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Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Ehud Barak and Israel's war with Iran

Apologies for the recent absence - interviews, presentations, flu etc. Now onto Iran and Israel: 

"If I were a Palestinian of the right age, I'd eventually join one of the terrorist organizations." Ehud Barak 


"[Ehud Barak's] knowledge of war has fed a passion for peace." Bill Clinton 


Ehud Barak is not a monster. During his period in office as Prime Minister of Israel he oversaw some of the most painful transitions in Israeli politics in the past six decades. He enacted certain steps twowards challenging the far-right extremists of Israeli politics and even had the guts to take on the violent extremists among the "settlers" occupying the Palestinian Authority lands; people that very few ordinary Israelis have any sympathy for.


Barak recently entered into a stream of public pronouncements against the Iranian regime which proposed the likelihood of a strike against its nuclear facilities to prohibit Iran from attaining nuclear capability.


As has been made clear by the Iranian military (easily the largest in the entire middle east), such a strike would be met with the most severe response imaginable. Israel has enough nuclear arms to attack every capital in the region yet demands no other nation near it have such capability. It has killed physicists and other scientists in Iran and Syria through illegal assassinations.


The simple military facts are these:
 
  • Israel cannot win a war against Iran, Syria, and North Korea (which recently threatened to act against Israel if Syria was attacked again - Cf. "Operation Orchard").
  • Iran has thousands of missiles capable of hitting Israel, Israel has 42 missiles capable of hitting Iran - missiles Iran is actually armed to knock out before they reach their territory, thanks to Russian anti-missile defence shields.
  • Iran has 70 million people and a colossal standing army.
  • Israel has 6 million people and barely enough soldiers to man its own borders.
Given that the US military has already warned the US president that a)It cannot stop Iran attaining nuclear arms, and b)A regional war would crash the US economy it would seem that Israel has two options:
  1. Ignore the right-wing and unilaterally declare a free Palestine
  2. Fight a war of attrition that will temporarily damage Iran but utterly eradicate the Israeli state. 
Barak speaks of few options today because he serves a Netanyahu cabinet composed of some of the most dangerous ideologues to appear in Israeli politics in a generation. Among these is the hideous character of Avigdor Lieberman, the Russian-born Deputy Prime Minister of Israel and Foreign Affairs Minister who told Arab-Israeli members of Parliament:

"World War II ended with the Nuremberg Trials. The heads of the Nazi regime, along with their collaborators, were executed. I hope this will be the fate of the collaborators in [the Knesset]."

These are the people Barak must pander to in order to get anything done in Israel's cabinet of hawks.

Yet let's not completely absolve Ehud Barak of his role in this current debacle with the Iranians. As Minister of Defense he is exposed on a daily basis to operations undertaken by Mossad to deny Iran its sovereign right to pursue nuclear energy and to even pursue nuclear-armed capability; he is in a position to know full well that the Iranian regime is now attaining a greater approval rating among its own beleaguered population thanks to Israel's involvement in attacks inside Iran.


The US military has already spoken on the matter - there will be no ground war in Iran. It knows that any such tampering with the oil supply of China, Russia and India will see at least two of those nations supply the arms and technology Iran needs to respond in like measures.


For the time-being, the operations of the Israelis remain small-scale precision attacks within Iran against heads of arms industry technocrats. If Israel continues such operations then doubtless Iran will ramp up funding of Hezbollah and Hamas and we will see the return of horrific wars such as that in 2007 when Israel murdered over 1,400+ innocent men, women and children in Lebanon in response to less than ten Israeli deaths.


Israel currently preaches the virtue of restraint. If it does not follow its own sermons it will no doubt experience a return to the 1980s, and nobody wants to see that happen.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Senatus Moronus Quae Republicanus...

With a full year still left to laugh at the deplorable state of the American right, I find myself not so much laughing as simply stunned.

The current game among the candidates is, "Yeah, well if I'm elected president I'll not only bomb Iran, but I'll kill several babies with my bare hands!"

One week a GOP candidate says people without medicare should get over it and get a job (literally the exact choice of words made), the next week a GOP candidate is attacking gay people in the military, then another GOP goof is talking about defending the vicious state of Israel "against Iran" as though the business of the State Department is to risk all US troops' lives for this bizarre escapade out in the Negev.

I've been dedicating myself to practicing my speed reading of late and the results have been absolutely astonishing. I mention this because at long last I've managed to get halfway through Abbas Milani's remarkable biography of the Shah of Iran (just buy it), a book which calls to mind a billion questions regarding Mubarak, Al-Assad, Ben-Ali, etc.

The Shah was a truly tragic figure, in the dramatically pure sense of the term; his life promised much but delivered nothing but sorrow for himself and his country. When grilled about his abuse of Iran's secret service (to spy on the entire nation), he once famously retorted that when the people of Iran "start behaving like Swedes, I will behave like the King of Sweden".

The fact is that although there was nothing remotely regal about the Pahlavis (Shah Reza Khan Pahlavi was a soldier, thug, and not much else), Pahlavi-fils was a damned sight more sane than the regime currently winning the diplomatic wars in the middle east.

Yet what is immensely depressing about Khamenei is that although I would prefer to despise him, I can't help but admit that he has already won. Russia has confirmed that there will be "no ground war in Iran"; that if Israel continues to pressure the US to invade the Russians will "take action". Lord knows what they meant by "action", but the Russians are about the last straight-talking nation left on earth. If Russia so wished, she could crucify the Israeli economy within six months and it would barely cost the Russians a thing. It also strikes me, in finishing off Martines' superb biography of Savonarola, that Khamenei has merely succeeded in creating the state that a great many of our oh-so-civilised recent ancestors wanted to create.

For me, the most interesting recent event in the saga of Ahmadi-Nejad (yes, in Persian his name is two names) versus Khamenei was when the former burst out laughing during an interview with CNN when the interviewer suggested a ground war could occur.

Such guffaws of laughter do not for political certainties make, yet with the US financially incapable of launching another economy-busting oil war, Ahmadi-Nejad is possibly entitled to laugh at Israeli threats.

All this meandering brings me back to the Grand Old Party and their tragic parade of pizza moguls, semi-literate accidental senators, and religious fruitloops. There is, simply, a political naivete about the GOP front-runners that smacks decidedly of the most puerile and dangerous recesses of American politics. It is pure Bombs Away McClay stuff; a rattling of sabers in the dark in some desperate attempt to appear ever more "American" (belligerent) than the last guy who spoke.

Sometimes I just wish Rick Perry would get up in one of these debates and say, "Look, the economy is wrecked, US industry is being destroyed by the Chinamen, the British have slipped away from us out of embarrassment, and now the Arabs have told us where to get off. I don't know jack about global politics but I do know that wars are cool! So let's go get massacred in Iran!!"

[Crowd goes wild, Perry elected with 49.2% of popular vote, something said on news about "chits", everyone tunes in to watch the US army get obliterated in the oil fields of northern Iran].

America just looks so weak these days. So helpless and messy.

The US needs to drop Israel in a hurry.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Washington's Warning From Britain's Past.

At university, as a London-Irish boy fresh out of school, I had a lecturer tell me in front of the whole class(after asking where my family was from), that I should go study mining at the other campus because if I did so I'd be able to study the use of explosives: "useful knowledge if you're a Paddy", he added.

This was in the nineteen nineties. Being labeled an Irish terrorist in front of my friends, aged just eighteen. Even today, as I write these words, my heart rate picks up and I remember what went through my head that morning: "Yeah...maybe I should just join the IRA". The hatred I felt for that crass, bigoted old fool stayed with me for years. I don't much like it myself, but that's how you create terrorists out of good, honest kids.

A week later a male student from my halls of residence pinned a note to my door saying "Sign up here to join the IRA". It was the last decade in which it was acceptable in Britain to call Irish people terrorists "for a laugh". Always the excuse of "humour".

The current spate of anti-Muslim rhetoric in US politics is neither a new phenomenon nor is it any surprise.

When the Irish landed in America, cartoons depicting them as apes, monkeys and Jesuit spies out to crush America for Holy Mother Rome were printed in every "respectable" paper in the land. The Know Nothing Party launched a murderous campaign of violence and bloodshed against people they said were "anti-American" and "incapable of civilisation". How the times they aren't a'changing.

Once the Irish took over US urban politics, the army, and the police force (thereby utterly destroying the Know Nothings) the US press had to find a new enemy. It found the Jews, arriving in the 1880s, to be a perfect target. More cartoons, this time the enemy was an occultist, a thief, a perverter of descent Christian youth, and a banker out to take over America. Looking familiar, isn't it.

Then it was the turn of the gays and the actors and the writers, who were clearly all anti-American communists...out to take over America. McCarthy had great fun destroying lives, setting Hollywood against itself, banning books, and locking up innocent people on false charges.

Now America has the Muslims, and clearly these people are all bomb-carrying lunatics who wake up each morning and cry out with their first breath, "Sharia Law for America!!", right?

Wrong.

Most Muslims in the west are as dull, honest, hardworking and mundane as the rest of us. Most of them do a better job of looking after their extended families of parents, grandparents and elderly cousins. Most of them actually do better in school, according to the stats out there.

Yet I sense something positive in the middle of all these reactionary and ideological fires ripping at the heart of Muslim-American relations; I sense an American public now greatly lacking in trust of this phony "war with Islam".

The recent farce in Washington DC where a seemingly jovial and kind-hearted Iranian-American was arrested and accused of a bomb plot to kill the Saudi ambassador has been met by the majority of Americans with outright derision. The power of the internet to inform opinion has been at its zenith in all this, allowing people to connect with news sources which do not sit in the pocket of big business nor in the hands of a corrupted Congress, reliant as it is on lobby groups to get elected.

I'm one of the last members of the global Irish community to remember what it was like to be told I belonged to a bunch of murdering savages. I remember very well seeing racist, anti-Irish scrawls on London walls calling for the Irish to be sent home because we all supported the IRA. I remember people who were locked up for no reason under the much-despised Prevention of Terrorism Act which managed to become a recruiting shop for the IRA after hundreds of young men were arrested, beaten up in cells, then chucked back out onto the street after days of false arrest.

I'll never forget the day that I saw members of the IRA walk into a packed London pub and do the rounds collecting money. I remember it very clearly even though I must have been only 12 or so. You knew what was happening but if you asked about it you got a glance from a parent that could cut you in half. When, some time ago, I saw a similar event occur I was moved by the difference between the two occasions: this time around, the jar stayed empty and the calendars with republican quotes on them found no buyers; the peace process had ended the desire of so many Irish to have anything to do with "the cause".

Yet I remain certain that the current cycle of victimisation of Muslims in American politics will do to America precisely what the Prevention of Terrorism Act did to Britain: it will feed a generation of anger and resentment among younger Muslims which will leave America more at risk than before. I don't state that the FBI and CIA should sit back and do nothing, but the American president and his cabinet needs to be absolutely adamant with regards to any attempts by the idiocy of the Republican party in attempting to make Islam the latest scapegoat in a war promoted for the benefit of the state of Israel.

America has gone from being the hero of 1945 to the pariah of 2011, and with the year rapidly heading for a close, the signs of aggression toward a remarkably restrained regime in Iran are deeply disturbing.

Iran's leaders do not fear a war; they are among the last truly fundamentalist religious dictators on the planet and although among them are truly good men such as Mousavi and Karoubi, the central leadership of the Supreme Council is headed by men who have no fear of death and have shown themselves capable of sustained all-out war, just as they endured in the war with Iraq for eight solid, expensive years.

Whatever one thinks of Iran's desire to possess nuclear capability, one must remember that Netanyahu continues to pressure the US into conflict with Iran and he continues to cleanse East Jerusalem of Arab Muslims who have lived there for centuries before his people arrived. It can be said to be beyond doubt that Netanyahu seeks a continued assault against any nation which seeks justice in Palestine (regardless of its purposes) and in so doing he relies on the US taxpayer to pay for it all, as usual.

With daily talk of Iran now accelerating, this is a time for all of us to stop and ask what is truly going on in this extension of the Great Game. Are we, yet again, to be drawn into a false conflict or are we to make a stand against interference in the Islamic world?

Who really is our "enemy"? I rather fear that we are losing sight of the fact that, as in the past, our truer enemy is the faction which lusts for violence no matter what the cost.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Apartheid Israel. Want Proof? Here it is...

http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2011/11/13/netanyahu-limits-ngo-funding_n_1091047.html?ref=uk

This story absolutely shocked me. I guarantee you it will go completely unreported on any major American news broadcaster.

After publicly confirming, with a smirk, that he intends on continuing the ethnic cleansing of Arabic East Jerusalem, after forcing a new and racist oath of allegiance on Arabs in Israel, Netanyahu now very clearly declares war on human rights organisations in that awful little country.

He had already made it a criminal offense for any Israeli to boycott goods produced by illegal Jewish, extremist settlers farming stolen Palestinian land, and now this.

I don't see how he expects anything but all out war with his Arab neighbours.

Now you see why Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa said that the torture of Palestine "makes apartheid South Africa look like a walk in the park".

Monday, October 24, 2011

Cameron Faces Rebellion In Parliament.

The news regarding the backbench motion for a referendum on Europe is just foolishness.

I completely agree with the PM on this: this is a terrible time to be calling votes on whether Britain should remain in the EU.

One time pretender to the Tory leadership, John Redwood MP, said that a three-line whip on the vote (whereby if you vote against your party you are expected to resign from your government job) was "unnecessary". Of course Redwood would say that; he wants the lesser imposition of a one-line whip because it would permit Tory MPs to vote against the government and do as they please.

The banking crisis in Europe, along with the conduct of President Sarkozy (who this week verbally attacked Cameron in extraordinary scenes),  is a perfect example of why we need to back out of funding further EU escapades and handing further powers over to the totally undemocratic, unelected European Commission.

The European Commission is basically the cabinet government of the EU. It holds key powers in the hands of 27 completely unelected members proposed by the constituent nations of the Union. Scrutiny is undertaken by the European Parliament, though I'd argue that this is in itself no form of democracy either.

I think the backbench MPs in the Tory party are basically a bit bored and looking to vent after years of Labour government and European interference in the British political and legal systems. I'm no fan of the Commission, but with the world facing an economic meltdown I don't think this is anything other than opportunistic timing by MPs who really need to get a grip; if the Euro zone goes into freefall we ourselves will be seriously damaged even though we do not use the Euro in Britain. The only serious option is (and it infuriates me and everyone else in this country) to help bail out these corrupt, disorganised souther European nations and then back out of the whole thing gradually once this crisis has abated.

Ed Miliband is using this as an opportunity to snipe at the PM for "pretending to be a eurosceptic". I find that childish in the extreme, and yet another example of why Miliband will probably remain unelectable; it's schoolyard politics.

Sure, I want a referendum on Europe, but I don't want it while the roof is on fire.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Moderate Islam and The Tunisian Elections.

The party forecast to win the truly historic elections in Tunisia is the An-Nahda Party, a centrist Islamic party.

It bases itself on the form of Islamic politics seen in Turkey, where religious freedom is enshrined not only in law but in the spirit of the people of Turkey. Turks have no time for extremism of any kind.

VIDEO LINK HERE: To Hijab or not to Hijab; That is the Question.

I would urge you to watch the video. It will inform your opinion of what Islamic politics is and what it isn't. Just as we in Europe have Christian Democrat parties, so there exists in the Arab world a whole spectrum of religious parties which reject the same Taliban-esque rubbish we in the West reject.

I like the video because it is a behind the scenes look at the reality in Tunisia and it demonstrates the lies behind much of the western media's caricaturing of Islamic politics.

We in the west need reminding that there was a time, very recently, when our attitude toward Arabs was not dominated by right-wing, corrupt media outlets like Fox News.

We in Britain especially need to remember the contribution Arabs made to our efforts in the Great War, and the debt we owe them over our early mishandling of their road to independence. Let's not forget we were the empire masters in much of what is today the Arabic zone.

Karzai Stabs US in Back.

It appears Mr Karzai is up to his usual tricks. Today he told Pakistan TV he'd back them against the US. It's all just chat. The BBC doesn't even have it on its front page website. Why? Because it's not serious news, it's just games.

First to give Karzai his credit: The man has sat in a role no sensible person on earth would want. Being President of Afghanistan is like walking around all day with a faulty grenade in your pocket, knowing one day it's almost certain to go off and blow you to Kingdom Come. For over 5 years he has sat in the most isolated political position imaginable and made decisions which were constantly guaranteed to upset at least one of the armed, deadly groups in his land. He has watched countless friends and work colleagues murdered and lived with the permanent knowledge that he is likely to be killed at some point.

His comment (on Pakistan tv) that he would back Pakistan in a war with the US is being picked up on as the ultimate slap in the face. I don't really see it that way and I'm not surprised by the childishness going on in the press over this.

Karzai is shrewd.

He's also probably corrupt.

But he's also the only man capable of doing the job that needs doing: holding together countless complex tribal and religious factions in a fragile and volatile nation where men will often forsake wealth over the pettiest matters of personal pride.

Recently Karzai was accused of wooing the Taliban by saying Christians had little place in Afghanistan. This was reported all over the world and Karzai was thus declared a bigot and an extremist. He then appealed to the courts to dismiss anti-Christian cases which persecuted Christians in his country. This is all a balancing act. Karzai has simply got to maintain the loyalty of tribal and religious elders if he is to hold the whole damned nightmare together.

With 87% of the world's heroin coming from Afghanistan, it is remarkable that Karzai is even still alive; drug traffickers don't care what you believe in, and having tried to crush the power of the drug warlords Karzai has persistently put his life at risk every day of every year since he came to power. That the world's petulant press cannot see this is in itself noteworthy.

We judge the situation in Afghanistan according to our own twisted sense of superiority, as though to sanction Iraq into 1,000,000+ innocent lost lives was a mark of our own moral rectitude whilst Karzai the demon is a panderer apparently beneath our noble western brilliance.

Karzai is Karzai. Afghanistan is Afghanistan. They never asked us to invade their country and inflict unbelievable loss of life on them...people seem to forget that.

In the final examination, what interests me is the way Americans are now talking about the "ungrateful" Karzai the way British people used to talk about Kenya or Zimbabwe or South Africa or Pakistan - that we had done so much for our empire subjects and now they turn against us!

The invasion of Afghanistan ended the Taliban but it still left power in the hands of the rural warlords and drug dealers. Anyone who thinks Afghanistan is a more stable society thanks to our efforts is nuts.

Yet it's not correct to say our efforts were in vain. There is deep gratitude in Afghanistan for the fact that there are basic freedoms today that didn't exist before. To see that youth in Kabul can play its rock music and piss about does give one a sense that the sacrifice of US and British soldiers will one day be recognised fully.

Sadly, that day is probably a long way off, and it must be arrived at in a time suitable to the Afghan people, whose suffering is beyond our western imaginations.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Some Light Relief...

It's all death and disaster in the papers right now so I want you to laugh a little.

The following video is easily the best "bad language course" I've yet come across.

Having conquered the French language (with the help of a year in France working for The Bank), I decided to recently re-learn Persian. It's Indo-European (yes, citizens, Iranians are more closely related to you than they are to Arabs or Jews) so it's moderately straightforward when you get past the Perso-Arabic script (You've no idea how easy I just made that sound - there are over 150 different character combos to learn)

Well I found this random video on YouTube and you MUST watch the intro about "British accents". Once done, go straight to 4:40 and watch the world's most uncomfortable meal. From the look on the face of interlocutor number 2 you'd think "And the pepper?" was akin to "Shall we ask the Last Shah of Iran to come back to power?"

Then, for the greatest comic moment in history go to 5:20 and watch a conversation about "rest rooms" that literally made me spill coffee all over myself. Talk about Freudian disasters!! And trust me, beyond that it just gets funnier and funnier. I'd watch the whole series if I were you.


Enjoy!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Gaddafi Dead. What Next For Democracy in Libya?

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-15397812

The announcement of Gaddafi's death did not come to me as a cause for joy. No man's death is a joy to a person with a sense of humanity. The end of tyranny is joyful, yes, but a human's end is no time for popping champagne and giving high-fives.

The most important question isn't how Gaddafi died, but what will become of Libya now. Continue Reading This Article>>>

Monday, October 17, 2011

Two Videos That Will Make You Glad You Check This Blog...

I urge you to watch this videos and ask yourself one question: Is my life really that bad? These videos will make you glad to be alive and they will make you like Ross Capicchioni a great deal. You won't forget this guy.

I think what strikes me most about this man's story is the complete control he has over self-expression and the extent to which he has overcome an absolutely awful experience in order to rise up and find new life. Having had to do this myself on five occasions I can relate to his story perfectly. It never gets any easier, but your learn to lessen the impact of trauma in life.

To be this young and have such a strong sense of gratitude is a gift and a choice. For the latter he deserves to be crowned by the universe.

Amazing guy. Enjoy the videos.

--PART 1--


--PART 2--

Iran Versus Israel...the war that would end an Israeli state.

So in response to the unparalleled amount of truly misguided "Team America" talk being thrown around on the internet by people in the US who still (for some bizarre, messed up reason) think Israel is the US's responsibility, here are some hard facts about a war between Iran and Israel.

This war would cause atrocious loss of life and would stand as another mark of the incomparable stupidity of the human species. It would set the global economy back a generation.

1. Russia's Chief of Staff said in 2010 that any attempts by the US to become involved in a regional conflict involving Iran and Israel "Would be met with the most severe response".

2. Israel has roughly 42 missiles capable of hitting an Iran with a 70 million population

3. Iran has hundreds of mid-range missiles capable of hitting an Israel with a population of 6 million.

4. 42 missiles (even if primed with nuclear warheads) is not enough to destroy the armed forces of Iran nor Iran's war infrastructure. Iran is one of the biggest countries on earth in sheer geographic area and, contrary to general wisdom, nuclear missiles aren't as accurate or reliable as you would expect. As former Iranian defense minister, Ali Shamkhani, stated "The fact that Israel is threatening this war is the best indication of their lack of clear military strategy towards Iran".

5. Iran could sustain 70-80% damage to its defense infrastructure whilst still firing enough missiles to strike Tel Aviv. It would more than likely fire off a few dozen into neighbouring Saudi Arabia's oilfields, causing a meltdown in the oil markets and a US Dollar spinning out of control.

6. If Tel Aviv were struck it would be, in the words of US General David Hutchens, "all over".

7. Iran owns an upgraded S-200 Russian-built missile defense shield which would very easily prevent Israeli missiles from hitting their target. That would mean potential nuclear radiation raining down on Russia.

8. Iran is rapidly, with Russian help, attaining fully self-sustaining arms production. It has ramped up procurement of submarines including kilo class subs. It has joint arms tech projects with China. It is buying everything it can get its hands on.

9. Iran has one of the most dedicated and ruthless secret services on the planet.

10. Iran doesn't need "range" to be a consideration in a war with Israel - Syria is next door to Israel and would attack Israel the second any war broke out.

One could go on to list Israel's Jericho nuclear missiles or Israel's Arrow defense system but the basic point is this: Israel would be the only long-term loser in this Armageddon. Iran, Israel, North Korea et al can survive massive wars. Israel cannot.

If 200 Syrian and Iranian warheads land on Tel Aviv the government will be obliterated and Israel would be a nation without a leadership and without an economy.

If a single North Korean nuclear warhead landed on Tel Aviv, Israel as a nation would simply cease to exist. It has 6 million people and a fragile economy without any back-up funds to speak of. America has 14 trillion dollars of debt; it can't afford nation-saving projects any more - there simply isn't any money left.

In simplest terms, the "winner" of such a futile war would be the evil, despotic regime in Iran. The regime itself might be toppled by such a war, but that is not an eventuality they seem to fear. The regime would experience massive boosts in popular support and it would see Israel vanish as a regional force forever.

Bashar Al Assad would probably get to stick around too.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Iran Assassination Plot?? This Is A Remarkable Video...

The remarkable element in this is that this piece comes from Fox News. It is a superb piece of journalism and it deserves to be seen by anyone concerned about the lies and myths promoted by Israel, the AIPAC and State Department in order to push us into wars with non-existent enemies.

Before you watch this video, I want to say a couple of words about Iran and its sponsorship of assassinations.

I won't waste time condemning the Islamic Regime in Iran; it's brutal, sadistic and we all know it. End of.

But Iran's history of killing people abroad is not as profound and far-reaching as is so often portrayed. In the 80s, Iran's secret service murdered several high-ranking dissidents including the nephew of the Shah of Iran and the Shah's last prime minister, Bakhtiar, whom I apparently met when I was a teen but I've no memory of it - I met a lot of the Shah's people growing up. So yes, Iran did kill dissidents. But foreign government officials? Nah...no pedigree of Iran doing that whatsoever. Unlike Israel, Iran does not have a history of assassinating foreign enemies. It just doesn't.

The entire notion that Khamenei would allow such a shoddy and reckless assassination attempt in which a drunk Iranian US Citizen would use the Mexican drug cartels to kill the Saudi ambassador in Washington is farcical. Iran's SAVAK has men all over Saudi Arabia and it could easily have planted a bomb there and avoid a diplomatic fiasco.

Like the majority of the American public, I don't buy this one bit.

Friday, October 14, 2011

UK Defence Secretary Resigns In Scandal

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-15300751

 Having initially stated that I didn't think this newsworthy, I hereby retract my comments and agree that Liam Fox was right to leave office.

He did it a damned sight quicker that Geoff Hoon did, even though Hoon pushed us into an illegal war in Iraq that has left 112,000 Iraqi civilians dead.

This whole story with Fox just seems a little more...curious, shall we say. He angrily denied there was any private nature to the events, yet one can't help but wonder about the hold Mr Werritty had over him that after a lifetime in politics Fox acted so foolishly.

But kudos to Fox for at the very least living up to the principles he laid at the door of other politicians. I'm no fan of his, yet I do think some recognition of the speed with which he made his decision needs to be noted.

US Catholic Bishop Charged In Child Pornography Bust.

www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/14/robert-finn-kansas-city-b_n_1011444.html

Anyone who knows me personally knows I have the strongest possible reasons for being a Roman Catholic who is deeply glad to see Robert Finn charged.

I have so far steered well clear of stating the full extent of what I saw at the heart of the diocese for which I trained for the Catholic priesthood after a career in banking and the charitable sector.Continue Reading This Article>>>

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The American Taxpayer: Blackmailed into Paying For Israel's Wars.

 Courtesy of: http://wrmea.org/component/content/article/245-2008-november/3845-congress-watch-a-conservative-estimate-of-total-direct-us-aid-to-israel-almost-114-billion.html

Now you can all see the direct power that the American Israel Public Affairs Committee has over the US taxpayer.

Bear in mind: A) these sums are in MILLIONS of US Dollars B) they are conservative estimates.

If this doesn't sicken Americans already tired to death of paying for Israel's wars with US dollars AND America's sons and daughters, then I'll eat my hat...with chopsticks:

TABLE 1: Direct U.S. Aid to Israel (millions of dollars)

Year
Total
Military
Grant
Economic
Grant
Immigrant
ASHA
All Other
1949-1996
68,030.9
29,014.9
23,122.4
868.9
121.4
14,903.3
1997
3,132.1
1,800.0
1,200.0
80.0
2.1
50.0
1998
3,080.0
1,800.0
1,200.0
80.0
?
?
1999
3,010.0
1,860.0
1,080.0
70.0
?
?
2000
4,131.85
3,120.0
949.1
60.0
2.75
?
2001
2,876.05
1,975.6
838.2
60.0
2.25
?
2002
2,850.65
2,040.0
720.0
60.0
2.65
28.0
2003
3,745.15
3,086.4
596.1
59.6
3.05
?
2004
2,687.25
2,147.3
477.2
49.7
3.15
9.9
2005
2,612.15
2,202.2
357.0
50.0
2.95
?
2006
2,534.53
2,257.0
237.0
40.0
?
.53
2007
2,500.24
2,340.0
120.0
40.0
?
.24
2008
2,423.8
2,380.6
0.0
39.7
3.0
.5
Total
103,614.67
56,024.0
30,897.0
1,557.9
143.3
14,992.47
Notes: FY 2000 military grants include $1.2 billion for the Wye agreement and $1.92 billion in annual military aid. FY 2003 military aid included $1 billion from the supplemental appropriations bill. The economic grant was earmarked for $960 million for FY 2000 but was reduced to meet the 0.38% rescission. Final amounts for FY 2003 are reduced by 0.65% mandated rescission, the amounts for FY 2004 are reduced by 0.59%, and the amounts for FY 2008 are reduced by .81%.
Sources: CRS Report RL33222: U.S. Foreign Aid to Israel, updated Jan. 2, 2008, plus the FY ’08 omnibus appropriations bill, H.R. 2764.

The Destruction of Arabic Jerusalem.



You probably don't know this (most westerners don't), but East Jerusalem is where the international community says the capital of Palestine must be.

Given that this is a fundamental principle of the world's stance on Israel you ought to know that a bigotted, sectarian Israeli group called Elad has for several years been creating a settlement in the heart of East Jerusalem to dig up the city and claim intense archaeological necessity has caused the influx of "settlers" into an ancient Arabic district of the city.

It's ethnic cleansing. And it has the backing of Netanyahu and the Mayor of Jerusalem.

So take a look at what a courageous Jewish-Israeli archaeologist thinks of all this: http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/news/top-archaeologist-decries-jerusalem-dig-as-unscientific-tourist-gimmick-1.389244

I subscribe to the daily newsletter from Silwan. I urge you to do so, and to send them your support. These people's kids are arrested and shot at almost daily: http://silwanic.net/

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Iran Plot to Kill Saudi Ambassador in America.

So that's the big story this week: Iran tries to kill ambassador Al-Jubeir in Washington DC.

I'm angry so I'll cut the crap.

Al-Jubeir met General Petraeus throughout 2007-2009 and we know as a matter of incontrovertible fact that that putrid sack of detritus (Al Jubeir, that is) informed the US government that the thief and tyrant running Saudi Arabia (I won't refer to him as a 'king') wished for the US to "cut off the serpent's head", a reference to Iran's sovereign government.

This will end in hot words and nonsense. No one can touch Iran - it's one of Russia and China's largest oil suppliers, Syria has a joint defense pact with Iran, and the North Koreans have emphatically threatened to nuke anyone who interferes with N. Korea's oil supply. So there's no need for long-winded foolishness about international diplomacy.

Consider it: The Saud family called for "severe US and international sanctions on Iran, including a travel ban and further restrictions on bank lending." The wikileaks cable releases also showed these people adding, "the foreign minister also stated that the use of military pressure against Iran should not be ruled out."

Over ONE MILLION innocent Iraqis died under the US sanctions against Saddam. THAT is what the evil, corrupt Saud family wants done to Iranians. 

Saudi Arabia, a land without basic human rights, has the nerve to call on the US to invade Iran leading to the horrific loss of innocent civilian life one sees in Iraq daily. If you knew anything about the Saud family you would know they are among the most vicious, murderous, evil clans to have ever walked upon the earth. They are thieves of the first order, robbing their people blind and blowing fortunes on extravagant trash while millions of children in this world starve to death or die of easily curable diseases.

Iran is no Disneyland, but they are entitled to hate the western world for what we did to them for a century.

I would not celebrate the death of the Saud ambassador but I certainly would not weep over his passing.

So long as women in Saudi Arabia are beheaded for adultery, or publicly flogged for driving, or banned from sitting in the faux-parliament then the Saud family (which has brutally crushed opposition in its land) is in no position to call anyone a "serpent".

Islam, The West, and thanking the Arabs for discovering the New World.

Islam and Science Link Here
 
Western right-wing conversation on Islam is about as useful as a pedal-powered wheelchair.

I haven't enough time and patience to write a full analysis of this latest  "Reds Under The Bed" mania which now grips the right-wing of western media but I wanted to address a couple of points which I think matter in the current climate. I could go into a massive, erudite thesis covering the Safavids and the Moghuls and Saladin and his treatises on war or the court of the Ottomans and their dhimmi rule but let's not; it's too early and I've things to do. So...Continue Reading This Article>>>

Friday, October 07, 2011

This is what The Republican Party Needs...

"Moral values while you're diddling your secretary? Come on, get off of it!"

Now that's a Republican anyone would be happy to vote for.

I came across this on another blog and I had to share it. This man is exactly what the Republican Party needs to rediscover and I was absolutely stunned to see this sort of deep moral integrity coming from a GOP senator.

If this man stood as a presidential candidate for the GOP he'd have a very good chance of winning an election against Obama for the obvious reason that he is a unifier and NOT a divider.

Remarkable stuff:

Round-up of the Inspiring and Unusual...

1) What fearless courage in the name of freedom looks like. This is the speech King gave the night before he was murdered. These are the last words of that 40-minute speech and until you've heard it in its entirety you've barely lived! It'll be on YouTube somewhere, but for now here's the spine-tingling ending:



2) Reminding you how beautiful the human race can be. The old lady at the beginning is someone we could all do with in our lives:




3) An amazing green/urban redevelopment project in New York City. Amazing stuff and I would love to go see it some day: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-15208873

4) Lunatic Wingsuit Man Jeb Corliss flies through cave in China:

Savonarola and Lessons for Our World

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Girolamo_Savonarola

I recently started re-reading my biography of Girolamo di Savonarola again, he of "Mad Monk" and "Bonfire of the Vanities" fame.

Be sure, reader, Savonarola is not for the fainthearted: he has been called a terrorist, a lunatic, a misanthrope and far, far worse besides...Continue Reading This Article>>>

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

RIP Steve Jobs, February 24, 1955 – October 5, 2011

Never Confuse Ideology With Intelligence.

I briefly had a series of online confrontations today after helping a friend sort out their finances which left me with a truly nasty taste in my mouth.

After an hour of sitting with the said friend to advise on a couple of things to get them out of a situation (a very rewarding experience), I came back to find a series of responses on Huffington which demonstrated to me the depravity of so much of western dialectic (if it can even be rewarded that term) in the modern age. It's the kind of behaviour I just don't see in Persian or Arabic forums and it is sick to the core...

See what I mean about the rise and fall of empires?

http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2011/10/05/putin-returning-president_n_995619.html

This just backs everything I've said about the deadlock in American politics; the world has categorically moved on from a US-dominated global economy and the only people who are doing nothing about it are the Capitol Hill Brigade.

This news from Russia will doubtless see French, German and British finance ministers launch a whole range of relationship-building exercises which will further damage the US economy in the wake of 10 solid years of political chauvinism under Bush. It is absolutely no coincidence at all that it comes after another suicidal decision by a US president to back Israel in the UN against the wishes of the rest of the worlds governments. This has been timed to say to America's president, "Ok, so let's show you how irrelevant you are in the Security Council. Go ahead, veto another piece of the puzzle; we don't need you anyway".

British excellent relations with India, French close economic bonds with China, German diplomacy in Russia. 15% of UK trade is with the US and that figure is rapidly diminishing.

People in Washington are rushing their country into absolute decline by sidelining the US in just about every international organisation from the UN to NATO to the IMF. And they think this news doesn't prove what happens when you tamper with global political opinion.

British GDP per capita PPP is still head and shoulders above Russian GDP so it'll be a while yet before there is any serious impact, but who do you think the Arabs and Iranians would now prefer to sell their oil to? India recently agreed to pay Iran over £3 Billion in oil debt because Iran threatened to stop exports of oil to India; so if India (a 1 Billion person economy) does as Iran says, what hope is there for the US to resist the tide if the Middle East has its probable backlash after decades of interference which established Mubarak, the Shah of Iran, Israel and all the other despotic regimes out there?

The funniest political interview on British TV ever...

Ken Livingstone has been quoted many times in saying that it's a fool who underestimates our Mayor, Boris Johnson. Having met Johnson on several occasions I have to agree with Ken (whom I actually like in equal measure and for very similar reasons) that Johnson is a shrewd man with a good mind and a slight genius for campaigns. He's also totally and utterly real; he treats everyone with equal attention (or lack of it) and you get the impression you're talking to a real human being.

To those of who who don't know, the interviewer (Jeremy Paxman) is the UK's version of Bill O'Riley; famed as a vicious political interviewer loved and loathed in equal measure.



If both Boris's intellect and humanity don't get him re-elected then it'll be a sad day for London. We've probably not had a politician this popular this St Tony Blair came to power in 97.

Paxman ended up in fits of laughter the last time he interviewed Boris and it happens again here!

What's wrong with Britain today.

Britain often seems like it's changing too fast for my generation to cope with.

To set the record straight, I grew up in a working class Irish family in London where I was the first member of my immediate family to enjoy a university education. I went to one of the country's best universities after getting the grades I needed and after years at a failing state school...

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

A US Death Penalty Case far worse than that of Troy Davis.

Innocent Man Denied DNA Test Which Could Exonerate Him?!

This is just the worst story on the Death Penalty in the US I've read in years and it will no doubt overtake the horrendous experience of Troy Davis, a case which shocked Americans to the core.

What is wrong with these people?!

Global Obesity Quick Stats.

Further to this blog entry: The Danes Launch "Operation Cheeseburger"...

..I thought you'd all like a quick look at this: (Click image to enlarge)

How to cure America's economy.



The above video is a stark and even shocking reminder of what American politics used to look like. I urge you to watch it and ask where these men are today.

The 1950s was the heyday of US free market economics. If you were white, middle class, and paid into your pension fund you are now living a superb life in most cases and not only own your own home outright but have invested in enough fixed-income products to see you through this current hyper-squeeze...

Monday, October 03, 2011

Afghanistan - where it's not all bad news.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/newsbeat/15151891

After looking at endless news coverage of murder, mayhem and morons, this story above on the 'Beeb' really made me feel good about the world.

We take so much for granted in the west and it goes to show that people are all the same at their core. Especially the young.

God bless 'em, let them rock their hearts out. Lord knows if any group has earned the right to party it's young Afghans.

Sunday, October 02, 2011

The Danes are taxing FAT??

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-15137948

When I first saw this headline I thought, "Oh for heaven's sakes, more nanny state politics".

I'm not a fan of state interference in the sphere of private consumption of legal goods, but this news item did appeal to me...

I do believe in giving people a gentle nudge away from things that cause them to live shorter, unhealthier lives. What I mean is this: tell a person to quit smoking and they will likely put their lips around a chimney and breathe in 50 kilos of tobacco smoke in one sitting. Yet tell corporations to stop raising our sodium levels and most of us will be ok with that.

The fact is that saturated fat kills far more people per annum than smoking ever did, and now that hardly anyone smokes any more (at least in the west) it is obvious that obesity has outstripped tobacco and alcohol as the number one killer.

The Danes aren't anti-fun at all; they drink like fiends. It is because of my personal experience of Danes that I actually admire this move.

But it does make the thought of having a Danish and coffee seem a little less appetising. But not as unappetising as the thought of eating a twinkie!

Why America Can't Fail.

I grew up in a family where "America" was always a good word. It meant the place where I had hundreds of Irish-American cousins, it was where good films were made, and where having a British or Irish accent made you instantly popular no matter how big a fool you were back in Britannia or Hibernia.

My hero has always been Bobby Kennedy, possibly the last true Statesman the US political world has had, a man who would quote Aeschylus in his campaign speeches and tell rich Harvard students that THEY were going to pay for a new American society...

Friday, September 30, 2011

Ah...the twisted sanity of the Brits...

The top two stories on the BBC website today are the following:

Most Read Story  = "Should We Stop Buying Distressed Jeans?"-
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-15017790

Most Shared Story= "Beetle's Beerbottle Sex Wins igNoble Award"-
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-15117051

As I said at the HP, I find this strangely comforting; to know the British are still fascinated by the most compassionate yet also the most bizarre news coverage.

Medvedev and Putin, courtesy of Huffington

This is easily my favourite line of journalism over at the Huffington Post today:

"While state-controlled national TV have given ample coverage to both leaders, Putin has been far more astute in using television to cultivate his image as Russia's most powerful person, riding a horse bare-chested through the mountains, swimming the butterfly stroke in a Siberian river and driving motorcycles. The IPad-toting and Tweeting Medvedev looks boyish compared to his steely-eyed mentor."

It's like Flash Gordon meets Dennis the Menace.



Mythbusting Israel 101

 

So I'll cut to the chase. These are the biggest myths about the apartheid state of Modern Israel and what you can do to disarm those myths...

Muffingate!!

Here's my remark at The Huffington Post on the latest life-threatening scandal to rock Washington (government clerks eating expensive muffins):

"If I were President I'd order a plate of diamond-encrusted blueberry muffins. Naturally, the diamonds would have to be marquis cut, grade AAA blue diamonds for which someone had died in order to get them to the black market. I'd then eat those 1.5 million dollar muffins with tea made from the Blood of the Innocents (loose leaf, obviously).

I'd do all of this whilst watching the latest Bloomberg market reports of the global economy in freefall.


...that...
­or I'd come on Huffington Post and moan about big government­. I'm not sure which yet. Hmmm...."

Thursday, September 29, 2011

My Country Tis of Thee...

"Miaow!"
Since the early nineties the favourite hobby of countless commentators across the world has been "How I Hate America".

It's not a game I've ever entertained. As a man who has probably hundreds of cousins in the US due to my mixed British & Irish background, I remember that America gave a home (albeit an initially hatefully anti-Irish home) to the millions who fled famine and persecution in Ireland in order to become the most powerful ethnic group in American politics and religion. After a century and a half, the Irish are still the largest ethnic group in Congress and have contributed more Presidents to American history than any other group of late-comers: 22 in total - with both Biden and Obama having ancestors from the SAME town in Ireland! They still dominate the largest religion in the US (the Catholic Church), they still dominate the US Military, and they are massively over-represented in both the Congress and the Senate. They did well, and we back home know it and appreciate it...

All You Need To Know About The Creation of Israel...

In writing about the appearance of modern Israel it is hard to contain a deep-seated animosity to the nation which today stands accused of being the most vicious and dangerous small nation on the planet. When Archbishop Desmond Tutu said that Apartheid South Africa was "a walk in the park" compared to what has been done to Palestinians, we all should have sat up and taken note...

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

William Hague, Order of The Brown Nose...

Hague! I keeeel you!!
On the BBC World Service today I heard that awful clip of a teenaged William Hague (British Foreign Secretary) addressing a 1977 Conservative Party conference and cracking horrendously embarrassing jokes for old people to laugh at.

Post-nonsense intro, the currently 50 year old Mr Hague referred to an invasion of Syria as "not something that could be conceived of". I love that kind of mealy-mouthed sentence...

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Abbas Gets Standing Ovation at UN

"The time has come for my courageous and proud people, after decades of displacement and colonial occupation and ceaseless suffering, to live like other peoples of the earth, free in a sovereign and independent homeland."

It is a beautiful thing to witness any nation strive for liberty.

After endless massacres and endless western betrayals against his people, Mr Abbas is pushing ahead with his plan at the UN to put Palestine on the map where it damned well belongs. And what is more, he is doing it with the support of the majority of the worlds people, according to the BBC poll.

What strikes me about this current phase of the Palestinian nightmare is the extent to which the US is now looking very much like the most isolated and increasingly irrelevant nation in the developed world. One would be tempted to laugh at the suggestion of US irrelevance on the global stage were it not for the fact that America is now very much almost bankrupt and showing all the signs of an empire in colossal decline. Being isolated politically can have profound economic impact on even the largest powers on earth. Reader, America owes money to China for heaven's sakes....

Non-story of the Week: Putin Back in Town.

Stop Press: Hatchet faced Russian to be replaced by Hatchet faced Russian

Whenever I see current Russian President/Mob Boss Medvedev (talk about a surname invented to make you mispronounce it) on the TV I smile at his amusing body language. Medvedev apparently runs Russia. Hmmm...and I am secretly the inventor of breathable oxygen.

It's not that I believe Mevdevev is an idiot (ok, I do) but it's more that his geezer-esque head jutting and neck stretching quirks are so "I'm in charge 'ere, mate!" that you can't help but check his arms for puppet strings. I picture Putin saying things to Vevdemev such as "My boy, if you behave yourself I'll let you keep the office stationery".

So Putin is back in town. Big deal; Russian society is in meltdown and has been since the communists left, leaving a moral vacuum at the heart of Russian society. Over 50% of the Russian male population is alcoholic (even higher in rural zones), the political establishment is more "rubble of roubles" than diplomacy troubles, and the economy is controlled by perhaps the most murderous and godless bunch of thugs ever to walk the good earth of Mother Russia.

If anything will change under Putin it is the following: Nothing.

I wonder how Cole Porter's "Anything Goes!" would translate into Russian...

The First of Many....

Our obsessions in this life, as mortals, are determined by those things which either make us feel most alive or which most threaten our sense of self; for some the obsession is how they are seen by others, for some the obsession is what they possess. Consider for a moment those obsessions of your own - don't they revolve around that which makes you feel most alive or most in jeopardy?

Yet occasionally though, one finds in this life those rare folk who are obsessed with the health, wealth, and prosperity of others. They're not as rare as we seem to think, yet only a handful ever make it to the world stage: a Mandela, a St Francis, a Norman Finkelstein, a Bobby Kennedy; these characters exist in every Latin American shanty town and every lush plateu of Asia, and every sprawling western city or windswept Slavic plain, yet we do not know their names and doubtless never will. Yet be comforted, dear reader, to know that vast numbers of people alive today are willing to lay down their lives for the future prosperity and happiness of persons they will never meet. What a glory mankind so often is!

In starting this blog I do not know that I am a perfect example of what a man supposedly is, nor do I claim absolute knowledge of that which makes for a perfect world (if such a thing could ever exist). Yet I have, by virtue of my own reason and by virtue of my remarkable set of experiences in life, come to some absolutely fundamental and unchanging beliefs about our existence as humans. The first of which is very simple: every human life is sacred, inviolable, and no man has a right to take it away other than under the circumstances of a 'Just War'. A 'Just War' is exceptionally rare, dear reader.

The second principle is perhaps more fundamental than the first, for it gives it a rationale: Each of us depends on 'the other' for his or her existence; we are bound by a common destiny and a shared fate, which is to live here together in peace or die here together in angst. To allow injury to another is to commit that injury unto yourself.

This brings me, good reader, to the final of my fundamental principles of human life: So long as outrageous injustice is collectively done unto 'the other', this world can never be at peace.

It all looks so basic doesn't it? I suppose that is the beauty of complex and profound matters; that they ultimately reside in very simple principles.

When we look at the state of the world today we note, in this 21st century since the death of Christ, one glaringly obvious fact: the "Age of Reason" has yet to come to pass! Our global village has failed to grasp the basic concept that if you inflict agony and corruption on your colonised subjects you will one day reap the whirlwind. I refer very specifically to the current invented division between the Islamic East and the Christian West, a species of propagandist mudslinging so devious and bloody that the very core of what is 'true' in this new war has been lost to the man on the street, the Average Joe going about his daily life.

My hero, Robert F. Kennedy, once asked who the politicians of the U.S were, that they should decide which village or town in Vietnam should be destroyed, he asked whether such aloof and belligerent men as "Bombs Away" LeMay were like the gods of the Old Testament; throwing dice at the fate of mens lives.

We see today a Middle-East which has finally shaken off two centuries of western interference and yet which has another thousand miles to walk until it achieves self-empowerment. We see a Palestine brought to its knees through sixty years of the most unspeakable murder and violence by a people who continue to occupy their land. We see an Iran still reeling from the chaos inflicted on it when the CIA and MI6 destroyed the first democratic government in the entire region - when the 1950s government of Prime Minister Mossadegh was overthrown in a coup which put a young, inept, and foolish Shah in control of the first nation to be utterly exploited for its oil reserves.

In the latest round of games and nonsense we see a US government utterly out of step with world opinion, denying the majority verdict of its own people (the majority of US citizens are actually pro-Palestinian liberty according to the latest BBC poll). It is a US government which, through the cowardice of an Obama who promised so much, has landed the collective genius of western economics and politics in a sh*t storm so intense that the Chinese and Russians are laughing at the naivety and myopia of our politicians.

John Donne once wrote that "No man is an island, entire of itself....each man's death diminishes me, for I am a part of mankind". We know that wisdom in our deepest heart's core; we know that liberty and justice in the east will equate to peace in London, New York, Madrid and every other place ripped apart by terrorism. Yet we permit dull, paid-up, mealy-mouthed men in cheap suits to dictate a series of subversive wars and interventions which in the shortest of terms has secured cheaper oil, but in the longest of terms has left countless westerners dead and many millions more dead in the Arabic and Iranian zones.

We recall those few thousand western victims of terror yet turn a blind eye to the 100,000+ Palestinians massacred since the British were forced out of British Palestine by Israeli terrorists like the Irgun. We sing "My country tis of thee" or "Abide with me" at the going down of the military sun at the death of every corporal from Idaho and private from Glasgow, yet hide from the 900,000 Iranians and Iraqis killed by the Iran-Iraq War which was endlessly fed by American dollars and American arms to BOTH sides.

Not since Nasser lived has the Arabic world seen such a determined effort to end western interference in its life, and for those of us who have a basic understanding of the astounding contribution to art, science, philosophy and medicine that the Arabs have made it is a pleasing sight to see that they have in many regions achieved the beginnings of liberty without colossal bloodshed. Not only this, but unlike our own European history of liberation from Communism, the Arabs showed the world that freedom by sheer force of human dignity need not come at the price of tens of thousands of lives. Yet again, perhaps the West must learn from the East.

If you have come this far, I thank you for reading. My hope is to write on these and many other matters with a diligence I hope you will find rewarding, and at least with an integrity which I know is based on those simple principles of which I wrote.

I also hope to not be an incredible bore. I'm supposedly the possessor of a brilliant sense of humour, so we shall see if that ever rears its head, like some coiled snake leaping at a souk entertainer.

The world is still a beautiful place, and by your goodness you can redeem it with the smallest acts of kindness right through to the greatest acts of courage. After all, my friend, YOU are this world; YOU are mankind.

The good news in all this is so good it's hard to resist: you CAN change the world!