Political

Six Londonderry men and seven teenagers were shot dead by soldiers of the British Parachute Regiment on Sunday 30 January 1972. Five of the wounded were shot in the back. The Widgery Tribunal was convened rapidly. The dead and wounded had been in a march with over 7000 people protesting against internment without trial. The Widgery Tribunal was appointed under the Tribunals of Inquiry (Evidence) Act 1921.

Lord Chief Justice Widgery held a preliminary hearing two weeks after the murders and reported in April. (1) He said that if the march, which had been banned by the British authorities along with all public demonstrations, had not taken place there would not have been any deaths. By the same token, if British army rifles had not been fired there would have been no casualties. Furthermore, he stated 'There is no reason to suppose that the soldiers would have opened fire if they had not been fired upon first," he said. This lie did not run but it limped.

SDLP MP John Hume said his conclusions were a "whitewash" and called for his resignation. The results of the inquiry were rejected by Republican people who began a long campaign for a fresh investigation. In August 1973 an inquest jury returned an open verdict on the 14 people who had died. The coroner, Major Hubert O'Neill, accused the British army of "sheer unadulterated murder". Brave humans tower above the Lilliputian in man's descent. The Saville Inquiry started in 1998 and its very long report is published this week.

For Virtue, Vibrio and God

The paramount war criminal used more tons of aviation fuel flying to the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington ten days ago. The CFR sounds like one of the more benign 'think' tanks among the hundreds there. On its board sits Mrs 'The Price is Worth It' Albright and General Plutonium Powell. The gist of the speech given by the envoy for the Quartet was two fold.

Firstly the natives in the ineptly named West Bank (the west side of the Jordan Valley having been robbed from them) have been pacified in Jenin by Palestinian Authority security forces. The quisling nature of these forces who were trained by the CIA in Jericho and Jordan escaped mention of course. So too did the fact that these forces often go for Palestinian "targets" provided by Israel. Ord Wingate trained the "special night squads" in the 1930s and they included trainee Zionist terrorists. The brutal methods spawned by the British mandate have bore fruiting bodies in Israel. Now, the PA has taken the bloodied baton. A phalanx of pick-ups with armed thugs in balaclavas beats the family door down in the early hours. The family sobs in the street whilst the furniture is destroyed and a son is snatched for 'interrogation'. Thus is Jenin pacified and it becomes Blair's exemplar for a new 'state' which has to provide security as its first duty. That security comes down the barrel of a gun and through the local Abu Ghraib from whence the tortured corpse of Sheikh Barghouti was carried in February of this year. 'The Israelis have been able to step back' says the envoy. 'On to this can be grafted economic and social progress'.

How Britain's political and military leadership pays scant regard to justice and the law, especially when it comes to the Palestine-Israel conflict.

In the crossbenches stands Lord Boyce, former British Chief of Defence Staff. In a “defence” debate with his peers on 22 November 2007, he spoke of blood on the deck of the Ministry of Defence; fellow warriors have been pleading for the weapons and leaving almost empty handed. Brown without an 'e' is in the frame. The register of peers' interests show that this ex-sailor [Lord Boyce] holds a remunerated directorship in VT Group plc. This little business sells warships to Her Majesty’s Government, among other boys' toys. Hansard records no declaration of his possible interest in the hardware central to the debate..

General Lord Guthrie GCB, LVO, OBE, DL and Chief of Defence Staff before Lord Boyce, filled the chamber with his honeyed voice. This soldier had a similar view to the sailor. Now, the register shows him to be a part of Colt Defense LLC. Assault rifles is its stock in trade and security services another string to a deadly bow. Few “defence” companies can neglect an “industry” which is third only to oil and killing in Iraq, and which is yet another facet of the supreme international war crime from which all other crimes flow. Hansard – no pecuniary interest in this debate was declared by him.

David Halpin considers the hypocrisy of British Minister for International Development Shahid Malik, who whinges at being held by the US authorities while on a trip to the USA but condones state-sponsored Anglo-American aggression.

This minister in the Department of International Development was delayed for 40 minutes at Washington's Dulles airport by security officials whilst his luggage was searched for traces of explosive. He had been at meetings to do with tackling “terrorism”.

The same happened at New York's JFK airport last November when two other Muslims were held aside. On that visit he had been a keynote speaker at an event organized by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), alongside the FBI and Muslim organizations, to talk about tackling extremism and defeating terrorism. The Register of Member's Interests records that his flights and accommodation were paid for by the Pakistan Cultural Association (?where), the FBI and Homeland Security.

The dedicated fibre optic cable between Downing Street and White City that replaced the earlier cosy channels of communication is in danger of meltdown.

On Friday of last week we were treated to a BBC ‘exclusive’. Twenty ‘Al Qaeda’ personnel had been arrested three months previously in the Yemen. They had ‘confessed’ to planning a truck bombing of the British Embassy there. A connection with Iran was conveniently alleged. By midnight the Iran bit was omitted and by next morning ‘confessed’ had become ‘admitted’. The rawness of the word torture needs to be kept from our sleeping populations, as well as the fact that we provide both the political and electrical stimuli for such.