British trade unionists attack Blair’s privatization and Iraq war


Tony Blair and his lies, cartoon

From London daily News Line:

Wednesday, 14 June 2006

BLAIR HAS QUESTIONS TO ANSWER

THE question and answer session with Prime Minister Blair at the GMB conference yesterday just illustrated the unbridgeable gulf between him and the working class, a gulf that was evident to both sides.

Rowena Howard of South-Western Region asked: ‘Why do you undermine local democracy – selling off schools, selling our future, insisting that council housing should be sold off, that care homes are privatised, where profit comes before care?’

A Northern Region delegate asked why shipbuilding ‘has not received an order from the Ministry of Defence for years’.

Blair replied lamely: ‘We don’t seem to agree on local democracy.’

He defended council house privatisation and went on to claim ‘Trusts’ and Academies’ assets revert to the local authority’ at the end of their contracts.

On shipbuilding jobs he said ‘it is difficult because there is not a lot of work and there is a lot of competition’.

A Southern Region delegate told Blair that hospitals had made great advances in care.

He added: ‘We work hard to get targets met but payment by results, patient choice and independent treatment centres are putting all that at risk. We need to talk about this.’

London Region asked: ‘Do you think a Gordon Brown premiership will be any better than your own and when are you going to say when you are going?’

Blair replied: ‘Enough has been said about that last question’ refusing to even attempt an answer.

Blair continued: ‘On the NHS, patient choice isn’t putting all that at risk as you say’.

A delegate from Lancashire region asked: ‘Why did you go to war on a lie?

You told us Iraq had WMDs. It didn’t.

You told us al-Qaeda were in Iraq – they weren’t, but they are now.

When are you going to get our troops home?’

A Dorset delegate asked: ‘Is it fair for MPs to retire on full pensions when the people who elected them are being told to work longer for less pension?’

Blair claimed: ‘The pension rules apply to everyone.’

‘On Iraq,’ he added, ‘You say we should bring our troops home now.

What is happening today is different from what happened under Saddam.’

2 thoughts on “British trade unionists attack Blair’s privatization and Iraq war

  1. CIA: Osama Helped Bush in ’04
    By Robert Parry
    July 4, 2006

    On Oct. 29, 2004, just four days before the U.S. presidential election, al-Qaeda leader Osama bin-Laden released a videotape denouncing George W. Bush. Some Bush supporters quickly spun the diatribe as “Osama’s endorsement of John Kerry.” But behind the walls of the CIA, analysts had concluded the opposite: that bin-Laden was trying to help Bush gain a second term.

    This stunning CIA disclosure is tucked away in a brief passage near the end of Ron Suskind’s The One Percent Doctrine, which draws heavily from CIA insiders. Suskind wrote that the CIA analysts based their troubling assessment on classified information, but the analysts still puzzled over exactly why bin-Laden wanted Bush to stay in office.

    According to Suskind’s book, CIA analysts had spent years “parsing each expressed word of the al-Qaeda leader and his deputy, [Ayman] Zawahiri. What they’d learned over nearly a decade is that bin-Laden speaks only for strategic reasons. .

    “Their [the CIA’s] assessments, at day’s end, are a distillate of the kind of secret, internal conversations that the American public [was] not sanctioned to hear: strategic analysis. Today’s conclusion: bin-Laden’s message was clearly designed to assist the President’s reelection.

    “At the five o’clock meeting, [deputy CIA director] John McLaughlin opened the issue with the consensus view: ‘Bin-Laden certainly did a nice favor today for the President.'”

    McLaughlin’s comment drew nods from CIA officers at the table. Jami Miscik, CIA deputy associate director for intelligence, suggested that the al-Qaeda founder may have come to Bush’s aid because bin-Laden felt threatened by the rise in Iraq of Jordanian terrorist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi; bin-Laden might have thought his leadership would be diminished if Bush lost the White House and their “eye-to-eye struggle” ended.

    But the CIA analysts also felt that bin-Laden might have recognized how Bush’s policies – including the Guantanamo prison camp, the Abu Ghraib scandal and the endless bloodshed in Iraq – were serving al-Qaeda’s strategic goals for recruiting a new generation of jihadists.

    “Certainly,” the CIA’s Miscik said, “he would want Bush to keep doing what he’s doing for a few more years,” according to Suskind’s account of the meeting.

    As their internal assessment sank in, the CIA analysts drifted into silence, troubled by the implications of their own conclusions. “An ocean of hard truths before them – such as what did it say about U.S. policies that bin-Laden would want Bush reelected – remained untouched,” Suskind wrote.

    One immediate consequence of bin-Laden breaking nearly a year of silence to issue the videotape the weekend before the U.S. presidential election was to give the Bush campaign a much needed boost. From a virtual dead heat, Bush opened up a six-point lead, according to one poll.

    Symbiotic Relationship

    The implications of this new evidence are troubling, too, for the American people as they head toward another election in November 2006 that also is viewed as a referendum on Bush’s prosecution of the “war on terror.”

    As we have reported previously at Consortiumnews.com, a large body of evidence already existed supporting the view that the Bushes and the bin-Ladens have long operated with a symbiotic relationship that may be entirely unspoken but nevertheless has been a case of each family acting in ways that advance the interests of the other. [See “Osama’s Briar Patch” or “Is Bush al-Qaeda’s ‘Useful Idiot?'”]

    Before al-Qaeda launched the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks against New York and Washington, Bush was stumbling in a presidency that many Americans felt was headed nowhere. As Bush took a month-long vacation at his Texas ranch in August 2001, his big issue was a plan to restrict stem-cell research on moral grounds.

    Privately, Bush’s neoconservative advisers were chafing under what they saw as the complacency of the American people unwilling to take on the mantle of global policeman as the world’s sole superpower. The neocons hoped for some “Pearl Harbor” incident that would galvanize a public consensus for action against Iraq and other “rogue states.”

    Other senior administration officials, such as Vice President Dick Cheney, dreamed of the restoration of the imperial presidency that – after Richard Nixon’s Watergate scandal – had been cut down to size by Congress, the courts and the press. Only a national crisis would create a cover for a new assertion of presidential power.

    Meanwhile, halfway around the world, bin-Laden and his al-Qaeda militants were facing defeat after defeat. Their brand of Islamic fundamentalism had been rejected in Muslim societies from Algeria and Egypt to Saudi Arabia and Jordan. Bin-Laden and his lieutenants had even been expelled from the Sudan.

    Bin-Laden’s extremists had been chased to the farthest corners of the planet, in this case the caves of Afghanistan. At this critical juncture, al-Qaeda’s brain trust decided that their best hope was to strike at the United States and count on a clumsy reaction that would offend the Islamic world and rally angry young Muslims to al-Qaeda’s banner.

    So, by early summer 2001, the clock ticked down to 9/11 as 19 al-Qaeda operatives positioned themselves inside the United States and prepared to attack. But U.S. intelligence analysts picked up evidence of al-Qaeda’s plans by sifting through the “chatter” of electronic intercepts. The U.S. warning system was “blinking red.”

    ‘Something So Big’

    Over the weekend of July Fourth 2001, a well-placed U.S. intelligence source passed on a disturbing piece of information to then-New York Times reporter Judith Miller, who later recounted the incident in an interview with Alternet.

    “The person told me that there was some concern about an intercept that had been picked up,” Miller said. “The incident that had gotten everyone’s attention was a conversation between two members of al-Qaeda. And they had been talking to one another, supposedly expressing disappointment that the United States had not chosen to retaliate more seriously against what had happened to the [destroyer USS] Cole [which was bombed on Oct. 12, 2000].

    “And one al-Qaeda operative was overheard saying to the other, ‘Don’t worry; we’re planning something so big now that the U.S. will have to respond.'”

    In the Alternet interview, published in May 2006 after Miller resigned from the Times, the reporter expressed regret that she had not been able to nail down enough details about the intercept to get the story into the newspaper.

    But the significance of her recollection is that more than two months before the 9/11 attacks, the CIA knew that al-Qaeda was planning a major attack with the intent of inciting a U.S. military reaction – or in this case, an overreaction.

    The CIA tried to warn Bush about the threat on Aug. 6, 2001, with the hope that presidential action could energize government agencies and head off the attack. The CIA sent analysts to his ranch in Crawford, Texas, to brief him and deliver a report entitled “Bin Laden Determined to Strike in US.”

    Bush was not pleased by the intrusion. He glared at the CIA briefer and snapped, “All right, you’ve covered your ass,” according to Suskind’s book.

    Then, putting the CIA’s warning in the back of his mind and ordering no special response, Bush returned to a vacation of fishing, clearing brush and working on a speech about stem-cell research.

    Al-Qaeda’s Gamble

    For its part, al-Qaeda was running a risk that the United States might strike a precise and devastating blow against the terrorist organization, eliminating it as an effective force without alienating much of the Muslim world.

    If that happened, the cause of Islamic extremism could have been set back years, without eliciting much sympathy from most Muslims for a band of killers who wantonly murdered innocent civilians.

    After the 9/11 attacks, al-Qaeda’s gamble almost failed as the CIA, backed by U.S. Special Forces, ousted bin-Laden’s Taliban allies in Afghanistan and cornered much of the al-Qaeda leadership in the mountains of Tora Bora near the Pakistani border.

    But instead of using U.S. ground troops to seal the border, Bush relied on the Pakistani army, which was known to have mixed sympathies about al-Qaeda. The Pakistani army moved its blocking force belatedly into position while bin-Laden and others from his inner circle escaped.

    Then, instead of staying focused on bin-Laden and his fellow fugitives, Bush moved on to other objectives. Bush shifted U.S. Special Forces away from bin-Laden and al-Qaeda and toward Saddam Hussein and Iraq.

    Many U.S. terrorism experts, including White House counterterrorism czar Richard Clarke, were shocked at this strategy, since the intelligence community didn’t believe that Hussein’s secular dictatorship had any working relationship with al-Qaeda – and had no role in the 9/11 attacks.

    Nevertheless, Bush ordered an invasion of Iraq on March 19, 2003, ousting Hussein from power but also unleashing mayhem across Iraqi society. Soon, the Iraq War – combined with controversies over torture and mistreatment of Muslim detainees – were serving as recruitment posters for al-Qaeda.

    Under Jordanian exile Zarqawi, al-Qaeda set up terrorist cells in central Iraq, taking root amid the weeds of sectarian violence and the nation’s general anarchy. Instead of an obscure group of misfits, al-Qaeda was achieving legendary status among many Muslims as the defenders of the Islamic holy lands, battling the new “crusaders” led by Bush.

    Back in the USA

    Meanwhile, back in the United States, the 9/11 attacks had allowed Bush to reinvent himself as the “war president” who operated almost without oversight. He saw his approval ratings surge from the 50s to the 90s – and watched as the Republican Party consolidated its control of the U.S. Congress in 2002.

    Though the worsening bloodshed in Iraq eroded Bush’s popularity in 2004, political adviser Karl Rove still framed the election around Bush’s aggressive moves to defend the United States and to punish American enemies.

    Whereas Bush was supposedly resolute, Democrat Kerry was portrayed as weak and indecisive, a “flip-flopper.” Kerry, however, scored some political points in the presidential debates by citing the debacle at Tora Bora that enabled bin-Laden to escape.

    The race was considered neck-and-neck as it turned toward the final weekend of campaigning. Then, the shimmering image of Osama bin-Laden appeared on American televisions, speaking directly to the American people, mocking Bush and offering a kind of truce if U.S. forces withdrew from the Middle East.

    “He [Bush] was more interested in listening to the child’s story about the goat rather than worry about what was happening to the [twin] towers,” bin-Laden said. “So, we had three times the time necessary to accomplish the events. Your security is not in the hands of Kerry or Bush or al-Qaeda. Your security is in your own hands. Any nation that does not attack us will not be attacked.”

    Though both Bush and Kerry denounced bin-Laden’s statement, right-wing pundits, bloggers and talk-show hosts portrayed it as an effort to hurt Bush and help Kerry – which understandably prompted the exact opposite reaction among many Americans. [For instance, conservative blog site, Little Green Footballs, headlined its Oct. 31, 2004, commentary as “Bin Laden Threatens U.S. States Not to Vote for Bush.”]

    However, behind the walls of secrecy at Langley, Virginia, U.S. intelligence experts reviewed the evidence and concluded that bin-Laden had precisely the opposite intent. He was fully aware that his videotape would encourage the American people to do the opposite of what he recommended.

    By demanding an American surrender, bin-Laden knew U.S. voters would instinctively want to fight. That way bin-Laden helped ensure that George W. Bush would stay in power, would continue his clumsy “war on terror” – and would drive thousands of new recruits into al-Qaeda’s welcoming arms.

    ——————————————————————————–

    Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories in the 1980s for the Associated Press and Newsweek. His latest book, Secrecy & Privilege: Rise of the Bush Dynasty from Watergate to Iraq, can be ordered at secrecyandprivilege.com. It’s also available at Amazon.com, as is his 1999 book, Lost History: Contras, Cocaine, the Press & ‘Project Truth.’

    Story link: http://www.consortiumnews.com/2006/070306.html

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  2. Fox News again attempted to link Saddam and Al Qaeda
    Posted by: “rondea@juno.com” rondea@juno.com marsfair
    Date: Wed Jul 12, 2006 9:17 pm (PDT)

    Fox News motto should be, “Making it up as we go along”.

    —————————————-
    action@mediamatters.org

    If at first you don’t succeed: Fox News again attempted to link Saddam
    and Al Qaeda
    http://mediamatters.org/items/200607120001

    In a report aired on the July 6 editions of Fox News’ The Big Story with John Gibson and Special Report with Brit Hume, Fox News correspondent Reena Ninan advanced the discredited claim that “45,000 boxes of Arabic-language Iraqi documents captured by American troops” have revealed the purported connection between Saddam Hussein and Al Qaeda that the Bush administration repeatedly suggested in the run-up to the Iraq war. After reporting that “a Fox News team” led by blogger and former Army officer Ray Robison had studied some of the documents and found that they support the purported Saddam-Al Qaeda link, Ninan reported that the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) stated that “[t]he U.S. government has made no determination regarding the authenticity of the documents, validity, or factual accuracy of the information contained therein.” In fact, senior intelligence officials have dismissed any suggestion that the documents provide evidence of a Saddam-Al Qaeda link, according to a March 28 New York Times report.

    On The Big Story, guest host Julie Banderas introduced the segment by declaring that “documents captured in Iraq may link Saddam Hussein to Al Qaeda after all,” adding that Ninan’s report was “for all those naysayers who said, ‘Saddam Hussein, Osama bin Laden, no way, they didn’t know each other before 9-11.’ ” Ninan reported on a document flagged by Robison — “apparently written before the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks” — that purportedly instructed Arab soldiers in Afghanistan on how to “avoid being detected.” Later in her report, Ninan included a statement by former CIA analyst Mike Baker that the documents suggest “Saddam viewed the Taliban, perhaps not as an ally but as an element that he didn’t want to — he didn’t want to miss an opportunity.” Ninan concluded the report by noting DNI’s disclaimer that it could not vouch for the authenticity of the documents, and then informing viewers that “Robison’s translation [of the documents] and their interpretation are available in their entirety as part of our exclusive Saddam dossier series on foxnews.com.”

    As Media Matters for America has documented, Big Story host John Gibson touted the documents on March 24, stating: “This is the Bush-lied story. No WMDs, no connection with bin Laden, no connection with 9-11, no connection with any attacks on the United States. Now these documents are saying, yes, all that’s true.” Right-wing weblogs such as Captain’s Quarters, Flopping Aces, The QandO Blog, and Hot Air also touted Robison’s purported findings on June 26. Robison has also cited several of the documents to allege that Iraq possessed weapons of mass
    destruction before the war.

    And while Media Matters could not find a specific example of an intelligence official addressing the claim in the document Ninan cited that Iraqi soldiers were in Afghanistan, there’s no evidence that the documents released by the DNI proved a significant connection between Iraq and Al Qaeda. As The New York Times reported on March 28, senior intelligence and Bush administration officials dismissed the significance of the documents when they were first posted on the Internet, and expressed from the outset “serious concerns about turning loose an army of amateurs on a warehouse full of raw documents that include hearsay, disinformation and forgery”: Under pressure from Congressional Republicans, the director of national intelligence has begun a yearlong process of posting on the Web 48,000 boxes of Arabic-language Iraqi documents captured by American troops.

    Less than two weeks into the project, and with only 600 out of possibly a million documents and video and audio files posted, some conservative bloggers are already asserting that the material undermines the official view.

    On his blog last week, Ray Robison, a former Army officer from Alabama, quoted a document reporting a supposed scheme to put anthrax into American leaflets dropped in Iraq and declared: “Saddam’s W.M.D. and terrorist connections all proven in one document!!!”

    Not so, American intelligence officials say. “Our view is there’s nothing in here that changes what we know today,” said a senior intelligence official, who would discuss the program only on condition of anonymity because the director of national intelligence, John D. Negroponte, directed his staff to avoid public debates over the documents. “There is no smoking gun on W.M.D., Al Qaeda, those kinds of issues.”

    All the documents, which are available on fmso.leavenworth.army.mil/products-docex.htm, have received at least a
    quick review by Arabic linguists and do not alter the government’s
    official stance, officials say. On some tapes already released, in fact, Mr. Hussein expressed frustration that he did not have unconventional weapons.

    Intelligence officials had serious concerns about turning loose an army of amateurs on a warehouse full of raw documents that include hearsay, disinformation and forgery. Mr. Negroponte’s office attached a disclaimer to the documents, only a few of which have been translated into English, saying the government did not vouch for their authenticity.

    Another administration official described the political logic: “If anyone in the intelligence community thought there was valid information in those documents that supported either of those questions — W.M.D. or Al Qaeda — they would have shouted them from the rooftops.”

    In a May 28 op-ed in the Times, New America Foundation senior fellow Peter Bergen wrote about the released documents and concluded: “It’s long been known that Iraqi officials were playing footsie with Al Qaeda in the mid-1990’s, but these desultory contacts never yielded any cooperation.” Robison himself noted the possibility that the document was not from Iraq. On the Fox News website, Robison wrote that the “document does not identify the country of origin of these Arab men” but that “it’s a logical omission since it wouldn’t make sense to name the country in a memo whose purpose is to instruct how to hide one’s nationality.”

    From the July 6 edition of Fox News’ The Big Story with John Gibson:

    BANDERAS: Well, documents captured in Iraq may link Saddam Hussein to Al Qaeda after all, and the Taliban. Fox’s Reena Ninan has the story, and for all those naysayers who said, “Saddam Hussein, Osama bin Laden, no way, they didn’t know each other before 9-11.”

    NINAN: Well, the big question, Julie, is, you know, did Saddam Hussein secretly send military operatives to work with the Taliban and Al Qaeda in Afghanistan before September 11th? Well, declassified documents suggest that it’s emerged from an exclusive Fox News investigation that thousands of documents — which come from thousands of documents captured in Iraq. Among the documents a manual, a how-to manual for undercover Arabic-speaking operatives and families living in Afghan city of Kandahar. These and other documents now being translated and studied by a Fox News team led by Roy [sic] Robison, a former U.S. military analyst and former member of the CIA’s Iraq’s Survey Group.

    ROBISON [video clip]: This document appears to be a manual written by somebody to a group of Arab military, Arab soldiers. These soldiers are en route to join other soldiers who are apparently already in Afghanistan. It’s a secret facility that they are going to.

    NINAN: The document, according to Robison, appears to be written before 2001 and instructs Arab operatives inside Afghanistan how to avoid being detected. The operatives were warned to avoid speaking Arabic where ordinary Afghans might overhear them. The document also advises the operatives to avoid being tracked by, quote, “the enemy,” saying to “behave as if enemies would strike at any moment.”

    Fox News and Orbison [sic] last month revealed and analyzed the contents of a 1999 notebook kept by an Iraqi intelligence agent. It documents meetings between top Saddam officials and the Taliban and tentative agreements on cooperation. One former CIA analyst says that’s not surprising.

    MIKE BAKER (former CIA analyst) [video clip]: Certainly you would read the documents that are out now, it does seem as if Saddam viewed the Taliban, perhaps not as an ally but as an element that he didn’t want to — he didn’t want to miss an opportunity.

    NINAN: The Office of the Director of National Intelligence had this to say about the documents: “The U.S. government has made no determination regarding the authenticity of the documents, validity, or factual accuracy of the information contained therein.”

    More than 45,000 boxes of Arabic-language Iraqi documents captured by American troops were declassified earlier this year and posted on the Internet. Robison’s translation and their interpretation are available in their entirety as part of our exclusive Saddam dossier series on foxnews.com. Julie.

    Contact:
    Fox News ChannelFOX News Channel
    1-888-369-4762
    Comments@foxnews.com
    1211 Avenue of the Americas
    New York, NY 10036

    Contact:
    Special Report with Brit Humespecial@foxnews.com

    Contact:
    The Big Story with John GibsonThe Big Story with John Gibson

    http://thisandthatat.blogspot.com

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