US faking intelligence to justify attack on Iran?

While British PM Tony Blair is saying “no attack on Iran is being planned, and that a diplomatic solution to the West’s row with Tehran over its nuclear plans is the only “viable and sensible” answer”, Dick(head) Cheney is here in Australia saying that a Strike on Iran is an option.

“All options are still on the table,” US vice president Dick Cheney told a joint news conference with Australian Prime Minister John Howard in Sydney today.

Interesting given that the Guardian is reporting that:

MUCH of the intelligence on Iran’s nuclear facilities provided to UN inspectors by American spy agencies has turned out to be unfounded, according to diplomatic sources in Vienna.

The claims come as the five permanent members of the UN Security Council, plus Germany, prepare to draft a second sanctions resolution on Iran.

They are reminiscent of the intelligence fiasco surrounding the Iraq war and coincide with a sharp increase in international tension as the International Atomic Energy Agency reported yesterday that Iran was defying a Security Council ultimatum to freeze its nuclear program.

Source: US intelligence on Iran proves ‘unfounded’ – World – theage.com.au
Address : <http://www.theage.com.au/articles/2007/02/23/1171734021636.html>

So, anyone for a war? It makes great TV and is good for US oil.

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Bush pledges Hicks to face rigged Kangaroo court as soon as possible

US President George Bush is pledging to do all he can to speed up David Hicks’ trial, promising the Australian will be “first in line” to get his day in court. Mr Bush made the promise to Prime Minister John Howard during a telephone call this morning, in which he vowed to “do everything he could to make sure the process was pushed along”. “He said that Hicks was the first in the line, and he understood very much the concerns that I had,” Mr Howard said.

Source: Bush pledge to Howard over Hicks – National – theage.com.au

I think Johnno is missing the point. While it is more than a concern that DH has been in Guantanamo for over 5 years with out any charges, it is even WORSE that it is a US “special” military court. 

If Hicks were a US soldier facing a Court Martial, the case would have been dismissed according to US military legal folks. And, if Hicks were a US citizen, he would not be allowed to be tried by the court at Guantanamo because the US courts have ruled that the trials at Guantanamo are unconstitutional and deny basic legal rights and process.

So, if Johnno wants to impress us, he should be trying to STOP the trial and demanding that DH be return to Australia, not demanding he be tried ASAP in a court that even the US wouldn’t let their people face.

Anyway, aside from that, the article goes on to say that our evil Justice overlord, Attorney-General Philip Ruddock has raised the issue of how Hicks might feel if he was brought home before getting a chance to clear his name.

What a joke!  Hicks’ US military lawyer, Major Michael Mori, said: “David Hicks won’t complain if they bring him home (and) he didn’t get to clear his name.”

When reminded that many in government had not always presumed Hicks innocent (news terrorist adds: The whole freaking Johnno Howard axis of evil), Mr Ruddock said that he, as principal law officer, always had. “I have never asserted guilt,” he said.

Does anyone need proof that Philip Ruddock is really a closet Darth Vader cross-dresser? 

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Hicks not suffering mentally – US Army Doctor

Last week David Hick’s lawyer said that Hicks was in a bad way mentally after over a year over solitary confinement, and living in Hotel Guantanamo.

Yesterday, I read this:

United States authorities insist there’s nothing to suggest David Hicks’ mental health is suffering.

They turned down an Australian request to send in an independent psychologist and instead had their own doctors check on the psychiatric health of the Adelaide-born father of two, who’s been locked up in Guantanamo Bay for five years.

The Guantanamo doctor gave Hicks a clean bill of health, indicating there was nothing to suggest the Australian terror suspect was suffering depression or anxiety.

What a load of Bull Shit. How obvious is it that they are hiding the truth? How can Johnno Howard and that foreign affairs prick be such suck-ups?

Anyway, the article went on to describe what senators were told in a parliamentary hearing earlier this week about Hicks’ surroundings and daily routine in the US military prison in Cuba:

Last December he was moved to Camp Six, described this week as more humane by the US commander in charge at Guantanamo.

Hicks lives in a cell 3.6 by 2.3 metres that receives no direct sunlight, is climate controlled at 25 degrees Celsius and has glass observation panels for prison staff to check detainees aren’t trying to commit suicide.

He sleeps on a double bunk bed, but has no roommate, and has a plastic table, a seat and bookshelf in his cell for reading and writing.

But the bookshelf is mostly empty. He has 52 books but is only allowed two in his cell at any one time.

Toilet paper is rationed – he’s allowed 30 sheets at a time – because others at Guantanamo have used it to block the toilets and cause flooding.

The Americans describe it as a security issue.

Hicks is kept in his cell for 22-hour stretches. For two hours a day – which can be at any time of the day or night – he is allowed into the exercise yard.

But, for whatever reason, he was refused the privilege 21 times last month, meaning he was in his cell for 24 hours.

AAP

Hicks’ health ok, says US doctor – World – smh.com.au

‘Horny’ Hawkins ad ban

Saw this ad on a wall in town the other day. It just had the word “horny?”. At the time I didn’t notice that the toy Jennifer is holding is a rhino.

Actually I don’t think I noticed she was holding a toy.

The banned ad.

The banned ad.

New Zealand airport officials deny they lack a sense of humour, despite banning a billboard with a lacy bra-clad Jennifer Hawkins clutching a stuffed rhino with the caption: “Feeling horny?”

The lingerie ad featuring Australia’s former Miss Universe was declined by Auckland International Airport, which felt it was a “step too far”.

“The bottom line is the airport has a vast array of people of different nationalities, different ages, and our view was that it was just not in keeping with general airport image and brand,” the airport’s general manager retail Nick Forbes told NZPA.

GUANTANAMO Bay is a lawless prison: Hicks Lawyer

I saw Major Mori on tv a night a go and he had some interesting things to say about the conditions Hicks is currently being held in, and about the trial, Guantanamo Bay etc.

He is being kept in solitary confinement, in a metal room with no windows, for 22 hours a day. He has been held in these conditions for over a year.

Just read this in The Age:

GUANTANAMO Bay is a lawless prison run by the CIA and US interrogators using CIA techniques of subjugation and degradation, David Hicks’ Adelaide lawyer said yesterday on his return from Cuba.

David McLeod, a conservative military lawyer and decorated army legal reservist, said he was “shirt-fronted” by the US military last week because he talked to the media about the conditions in which Hicks was held.

“I was subjected to a rather aggressive interrogation by one of the officials there for talking to the media in the way that I have,” he said. “This is the standard approach, this is what happens when a lawless place like Guantanamo Bay is subject to scrutiny.”

Mr McLeod would not reveal details of the interrogation but said Guantanamo Bay was a lawless place that sought to avoid public scrutiny.

Mr McLeod spoke emotionally of having to leave Hicks behind.

The move by the US military prosecution to announce charges against Hicks the day after his legal team left was an act of “bastardry”. “I think he would be absolutely devastated by the fact that occurred in the absence of his legal team that had been there talking to him for four days,” Mr McLeod said.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister John Howard has defended the determination of the US authorities to charge Hicks with attempted murder.

Click for Full Age Article

Prominent British Jews form group that does NOT support Israel

Good on them! Perhaps this could rub off here in Australia, where the Jewish community appears to be rabidly pro-Israel.

The groups website appears to be: http://jewishvoices.squarespace.com/ 

From The Age:

More than 100 prominent British Jews have formed a breakaway group in response to a perceived pro-Israel bias among the country’s major Jewish organizations, it was reported today.

According to The Independent daily, Independent Jewish Voices’s (IJV) founding declaration reads: “Those who claim to speak on behalf of Jews in Britain and other countries consistently put support for the policies of an occupying power above the human rights of the occupied people”.

Among those who have signed IJV’s declaration are the Nobel Prize-winning playwright Harold Pinter, the prominent historian Eric Hobsbawm, the film director Mike Leigh, the human rights lawyer Geoffrey Bindman and actor Stephen Fry, according to The Guardian.

“It is important for non-Jews to know that there are Jews … who do not agree with the apparent consensus within the Jewish community that the only good Jew is one who supports Israel,” Hobsbawm told The Independent.

A spokeswoman for the group told The Independent that it hopes to create an opportunity for Jews to express opinions “without being accused of disloyalty or being dismissed as self-hating”. “The idea is to create a platform for critical debate about the situation in the Middle East that until now has not existed,” she said.

Source: British Jews split over Israel – World – theage.com.au

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Israel keeps expanding into Palestinian lands in the Jordan Valley / West Bank

According to an Article in The Age:

Over the past year the Israeli Army has quietly isolated the Jordan Valley from the rest of the West Bank by setting up a separate Palestinian population register and banning non-resident Palestinians from entering the area. Restrictions on Palestinian movements continue to increase, despite Israeli government assurances that the opposite is happening.

Established Jewish settlements are being expanded with official sanction while far-right settlers working with unofficial state backing continue to expand and increase “unofficial” settlement outposts – both processes contrary to Israel’s repeated international assurances.

Last week the Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert, authorized the shifting of Israel’s 600 kilometre-long separation barrier – denounced as a land-grab by Palestinians and ruled illegal by the International Court of Justice at The Hague – a further 5 kilometres deeper into the West Bank.