A bearded man of avuncular appearance had started early in replying to e-mails on the 17th July 2003. He was in the office of his pretty cottage, with the scent of roses telling of an English summer. The little village of Southmoor was stirring. He was to send over 80 via one of five hard drives and mostly in reply. Some would be encrypted because he was writing to friends and colleagues who like him shared secrets in the field of “WMDs”. And some would be human and ordinary as from a father of three daughters. He had delighted in seeing a new born foal and arranged to take his daughter Rachel down the village that Thursday evening to see young life together.
Many of the e-mails in his inbox were from friends expressing sympathy for his having been put through the mangle of the state machine; his responses were hopeful. In one he spoke of arrangements having been made for his return to Iraq in 8 days; he was looking forward to that. This man from the Welsh Valleys graduated with his DSc in microbiology from Linacre College, Oxford in 1971. He joined the Civil Service in 1984 and was acting head of the Porton Down ‘Defence’ Microbiology Division for 10 years. These functions on Salisbury Plain widened (1)
In 1989, he was involved in investigations into the Soviet violations of the 1972 Biological Weapons Convention and was a key member of the inspection team visiting the former USSR between 1991 and 1994. He was much valued as an interrogator and sought after round the world for his deep knowledge and sharp intelligence.
He was a member of the UNSCOM team finding and disabling germ and chemical weapons in Iraq. He would have seen the irony that almost all of these had been supplied to Iraq by western nations, including an anthrax strain that was originally cultured from a cow in Oxfordshire before WW2 (2). He visited 37 times between 1991 and 1998, when the team was pulled out before the bombing campaign of Operation Desert Fox. (3) He must have known that UNSCOM was also a cover for spying; the coordinates of defence systems and much else were being recorded for the later destruction of Babylon.
‘The same mission folders that UNSCOM put together to inspect specific buildings and offices in its search for concealed Iraqi weapons of mass destruction (WMD) became the basis for the targeting folders that missile launchers and pilots used in December (Desert Fox).‘ William Arkin (4)
Was he aware too during those years of the terrible suffering and the death toll of children arising from ‘sanctions’ due to foul drinking water, lack of food and medicines? This most keen observer and family man would surely have got to know.
He had the highest level of security clearance from the SIS of the US and the UK but he was not on the payroll of MI6, it is said. He was attached to the Proliferation and Arms Control Secretariat of the Ministry of Defence whilst the Foreign and Commonwealth Office paid him. His base remained the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory at Porton Down. He translated ‘intelligence’ into the language of science and was required to explain scientific matters within his ambit for the media when asked.
He was an important part of the complex and clandestine mechanism which was lighting slow fuses for the demolition of Iraq and for the prime benefit of an entity just two borders away. The hunt for “WMDs” in the land of the two rivers had a hollow ring given the three nearest countries – ‘Israel’, Pakistan and India have not had their nuclear weapons inspected by the IAEA. As for germ weapons (5), of the 16 non-signatory states ‘Israel’ is one and ‘No action is expected in near future.’
US, UK and UN hypocrisies flourished in the sun. UNSCOM begat UNMOVIC and UNMOVIC begat IRG. How was it this sober scientist was involved with this sham? Saddam’s Iraq had been supported in its war with Iran and April Glaspie the US Ambassador to Iraq had later passed him the green light to invade Kuwait. The litany of black lies was long and blood soaked. The ‘turkey shoot’ as Iraqi soldiers and civilians streamed back from Kuwait under white flags ended with live burial for hundreds by US army bulldozers(6). In Baghdad, the charred remains of over 400 women and children in the Amiriya bomb shelter were testament to Allied and UN evil.(7&8) And were not the two laser guided bombs WMDs?
The context in which Dr Kelly did his duty for the UN and the UK has been outlined. The intelligence for targeting, bridgeheads etc was in place. The paramount war criminal and psychopath, Anthony Blair, conspired with Bush in April 2002 at Crawford over blood oozing steaks to tear into Iraq. The black propaganda machine changed gear. A succession of signatories of The Project for the New American Century began appearing nightly, courtesy of the State Broadcaster, the BBC. We could soon tell Wolfowitz from Bolton, and Perle from Bolton. Mangold tried to scare the pants off vulnerable members of the UK public in September 2002 with sarin in the Tokyo tube and with all the focus on the rogue regime. The Sun carried the headline “Brits 45mins from doom” to its 6 million readers. The prescription of Oded Yinon from the ‘Israeli’ Ministry of Foreign Affairs was being followed to the letter (9). “Iraq, rich in oil on the one hand and internally torn on the other, is guaranteed as a candidate for Israel’s targets. Its dissolution is even more important for us than that of Syria.”
And so it was, that against majority opinion in the UK and the truth, a massive invasion and bombardment started 22nd March 2003. It had been planned since 1988. (10) A sceptical British public became more certain that the hell had been conjured up and brought to earth. On May 29 the author heard Andrew Gilligan at 6.20 am on the premier propaganda programme, the BBC’s Today, say that a source had told him the ‘September’ dossier had been enhanced. (There was probably no mention of the ‘Iraq Dossier’ of 3rd February which within 3 days was shown by Rangwala to be fake throughout. (11) ) The hunt started slowly, but soon the ‘government’ hounds were in full cry. Hoon and Campbell were out in front. Journalists were encouraged to call the MoD and to state the name of a suspect. Given that experts in the field were few, David Kelly’s identity as a possible source soon emerged. This act of treachery was wrong on two counts. Firstly the confidentiality of the names of public servants in charges of this sort is usually maintained. Secondly, anybody with his ‘security’ attachments should have had his identity concealed both for his sake and for the operational integrity of the establishments. The furore flowing from the ‘outing’ was fierce. The quarry felt the heat of slavering hounds about his neck.
He was called, improperly given his post, before the Foreign Affairs Committee of the House of Commons on the 15th, two days before he ‘walked’. The BBC film of an anxious man wheeling quickly into the elaborate building with his minders was played numerous times and perhaps to reinforce a picture of a man at the end of his tether. Later, at the Hutton Inquiry, it was reported this committee had concluded he was not Gilligan’s source. He was interrogated by the Intelligence and Security Committee the next day. The transcript (12) conveys a picture of a composed and honest man. There is evidence of self-delusion however:-
Howarth How did you arrive at your figure of 30% probability? It is appears to have a kind of exactitude, or is it meant to be merely illustrative?
Kelly Its illustrative, as an estimate
Howarth Illustrating a lot,a little?
Kelly Its verging to a little rather than to a lot
Mates Two to one against!
Dr Kelly had defined earlier in the hearing that he believed there was a 30% chance of ANY weapon containing biological or chemical agents. He does not appear to have revised his assessment when no such weapons were used by the Iraqi forces even though they were faced with total defeat.
Reference was made at this hearing to a letter from Hoon, the Minister of War . “…..in that normally it was Secretaries of State and heads of sections that came to give evidence and that it should not be taken as a precedent for calling in any junior official within that department.” Efforts were made to demean Dr Kelly but the evidence suggests he remained robust even though he was not used to such treatment in his very senior position.
David Kelly completed his correspondence on this the 17th of July, which included a report to the FCO, and changed from track suit into jeans and a shirt ready for a customary walk. He was described later by his wife Janice as being exhausted and shrunken within himself. She suffered from arthritis and had gone up stairs to rest on the bed. She heard him take a telephone call at about 3 pm (from Wing Commander Clarke at the MoD) and he then left for a walk. The W/Co ‘phoned again at 3.20 pm but he was away by then so Mrs Kelly answered. The W/Co ‘phoned every 15 minutes because Dr Kelly always had his cell phone with him and was always easy to contact. An ‘electronic’ voice said ‘the number you have rung is not reacting’, which is the normal one that one would expect if the telephone itself had been switched off. The number when dialled before 6 by James Harrison of the same office rang but there was no answer.
When he did not return the family were alerted. According to reports in the Guardian and Scotsman a lay search party was formed later that day, but no member was called to the inquiry (13&14). A Mrs Susan Melling was quoted. In these reports, a farmer Weaver (sic) – in fact Weaving, hailed Dr Kelly who was reported to be dressed in jeans and a shirt. Weaving might have been the last person to see Dr Kelly alive.(15) The importance of that in an inquiry into an unnatural death is obvious but he was not called either.
The family informed the police at 23.40 hours that he was missing, about 9 hours after he had left the house, and this in spite of the maelstrom swirling around the man and the very secret nature of his morbid work. The roses freshened in the night air and down the road the foal was nuzzling the mare.
David Halpin is a retired orthopaedic and trauma surgeon. He vehemently opposed the destruction of a sovereign Iraq and its people. The manner in which the investigation of this unnatural death was done and the principles of those who conducted it, will be examined in articles written by several authors which will appear twice per week in Global Research. Thus people will read what we perceive to be the truth and it will be a permanent record. We contend, on very good evidence, that due process has been subverted. We have been pleading for an inquest for 10 years and we will continue to do so as informed citizens who believe our law should rule supreme. ‘ Where ever the law ends, tyranny begins.’ John Locke 1675.
(13) http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2003/jul/19/uk.iraq4 Guardian 19 July 2003
(14) http://news.scotsman.com/huttoninquiry/Kelly-told-wife-this-wasnt.2445113.jp Scotsman 19 July 2003
Anxious, austerity-minded, but worldly: the young Britons of Generation A
Calls for a 5pc rise in welfare cash for our poorest OAPs
Bulgaria’s president calls for early elections amid mass anti-government protests
|The withering of America’s exception agriculturelle
Lacking the money for a proper stimulus and the time to wait for the healing power of austerity, Europe’s leaders have pinned their economic hopes on trade with the US. Negotiations on the proposed transatlantic trade and investment partnership, which …
See all stories on this topic »
|Ipsa: MPs’ role in our democracy ‘should be recognised’
Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (Ipsa) chairman Sir Ian Kennedy admitted that theausterity being felt by the country made its review of MPs’ salaries and pensions tougher, but said that the role MPs play in a democratic system means they …
See all stories on this topic »
|China: luxury dining goes mid market
Financial Times (registration) (blog)
There is plenty of room for skepticism about whether Beijing’s latest austerity drive will have any lasting impact on the per capita consumption of Lamborghinis by government officials. But in one area it clearly has had a marked effect: luxury dining.
See all stories on this topic »Italian austerity drive forces Vatican to pay more property tax
More ». Italian austerity drive forces Vatican to pay more property tax. News Date: 5th July 2013. The Vatican said Thursday it had to pay an extra 5 million euros (6.5 million dollars) in property tax last year as a result of austerity measures …
See all stories on this topic »
Dermot and Brendan Walsh have just published a provocative comment in the British Medical Journal on the link between health and austerity [http://www.bmj.com/content/346/bmj.f4140/rr/651853]. Momentary relief from the deliberations on Anglo! The comment reads: Ireland is – after Greece – the country where the post 2008 structural adjustment programme, aka austerity, has been proportionately most severe. Yet there are […] read full article
Invest in EU
|Austerity: the elderly can be part of the solution to this economic mess
Will Hutton is rightly appalled by the stupidity of George Osborne and the coalition’s economic policies, which even Vince Cable and the Lib Dems are now beginning to realise are taking us in an accelerating downward spiral (“Blame austerity, not old …
See all stories on this topic »
|Portland’s Austerity Resistance Movement Sparks Changes to City
Bay Area Indymedia
This latest round of cuts promised to be the worst of several successive years of austeritymeasures. Each time city officials have told the public that “temporary” sacrifices need to be made now to enable the economy toå turn around tomorrow. Each …
See all stories on this topic »
|France to deepen austerity cuts next year – paper
Times of Oman
France to deepen austerity cuts next year – paper. by Reuters June 29, 2013 , 7 : 38 pm SAVE THIS ARTICLE. Share. Tweet. E-mail. Young French people demonstrate against President Hollande’s economic policies in Paris. Photo – Daniel Finnan via Flickr …
See all stories on this topic »
|More Austerity Seen Coming For Greece
The newspaper Kathimerini said it had seen a revised memorandum between Greece and the Troika of the European Union-International Monetary Fund-European Central Bank (EU-IMF-ECB) which calls for new austerity measures unless revenues can be …
See all stories on this topic »
Roughly 7000 coal sector jobs have disappeared from the Australian state of Queensland in just over a year, The Courier-Mail reported Saturday. “New market realities” including collapsing commodity prices, slowing Asian demand and diminishing profits …
See all stories on this topic »
|France in double-dip recession amid austerity measures: Analysts
Analysts say French leaders are continuing with austerity measures and cuts although reports indicate that France is in a double-dip recession, Press TV reports. “France is in recession because President Francois Hollande has chosen austerity. But …
See all stories on this topic »
After a successful Irish EU presidency, which saw real steps taken on banking union and the bloc’s budget, euronews met with Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaité to discuss which course she plans to chart for the European Union over the next six …
See all stories on this topic »
|Austerity and the Mistaken Lessons of History
New Yorker (blog)
At this stage, when even the International Monetary Fund has turned against Osborne and called upon him to reverse course, I won’t bother retreading the arguments against austerity. Suffice it to say that compared with the behavior of the U.S. economy, …
See all stories on this topic »
|Austerity Opera made to inspire next generation
Two enterprising Midlands arts companies are staging a full-scale opera, based on Homer’s epics The Iliad & The Odyssey, on a budget that would barely pay for the wardrobe of most opera houses. Coventry-based Talking Birds Theatre Company and …
See all stories on this topic »
|Prince Charles: Taxpayers’ bill for austerity heir HALVES in one year
He’s not exactly surviving on bread and water, but Prince Charles has halved the amount of taxpayers’ money he has splashed out, figures revealed today. The public bill for the heir to the throne fell from £2.2million to £1.15million in the last …
See all stories on this topic »
|Portuguese strike against austerity
Portuguese strike against austerity. Thousands of people have been marching towards the parliament in Lisbon as trade unions, which represent around 1 million workers, staged a 24-hour strike. This protest was aimed against relentless austerity …
See all stories on this topic »
|The Austerity Bus arrives in Weston-super-Mare
The TUC Austerity Bus has arrived in Weston for a rally organised by the union, Unison. Many of its members work at Weston General Hospital and say they are concerned at proposals to privatise it. The hospital has struggled with debt and new methods of …
See all stories on this topic »
|Miners to offer austerity help to Durham’s former pit villages
The Northern Echo
The Durham Miners’ Association has called the first meeting to discuss the union’s response toausterity measures at the Glebe Centre, in Murton on Tuesday, July 2 at 5.30pm. It will discuss the impact of unemployment, benefit cuts and the so-called …
See all stories on this topic »
Thousands will descend on London today for the People’s Assembly Against Austerity to launch a united opposition that will mobilise co-ordinated anti-cuts action at national, regional and local level.
The event is Britain’s largest political conference in recent history – outstripping the combined attendance of the annual conferences of all three main political parties – and is backed by Britain’s major unions.
The assembly will give a voice to the millions of people who oppose failed coalition government policies which are wrecking the economy, forcing down wages and decimating public services.
The assembly has been hailed as a big breakthrough in creating a united front against the Tories and their Lib Dem accomplices.
Unite general secretary Len McCluskey said: “The People’s Assembly is the most significant step yet in building a nationwide opposition to the government’s policies of social devastation.
“Unite is proud to stand with all those demanding an end to the cuts which are pushing millions into the abyss of despair and in standing up for an alternative of social justice.”
The People’s Assembly has been endorsed by over 100 organisations including Unison and Unite, which between them represent almost three million workers across the public and private sectors.
It is also backed by thousands of individuals and groups, including academics, pensioners’ organisations and campaigners fighting to save the NHS.
Green MP Caroline Lucas, who is speaking at the assembly, said: “It offers a crucial opportunity for civil society to come together and take a stand against this government’s socially destructive and economically illiterate austerity programme.
“It is also a chance to challenge the harmful ideology which claims that public is ‘bad’ and private is ‘good’ and that everything from our health service to education is little more than a marketplace to be exploited for profit.”
With evidence emerging that austerity, pay freezes, tax rises and welfare cuts will drive seven million children into poverty in the next two years, she said: “It’s time to expose the lie that there is no alternative to austerity.”
The assembly will also launch two “People United” bus tours organised by unions Unite, Unison, GMB, PCS and CWU and the TUC to take the campaign against austerity into communities.
The tours culminate on July 5 at the NHS’s birthplace, Trafford General Hospital in Manchester, to celebrate the 65th anniversary of its foundation.
It has now been a decade since the United States invaded Iraq, and the country’s beleaguered capital isn’t faring so well
after 10 years of conflict. In 2012, for instance, Baghdad topped Mercer’s list as the worst place to live based on quality of
life, edging out other war-torn heavy hitters like Khartoum, Sudan and Brazzaville, Congo. The city has even become a
synonym for chaos and destruction; when Hurricane Katrina ravaged New Orleans in 2005, headlines such as “Baghdad
on the Bayou” and “Looters turn New Orleans into ‘Downtown Baghdad'” quickly surfaced.
But the city, nestled on the banks of the storied Tigris River, was not always associated with violence and decline. In 1932,
Iraq had just gained independence after more than ten years as a British mandate and centuries under Ottoman rule.
Baghdad, famed at the time for its quaint blend of Turkish architecture and ancient markets, suddenly found itself the
capital of a fledgling Iraqi nation. The ethnic and religious tensions that would ignite in the coming decades of war and
sanctions were already present but not yet explosive, and the vast oil reserves that would transform the capital into a
booming metropolis had only just been discovered. These 1932 photographs, drawn from the Matson Collection at the
Library of Congress, show a Baghdad on the brink of a new era, struggling to discover its identity in a time before it was
defined by devastation.
Above, pedestrians walk along the street in front of the Midan mosque.
King Faisal I (left), who ruled Iraq from 1921 to 1933, sits next to his brother, Emir Abdullah of Transjordan, during a lawn
party at the royal palace in Baghdad. The Saudi-born king was a favorite of the British during the mandate period, and
many Iraqis were suspicious of his pro-Western sentiments. An Arab Sunni, his reign also prompted unrest among
Assyrian, Kurdish, and Shiite minorities, which he vigorously suppressed.
Fires caused by the escape of natural gas blaze near the Iraq Petroleum Company’s oil wells in the Kirkuk District.
Beginning with the first discovery of oil in Persia in 1908, foreign powers eyed the region with interest, and international
competition over Iraq’s potential oil reserves played a role in determining its borders in the wake of World War I, as the
British and French both sought access. The controversy surrounding the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003 underscored the
continued foreign interest in this vital natural resource. As Peter Maas recounted in Foreign Policy, U.S. troops secured
the Iraqi oil ministry in Baghdad as the rest of the city was left to looters, prompting one Iraqi to tell him, “It is all about
Library of Congress
Iraqi army officers celebrate the country’s induction into the League of Nations at the Royal Palace in Baghdad. In 1932,
Iraq became the first former mandate to join the League after gaining independence. The mandate had gotten off to an
inauspicious start in 1920, when the British determined the borders of Iraq based more on geopolitical interests than
regional logic, and a bloody rebellion against British occupation followed.
Using language that some have read as a foreshadowing of the U.S. military’s quagmire following the 2003 invasion, the
British Orientalist T.E. Lawrence described the unrest. “The people of England have been led in Mesopotamia into a trap
into which it will be hard to escape with dignity and honor,” he wrote. “Things have been far worse than we have been told,
our administration more bloody and inefficient than the public knows. It’s a disgrace to our imperial record and may soon
be too inflamed for any ordinary cure. We are today not far from a disaster
Pedestrians walk on a bridge over the Tigris River, which snakes through Baghdad and divides the city. The Tigris and
Euphrates rivers help make up the Fertile Crescent and provide a vital source of life in an otherwise arid region. But years
of pollution and war have taken their toll. Upon visiting Baghdad in 2004, one New York Times reporter described the
Tigris as “a smelly, shrunken, deserted, refuse-strewn ghost of its former splendor.”
Men walk the street after crossing Baghdad’s Katah Bridge.
Young boys sit in watermelon barges banked on the Tigris River. Iraq possesses a unique breed of watermelon that is
capable of growing up to 50 pounds in the fertile land around the Tigris. Still an important agricultural product, the fruit
has long provided an alternative source of hydration for those who want to avoid unclean drinking water. During the Iraq
war, USA Today reported on the peril faced by merchants while transporting watermelon — by truck rather than barge –
– to Baghdad.
Library of Congress
Men wearing the Turkish fez and suits walk alongside those in more typical Iraqi dress while carriages pass by on a newly
constructed street. Baghdad’s mandate period was characterized by the melding of the modern with the traditional. But it
wasn’t until the nationalization of oil in the 1960s and 70s that the country saw modernization on a vast scale, as a
construction boom transformed Baghdad into a thriving metropolis.
Copper workers use traditional wooden horses as they hammer at the metal. Baghdad’s Safafeer market has been home to
copper merchants and craftsmen for hundreds of years. Only recently has the business faced serious decline thanks to
increasing imports of factory-made goods combined with a lack of tourism. The market, made famous by its rich copper
history, now sells mostly clothing
Tea sellers smile after serving a customer at a typical railroad tea stand in Ur.
Shoe sellers line one of Baghdad’s many markets. The city’s famed bazaars have attracted visitors for centuries, though
more recently they have also gained notoriety as the targets of bombings.
A street barber at work in Baghdad.
An older man instructs a young boy at the Haidar Khana Mosque. This mosque, constructed during Ottoman rule in
1832, is a popular Shiite place of worship. In March 2007 it was partially damaged by a bombing in eastern Baghdad,
where the city’s Shiite population is largely concentrated
People gather along the bank of the Tigris River, with Baghdad’s old city walls in the distance. The city’s location along the
river historically enabled it to thrive as a center of commerce and ideas. In the monarchy’s early days, and even in the years
of instability following Faisal’s rule, Baghdad fostered a great deal of intellectual exchange. But under the rule of Saddam
Hussein, intellectual life stagnated due to censorship, which drove much of the publishing industry underground.
More recently, the country has suffered from brain drain as skilled workers fled the violence that accompanied the U.S.
A freshly tarred gufa floats on the banks of the Tigris. The round boats, which were made from reeds caulked with asphalt
and capable of transporting up to 20 passengers, were commonly used for river travel in Baghdad until the 1970s.
The Iraq Museum displayed a wide array of artifacts from the ancient civilizations of Mesopotamia. Built by famed British
Orientalist Gertrude Bell in 1926, it housed the findings of U.S. and European archaeologists who conducted ambitious
excavations in the aftermath of World War I. The museum was looted during the U.S. invasion in 2003, prompting two
senior cultural advisors to the Bush administration to resign in protest. One of them, Gary Vikan, lamented, “if we
understood the value of Sumerian cuneiform tablets to our past, as we do with oil getting us somewhere in our cars, I don’t
think this would have happened.”
Women walk in front of the Royal College of Medicine, which was founded in Baghdad in 1927. One of the first medical
schools in the Middle East, it still exists today as part of the University of Baghdad.
Goods are unloaded and carried by donkeys on their way to Baghdad’s markets. King Faisal attempted to modernize Iraq’s
economy by building roads and beginning construction on an oil pipeline to the Mediterranean, but the economy
remained centered around the exchange of agricultural goods during his reign. The nationalization of petroleum in the
1960s and 70s, fueled a commercial boom in Baghdad, but the growth was shortlived. The Iran-Iraq war (1980-1988) left
Iraq $80 million in debt to its Gulf neighbors, and Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait in 1990 drove the country further
into debt by setting off a series of crippling international sanctions
Rabbis stand in front of Ezekiel’s tomb, a Jewish shrine and pilgrimage site located in Kifl. In the 1930s, Iraq’s Jewish
population, one of the oldest in the world, exceeded 120,000, and Hebrew was listed among the country’s six languages.
But after the creation of Israel in 1948, Iraq’s Jews faced increasing persecution and pressure to leave. Today, Baghdad’s
Jews have “all but vanished.”
“Basket boys” carry unwanted sand from a highway construction site in Baghdad. While Iraq might be “10 parts sand to
1 part water,” the sand’s quality is not great for construction: Writing for the New York Times’ At War blog in 2010,
Stephen Farrel noted how U.S. troops had to ship “more resilient desert” from other parts of the Middle East for their blast
Library of Congress
People stand in the old Turkish Qualla’a, a citadel, in Baghdad. The city was conquered by Ottoman Turks in 1534 and
remained under Ottoman rule until the British established the Kingdom of Iraq in 1921.
A Baghdad cityscape in 1932. For some, even when this picture was taken, the glory days of Baghdad had long passed. In
fact, narratives of decline have surrounded the city since the 13th century, when it was the center of medieval Islamic
intellectual life. When the British painter Tristram J. Ellis stopped in Baghdad as part of his travels in the early 1900s, for
instance, his artist’s eye found it wanting. “All those who are acquainted with the past history of Baghdad, and the glowing
descriptions of its buildings and streets in the time of the Caliphs, will think the present city very mean, and it is so,
compared with almost any other great Oriental city,” he wrote.
In the century since he wrote these words, Baghdad has persevered through decades of invasion, dictatorship, and war.
Today, as reconstruction efforts flounder and sectarian violence plagues the capital, it again finds itself labeled as a
place to avoid. But for the more than 7 million people who live there, this enduring city on the Tigris remains home.
Concern in UK at Irish inquiry as Europe-wide investigation stalls
Almost four months after the widespread adulteration of beef products with horsemeat was revealed by the Food Safety Authority of Ireland, there are growing fears in the UK that the investigation to identify the full extent of the fraud is being shut down, the Guardian has learned.
Senior sources in enforcement and the food industry have accused the Irish authorities of being more concerned to protect the Irish beef industry than to expose all the links in the chain.
“There is deep frustration. There’s a belief the FSAI must have known exactly what it was looking for, but the Irish end is in lockdown and there is not the full flow of information we’d expect. We have a sense of immense pressure to close it down,” a senior figure in UK enforcement said.
A high-profile victim in the food industry, said: “It looks as though the authorities are not going to be able to identify and prosecute any major abattoir or processor that sold undeclared horse because of a wall of silence from the Irish.”
The shadow secretary for environment and food, Mary Creagh, called for more clarity over the investigation: “The question now is what progress are both governments making to bring people to justice? Ours has gone silent. If consumers are ever to see justice both sides will have to work closely together rather than going back to business as usual.”
The beef sector is one of Ireland’s largest industries, worth nearly €2bn in 2012. It employs almost 100,000 farm families and 8,000 workers in processing.
The horsemeat scandal led to millions of burgers and ready meals being withdrawn from supermarket shelves around Europe, but enforcement agencies say that where supply chains cross jurisdictions, they are not getting enough information. Industry victims report that their own efforts to find out where their meat was coming from are being frustrated beyond the immediate suppliers with whom they had legal contracts.
The Irish government vigorously disputes this account of its activities. A spokesman for the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) said it had conducted a comprehensive investigation with its own special unit and the police and had passed information about traders and other intermediaries in the supply chain outside its jurisdiction to Europol and other EU states in a transparent manner. Some of the tensions between the two countries have been played out publicly in the Commons environment, food and rural affairs select committee, where MPs had a robust exchange at the end of April with the head of the FSAI, Professor Alan Reilly, over what the Irish authorities knew and when. They accused the Irish government of putting its beef industry before consumers. Reilly responded that far from hiding the problem, his authority had been the first to uncover it.
The UK environment secretary, Owen Paterson, told parliament at the beginning of the scandal that the Irish were acting on a tip-off, and that he had been told this by its agriculture minister, Simon Coveney. Coveney has subsequently said they were not. Creagh said: “We have two completely different versions of early events. At the very least it raises questions over the political handling of this case.”
The investigation is further complicated by the delicacy of the political situation where criminal activity crosses the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic, a senior official said. The border area is notorious for smuggling. During the Troubles organised crime, involving the movement of live animals, drugs and arms across the border, was linked with fundraising for paramilitaries.
“No one is wanting to stir up paramilitary history, and the banking crisis in Ireland makes it doubly difficult politically to go for the beef industry. There’s a sense that enforcement agencies have known what’s going on with meat, but that it might be better to let this play out,” an industry insider told the Guardian.
The Food Standards Agency said: “Our jurisdiction is only the UK. Our investigations into whether any fraudulent activity has taken place in the UK are ongoing. We are continuing to cooperate with other regulatory authorities across Europe.”
The select committee was sceptical about Reilly’s insistence that the Irish had not been acting on intelligence. Its Tory chair, Anne McIntosh, accused him of “playing the innocent” and a Labour member, Barry Gardiner, described to Reilly a note of a conversation between him and the head of the UK Food Standards Agency, Catherine Brown, in February in which Reilly acknowledged using tests for horsemeat that were unaccredited and could not therefore be used to bring prosecutions, and said that Coveney’s agenda was to protect the Irish industry.
The Irish authority tests were in fact meant to be a warning shot to its beef industry to clean up its act, which it knew was dirty but did not want to prosecute, Gardiner maintained. “That’s a fantastic theory, but it’s not true,” Reilly replied.
Since January the food industry has poured resources into trying to pin down where horse entered its beef supply. As they have mapped the Irish companies and UK traders involved, industry and politicians have been struck by how many have family or business connections through common directors now or in the past. Key industry players are dismayed at DAFM’s report in March which concluded that several of the companies that sold them horse warrant no further investigation. The companies say they are innocent victims in the current fraud. Although DAFM is critical of some of the companies that supplied horse, it has decided that several others can get back to business where subsequent tests have been negative and it has found no evidence that they knowingly used horse.
The Commons select committee is keen to question some of the companies and their directors further. It has invited ABP chairman Larry Goodman, other executives who used to work for him and now run their own meat companies, and the head of processing company Greencore, Patrick Coveney, to give evidence.
Goodman’s ABP group is at the heart of the scandal, having supplied beefburgers that were 29% horse to Tesco from its Silvercrest factory near the Irish border, and frozen mince that was 29% horse to Asda from its Dalepak plant in Yorkshire. Other products from ABP to supermarkets also tested positive for horse at low levels.
ABP has admitted that rogue managers at its Silvercrest plant failed to follow supermarket specifications but says that it has otherwise been an innocent victim. Its chief executive, Paul Finnerty, has already been questioned by MPs about Goodman’s history. Gardiner put it to him that an Irish public inquiry in 1994 found his companies had faked records, made fraudulent claims for EC subsidies, commissioned bogus official stamps, cheated customs officials, and practised institutionalised tax evasion in the 1980s.
Gardiner also noted that Goodman had been found in the past to have worked through a secret network of linked businesses known as the Cork companies and asked if there was another secret network involved in the current saga. Finnerty replied that all ABP’s business today was conducted through ABP companies.ABP said it was inappropriate to bring up events that happened 25 years ago. Both it and the other companies say they have no current connections. Greencore was drawn into the scandal when fresh beef bolognese sauce it supplied to Asda, made using meat from ABP, was found in Asda tests to be 5% horse. It is based in Ireland; its chief executive, Patrick Coveney, is the minister’s brother. Industry sources have been troubled by potential conflicts of interest.
DAFM said: “Minister Coveney and the department absolutely reject any suggestion of a conflict of interest. The fact is the Irish authorities were the first to disclose this problem which turned out to be pan-European.”
Greencore said the Asda tests were a mistake and its own tests had come back negative. Its relevant operations were in the UK and came under UK regulators, so there was no conflict of interest, it said.
Comment: Suspect this all about authorities ball hopping
The Irish authorities highlighted the problem. What puzzles me is the UK authorities had the mechanisms in place to detect this problem but failed to so.
Rather than solving Europe’s crisis, EU institutions are allowing corporate elites to further enrich themselves through a fire sale of state assets.
The text and infographics below are excerpted from a new working paper, Privatising Europe: Using the Crisis to Entrench Neoliberalism, which was just released by the Transnational Institute in Amsterdam:
The European Union is currently undergoing the biggest economic crisis since its foundation 20 years ago. Economic growth is collapsing: the eurozone economy contracted by 0.6% in the fourth quarter last year and this slump is set to continue. The euro crisis was incorrectly blamed on government spending, and the subsequent imposition of cuts and increased borrowing has resulted in growing national debts and rising unemployment. Government debts in crisis countries have predictably soared: the highest ratios of debt to GDP in the third quarter of 2012 were recorded in Greece (153%), Italy (127%), Portugal (120%) and Ireland (117%).
Europe’s member states have responded by implementing severe austerity programmes, making harsh cuts to crucial public services and welfare benefits. The measures mirror the controversial structural adjustment policies forced onto developing countries during the 1980s and 1990s, which discredited the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank. The results, like their antecedents in the South, have punished the poorest the hardest, while the richest Europeans – including the banking elite that caused the financial crisis – have emerged unscathed or even richer than before.
Behind the immoral and adverse effects of unnecessary cuts though lies a much more systematic attempt by the European Commission and Central Bank (backed by the IMF) to deepen deregulation of Europe’s economy and privatise public assets. The dark irony is that an economic crisis that many proclaimed as the ‘death of neoliberalism’ has instead been used to entrench neoliberalism. This has been particularly evident in the EU’s crisis countries such as Greece and Portugal, but is true of all EU countries and is even embedded in the latest measures adopted by the European Commission and European Central Bank.
This working paper gives a broad and still incomplete overview of what can best be described as a great ‘fire sale’ of public services and national assets across Europe. Coupled with deregulation and austerity measures, it is proving a disaster for citizens. Nevertheless, there have been clear winners from these policies. Private companies have been able to scoop up public assets in a crisis at low prices and banks involved in reckless lending have been paid back at citizens’ expense.
Encouragingly though, there have been victories in the battle to protect and improve Europe’s public services which serve as beacons of hope. There is even a counter-trend of remunicipalisation taking place in Europe as people have become aware of the cost and downsides of privatising public services, particularly water. As public awareness grows that the European Commission far from solving the crisis is using it to entrench the same failed neoliberal policies, these counter-movements and growing popular resistance can work together to halt the corporate takeover of Europe.
When Blankfein says that the UK has no other choice but to stay with its austerity plan or it will (here’s the threat): “face a negative reaction from global investors,” he knows that Goldman Sachs will benefit from austerity at the expense of the rest of the public:
Austerity gives Goldman opportunities to privatize and financialize the economy further;
Austerity allows Goldman to continue to be a parasite sucking on the lifeblood of the economy;
Austerity will guarantee more bailouts when Goldman takes big risks and fails;
Austerity will keep the 1% wealthy and the wealth accumulation for the rich will continue apace;
Austerity keeps wealth within the financial sector where Goldman can enjoy it;
Austerity guarantees Goldman’s “rentier” status, i.e., it collects unearned money via debt;
Austerity is financial warfare against labor, against industry and against the government;
Austerity will increase the role of the bank and lead to an increase of power and wealth over the rest of society while citizens suffer from low wages, low or no pensions, high debt and fewer entitlements.
Supermarket work at best is dull and monotonous. It is an area where workers are constantly exploited.
It should be noted Lidl have a long history of exploitation, poor working conditions and spying on employees
What follows is a Diary kept by a Lidl worker.
The Diary is in its original form
Name is withheld for fear of victimization
Tuesday, 26 February 2013
Posted by Lidl Bylidl at 09:35
Lidl can feel like that sometimes. I think the whole disillutionment with my job has led me to probably come across at work as a bit heartless and not caring. Probably right somewhat.
A partially sighted old woman approaches. She struggles to reach to the depth on the trolley to pull out the items. The lassie on second till comes out of the office, and helps her pull her trolley to the checkout. Then leaves. So I help her to pack. I can hear the people in the queue behind saying,
“That’s shocking that is he no gonna help her. Terrible that.”
I pay no notice. I help her pack, rush her away, on to the next customer I think being honest without ever saying cheerio. Maybe if the checkout girl had helped me with this, I wouldn’t be so stressed and rushing them out the door.
Queue queue queue
Posted by Lidl Bylidl at 09:39
I was also seen by the manager, in passing, as changing my break recieved from 15 to zero when clocking out. He asked me what I was doing, I told him. As I went to the canteen to collect my coat, I seen him and the soon to be also manager smirking.
Well? Why the f*** should I give the money to you. It’s better in my empty empty pocket.
This after being scheduled in for yet another 4hour shift, which means no breaks. Which is bullshit when 4hours & 5 minutes does.
And the fact that we were out half an hour late, as always, I had a break entitlement. Which I didn’t get
Friday, 1 March 2013
Posted by Lidl Bylidl at 04:23
The scales are broken, so I’ve to sift through, literally, over a thousand polly bags, for the purposes of counting them. Then, floor cleaners broken, so I’ve to mop the entire shop floor, just the two of us, before being allowed home.
& I didn’t get home until after midnight.
This after again being scheduled for exactly a four hour shift, which means no breaks. As per my shift went over the four hours, which meant I never got the breaks I should have.
Sixteen hours I’ve worked since my last break.
& I don’t think I’ve left that building on time in 2013.
Thursday, 14 March 2013
Posted by Lidl Bylidl at 16:18 Thursday
Each day is a step closer to me telling those above to ram it.
An example, if you don’t mind from both of my two most recent shifts.
I am approaching the end of my break. A break which was delayed half an hour until 4.30pm, (during a 0800-1800 shift). The manager who took over the second till while I was away rings the bell. I’m in the toilet. I hear the bell. My break is not yet over. I emerge to find six people standing at my queue, and catch him jumping in his car and driving away in the background. YOU COULDN’T MAKE THIS SHIT UP
I am first till. The queue builds up, around 8 people. I ring for a manager to jump on, theres only two of us in the shop. He doesn’t come. I’m getting flustered and shaky. I RING AGAIN. I jump off the till to check if he’s still in the office. With 10-15 people stood there! Three full minutes pass of me nervously passing through shopping. HE WAS OUTSIDE WITH THE PLUMBER. YOU COULDN’T MAKE THIS SHIT UP.
On both occasions I confronted them afterwords. The first brushed over it. The second almost managed to prove my own point.
P.S, I just walked home 3 miles in the pissing rain, because I had to re-sweep and re-clean the floor.
Posted by Lidl Bylidl at 16:24
Phoned home as I raged hurriedly along the road from work tonight in the rain. I can’t help but talk about it even though I know It’s pushing people away. My mates laugh it off and take the piss. But I’ve worked in retail for five years. In five different jobs. I know how I expect to be treated, not just at work but in life. And this is bollocks. I can hear it in my mums voice that the way I’m being treated and talking is upsetting her. Worrying about me. She said she wished it was different. And so do I
Posted by Lidl Bylidl at 16:45
Feeling Trapped and so Low
Manager told me it was my fault. If I had done it right first time I wouldn’t have to do it again. It’s almost comparable to how a victim of domestic abuse must feel. I’ve been almost brainwashed into thinking the way I’m treated is okay. Because I’m trapped in this job. Thoroughly miserable and trapped. What a thankless task. Even after racing about like a blue arsed fly to get out on time, It’s my fault. Feeling worthless lonely and miserable. It’s already come to blows. It’s a matter of time before i put an end to this shit. But I can’t afford it.
Posted by Lidl Bylidl at 16:52
Feel like I could burst into tears. If Morrissey sings just the right line It’ll come
Reblogged from http://lidlbylidl.blogspot.co.uk/
BRITAIN is unsuitable for human life, the UN has declared.
It is rather nippy
As forecasters predict ice, snow, darkness and blade-like freezing winds that can actually slice your face off, the UN declared the country uninhabitable and began evacuation procedures.
A UN spokesman said: “We just want to get as many people out alive as possible, then we’ll figure out distributing them across pleasanter places like Spain.
“We’ll be sending helicopters in about a week, keep watching during the X Factor ad breaks for details of where to rendezvous. Maximum two pieces of hand luggage each.
“In the meantime, just stay inside. Do not attempt to leave the house or even look out of the window, it’s far too psychologically damaging.”
British father-of-two Stephen Malley said: “I leave for work in freezing darkness and then I leave the office in freezing darkness.
“I’m sure this country is like a giant haunted house, actively trying to kill its inhabitants.”
WASHINGTON DC – USA – Comrade Cameron has been warned by his Soviet superior, Comrade Obama that he must accept the conditions of the EU with regards to the EU Sovietisation of the former United Kingdom.
“As I am bringing the collectivist soviet system to the former United States, I want you to do the same in the former United Kingdom and accept complete surrender to the EU soviet state. I get my orders from China, you get your orders from me and the EU. Once I have destroyed America from the inside, then there will be full integration of the one world government and economy,” Comrade Obama told Comrade Cameron yesterday during a conference call.
As a result of this communique there have been a number of articles from the controlled press decrying any movement away from the EU by the UK. The articles have all appeared in different publications from different sources all spewing out the same pro-EU propaganda that the people will naturally ingest without question.
“The EU is a key tool in total assimilation wherein it takes nation states, strips them of all sovereignty and destroys all freedom, individuality and democracy. It then spits out the country as a base shell moulded as an EU sector. The EU is a totalitarian state which will soon reveal itself as the Fourth Reich mixed up in an East German Stasi soup. The horrific nature of the EU is one of complete subjugation to a system that will bring tyranny to millions of people within its borders, as the controls will be drip fed slowly until there is no freedom left for its imprisoned populations,” an anti-EU supporter said on a BBC website bulletin board, before being deleted.
When the goose stepping EU soldiers are marching through British streets, maybe then some people may wake up to the EU threat. Until then, do carry on watching your Come Dancing and forget about what is really going on.
Remember how long it took people to listen to Churchill about the Nazi threat before World War II started, and you can see the exact same thing is happening now as the EU is gaining strength and assimilating more and more countries with its economic might, soon to be military might as well.
A recently unveiled EU poster sports the oppressive Soviet hammer and sickle symbol numerous times
BRUSSELS – Belgium – The EU’s Soviet agenda was laid bare today with the unveiling of a new EU poster that finally puts to rest the bloc’s Soviet credentials.
The new poster is a clear signal that the EU is a Soviet Fascist bloc and is a direct threat to freedom, democracy and humanity as a whole.
A warning from history
“Not only are we laughing in the face of all citizens within the European Union, we are also revealing ourselves to be truly a Soviet system where we amalgamate and assimilate all within our borders. We destroy all individuality, all nationality, and dictate all economic policy. This is the EU, and when we get our stormtroopers goose stepping on the streets, you will see what you have got yourselves into. Remember that evil is allowed to happen when good men stand by and do nothing. The EU was allowed to happen, as was Stalin’s Soviet bloc, and Hitler‘s Reich. No one did anything, nations stood by until it was too late, banks financed them until it was too late. The same is up with the EU, no one did anything, and unelected EU bureaucrats now rule over you. You pay for my unlimited expense account and my diamond encrusted pension plan, my unlimited global travel perks and my laughter at you pleb citizens, the scum that you are, I laugh at you,” an unelected EU bureaucrat said from the EU parliament yesterday.
British premier, David Cameron, who knows very well what the EU is and how it will finally reveal itself to be a totalitarian Soviet Fascist state, was all too eager to proffer his congratulations to the EU for its recent Nobel Peace Prize.
“I have been told to say this by my superiors in Brussels. I say to the British people that the key to joining the Eurozone will be Scotland. When they embrace the EU, as Southern Ireland did, then we as England will be given no choice but to join the EU as well. I know the plan, as do many other cabinet members. A referendum in Scotland is the key to the Scottish people breaking up Britain until it is ultimately weakened. Divide and conquer, as always, a British Empire trick is being used against us, and I am complicit with my masters, as a traitor to Britain. I have emphatically denied the British people an In/Out EU referendum, because I know that the British people do not want any part of the EU. To this end, I am a liar and traitor to my own people but my masters have promised me great things for delivering the UK to them on a platter. Our laws in Britain are fully managed by Brussels/Germany now and it is going to get even more insidious in the future. We were not defeated in WW1 and WW2 but Britain will be defeated by me denying the people their rights to determine their destiny. You say we live in a democracy, I say you do, but that democracy is under EU regulations now and they will tell me what to do about how much democracy you are allowed from now on. So please carry on as you are, watch your Come Dancing and Britain’s Got Talent shows. Do not think for one second about what is going to happen to you, or your children in the future. Why not just text away and read your Facebook page. There is nothing to worry about.”