes Ford BA Falcon
3 Marcos Ambrose Ford BA Falcon
4 Todd Kelly Holden VZ Commodore
5 Mark Skaife Holden VZ Commodore
6 Garth Tander Holden VZ Commodore

The Chaser – Michelle Leslie to resume career as model of hypocrisy

Just days after being released from prison, model Michelle Leslie has vowed to return to work, committing to a hectic schedule of shameless publicity stunts, and pursuing lucrative opportunities to become a model of superficiality and blatant hypocrisy. Although competition in Australian fashion is intense, in the fields of superficiality and hypocrisy especially, it is expected Leslie will receive masses of uncritical acclaim when she returns.

As she left Kerobokan Prison, Leslie told reporters she was ecstatic, a diagnosis later confirmed by drug tests. Her legal team disputed this description, however, saying their client merely had a case of “freedom-induced attention deficit disorder”. It is understood Leslie’s treatment for ADD will include “exclusive” interviews with A Current Affair, Women’s Day and The Socialite Worker.

Although her lawyers argued for an acquittal, the Denpasar District Court convicted Leslie of drug possession, finding the defence arguments had even less weight than her waifish body.

While in prison, Leslie befriended fellow drug convict Schappelle Corby after the two realised they had many things in common, such as a general lack of interest in anything other than themselves and pathetically weak legal defences.

“Probably the worst part of the ordeal, though, was being handcuffed to Renae Lawrence on the way to court one day,” Leslie revealed. “Did you see what she was wearing? Honestly, I wouldn’t be seen dead in clothes like that. Although obviously she will be.”

Leslie attracted criticism after wearing full burqa to an early court appearance, a move slammed by Muslims as “superficial stunt” and by fashion commentators as “so last season.” She has outraged conservative Muslims since her release by dressing immodestly and contemplating an independent career.

But Leslie has denied her actions since leaving are unIslamic. “I’d like to be a poster girl for modern Islam,” she told reporters. “Ideally a calendar girl for Islam in time for Christmas.”

The Leslie family spokesman has confirmed that Michelle will wear the burqa again in public, partially on account of her faith, but mainly to ensure the exclusivity of her lucrative media deals is preserved.

The Chaser – Michelle Leslie to resume career as model of hypocrisy

CIA Director: ‘Cheney is Vice President for Torture’

In South Korea, Another Blow to Bush’s Efforts in Iraq:
“Published on Friday, November 18, 2005 by ITN / UK

A former CIA director has claimed that torture is condoned and even approved by the Bush government.

The devastating accusations have been made by Admiral Stansfield Turner who labelled Dick Cheney ‘a vice president for torture’.

He said: ‘We have crossed the line into dangerous territory’.

The American Senate says torture should be banned – whatever the justification. But President Bush has threatened to veto their ruling.

The former spymaster claims President Bush is not telling the truth when he says that torture is not a method used by the US.

Speaking of Bush’s claims that the US does not use torture, Admiral Turner, who ran the CIA from 1977 to 1981, said: ‘I do not believe him’.

On Dick Cheney he said ‘I’m embarrassed the United States has a vice president for torture.

‘He condones torture, what else is he?’.

Admiral Turner claims the secret CIA prisons used for torture are known as ‘black sites’, terror suspects are picked up in places like Afghanistan and Pakistan.

They are flown by CIA-controlled private aircraft to countries where there are secret interrogation centres, operating outside any country’s jurisdiction.

No one will confirm their locations, but there are several possibilities: The Mihail-Kogalniceanu military airbase in Romania is believed by many to be one such facility.

Admiral Turner’s remarks were echoed by Republican Senator John McCain, himself a victim of torture in Vietnam.

He said torturing to get information was immoral, was not effective and encouraged potential enemies to do the same to Americans.

Both Mr Bush and Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice have repeatedly stated that torture by US forces is not condoned.

US finally confesses: yes we used phosphorus in Fallujah

US used phosphorus attacks in Fallujah – The World – Breaking News 24/7 – NEWS.com.au:

“THE US has admitted its troops in Iraq used white phosphorus shells against insurgents in Fallujah last year, but said civilians were not targeted.

After earlier denials, the Pentagon yesterday acknowledged that the toxic incendiary agent was used during what a US army journal called ‘shake and bake’ attacks on the Iraqi city.

‘It’s part of our conventional weapons inventory. We use it like we use any other conventional weapon,’ Bryan Whitman, a Pentagon spokesman said.

Previously the Pentagon’s official line had been that its forces used white phosphorus only to light up the battlefield and produce smokescreens but not as an attack weapon.

Another spokesman, Lieutenant Colonel Barry Venable, claimed the US military had never used the highly flammable weapons against civilians, contrary to Italian state television reports that the phosphorus shells were used against men, women and children in Fallujah, who were burnt to the bone.

‘We categorically deny that claim,’ Colonel Venable said. (UberKiwi: Of course they would. Doesn’t change the fact that they did. Only last week they categorically denied the use of phosphorus)

He said white phosphorus weapons were not outlawed or banned by any convention.

But a protocol to the international accord on conventional weapons that took effect in 1983 forbids using incendiary weapons against civilians.

The Pentagon spokesman said he had no knowledge of any civilian victims of attacks with white phosphorus. (Thats because they don’t do body counts and they don’t watch the news)

‘We don’t target any civilians with any of our weapons, and to suggest US forces were targeting civilians with these weapons would be wrong,’ he said.” (They don’t target civilians. They target “insurgents” that either turn out to be ordinary civilians, or they use a weapon that kills the insurgent and a few hundred innocent civilians caught up as collateral damage. If you drop bombs that have a kill radius of 150 metres, you have to expect that civilians are going to be killed, as well as the insurgent)

The fear game, the Media’s latest sensation

We are more likely to die on the road than be killed by a terrorist act, writes Ross Gittins in The Age.

Exactly the point a made to a workmate yesterday.

Governments like the public to be fearful because people will give up their rights for anything to be safe.

… But after all it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy, and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship …Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is to tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger.

– Hermann Goering, Nazi leader at Nuremberg Trials

Bush is doing it with his coloured terror threat levels.

And the Media does it because it is good for Business.

Anyway, READ Ross’s article in The Age here:

The fear game, our latest sensation – Ross Gittins – Opinion – theage.com.au

Two-faced Australia? Yep.

Great story for my Australian fans. Sums up well an outsiders perception of Australians poor sportsmanship. Aussies love a winner, but never mention a loss. By the way, sledging is not part of sport. It is part of Australian sport.

The other, two-faced Australia – The Age

How sadly typical of latter-day Australia that one of its finest sporting hours should be despoiled by a display of crass and craven nationalism of the type we once ridiculed when it manifested elsewhere in the world.

How typical that this outbreak of mob mindlessness should occasion no disapproving comment on the night and little yesterday.

For the duration of the singing of the Uruguayan national anthem at Telstra Stadium on Wednesday night, the crowd booed heartily. The hooting could be heard around the country. It will echo on to our eternal shame, but not, evidently, to our embarrassment.

Embarrassment flows from a sensitivity to others that is extinct in the modern Australian sporting ethos. Advance Australia, and fair can go to hell with Uruguay.

For once, Australia could not even excuse itself with the usual puerile schoolyard argument about how “they started it”. When the Australian anthem was played in Montevideo last Sunday, it was – as far as could be heard here – greeted with respectful silence.

With the first notes of the Uruguayan anthem on Wednesday, more than 80,000 thought it good sport to try to drown it out.

Sometimes, we are a big country of small minds. We protested as a nation when a few thugs, apparently hired, besieged the Australians at the airport in Montevideo in 2001. We fostered an image of Uruguay – whose population is barely as big as Melbourne’s – as a monstrous country of Latin American lawlessness and congratulated ourselves on escaping its clutches.

We howled in indignation when Alvaro Recoba suggested that Uruguay had a right to be at the World Cup – as if we would not have taken the same stance if the boot was on the other foot.

Think of how Victorians claimed divine ownership of the AFL premiership when the competition was opened up to the heathens from interstate.

But when we as a nation had a chance to show that we were above such banalities, we showed ourselves again to be irredeemably a nation of yobs.

Sport brings out the best and worst in Australians. It also reveals us as two-faced. On Tuesday, industry groups protested about the loss of productivity caused by protest marches against industrial relations reform, and ministers warned that absentees could face action against them.

Yesterday, the Prime Minister asked employers to forgive those workers who were celebrating a little fortuitous success at soccer. Suddenly, productivity did not matter.

At match’s end, it was as if the Uruguayans did not exist. Not a word of respect or recognition was to be heard. Instead, there was some bitching about the way the visitors played. But the Australians were scarcely above some gamesmanship of their own.

Sadly, this is an aspect of soccer that remains troubling. It is a beautiful game, but too often played in a petty and petulant spirit.

Still, none of this matters now because Australians are winners and Uruguayans are pleasing themselves. This, all agreed, was a great day for Australian soccer, perhaps its greatest. But it is problematic whether it was even a good day for Australia.