Thursday, October 26, 2006

UK Postal Voting is Wide Open to Corruption

UK Postal Voting is Wide Open to Corruption
That is the opinion of Andy Hayman. He is assistant commissioner of Scotland Yard - full details about him can be found here .

There is currently an ongoing police investigation of last years' Council elections in Tower Hamlet (other London regions are also under investigation) amid claims that:
  • Hundreds of postal votes were stolen from blocks of flats
  • Voters being duped into applying for postal votes then handing them to party activists (mainly vulnerable people)
  • Falsification of nomination papers
  • False statements of candidates
  • Impersonation of candidates
  • Voters who didn't apply for postal votes receiving them
  • Voters who DID apply for postal votes not receiving them
This has happened before in the Birmingham area in 2004. The result? - Six Labour councilors were found guilty of vote rigging and were stripped of office. In fact the more digging I do, I find more postal frauds. Councillor arrested in Blackburn, allegations of fraud in Bradford, Burnley, Derby and Woking plus more!!

It seems obvious that the postal voting system is very easy to corrupt.The police simply don't have the manpower to investigate every claim so many people will get away with it. It is bloody hard to prove fraud since we vote in secret.

The reason why postal voting was introduced was to increase turnout (if you want to increase turnout - make voting compulsory!), but it seems obvious this is a simple method of fixing the vote. You only have to look at America and the scandals they have had at the last 2 elections with electronic voting and postal voting. There is a whole load of information out there on the web and in books if you don't believe me.

We are supposed to live in a democracy yet, how do we know for sure that our vote is counted? Or not altered? We don't!

The governments and parties WILL take advantage of this situation . Don't be fooled Power is an addictive thing - Henry Kissinger once commented that:
"Power is the ultimate aphrodisiac".
The problem is that we have a secret ballot and that is open to manipulation . To quote that Commie leader Stalin (and star of Command and Conquer: Red Alert!)
" The people who cast the votes decide nothing. The people who count the votes decide everything."
There is a solution though - to have open voting. I can't see why it has to be so much of a secret anyway. I bet you tell you friends and family. You see people on the telly announcing to the nation who they have voted anyway!

Here IMO is a basic blueprint for voting and is far far less suspectible to manipulation.
  • You put yourself (can be done automatically) on the electoral roll so to be eligible to vote
  • You go to the posting station on the day of the election.
  • You go to the official (you will need your passport/driving license to correctly identify yourself) and get your official voting card (this will have your name and NI number on it).(The official MUST NOT have any ties to any of the parties.)
  • Tick the box of whoever you want to elect and sign the paper whilst being observed by the official. Official stamps the card.
  • Official gets one copy, whilst you get the other.
  • Votes get counted. This will take at least one or two full days (day after election) so as not to rush the process. (Counting will be fully observed and throughly checked). so this will lower the risk of genuine human error
  • If there is any dispute, it will be easy to check as you have your receipt and so should the official.
It's not perfect but it is a far better and quite simple system! The whole voting system should also be operated by an entirely independent organisation .

More information

Articles about the voting scandal in London and comments from Andy Haymen:

BBC News article
Daily Mail article
Guardian article
Respect party comment and opinion

Also check this out:

Excellent blog about postal voting.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Large Fines for Refusing to Help Council Spies

So the government wants to invade our privacy by wanting to enter OUR homes and taking photographs of YOUR property so they can hope to charge us even more council tax. (Absurdly you can be charged extra for having a "good view" - how the heck can they quantify a "good view")

And if we don't "reasonably assist", they can fine us £1000 plus £200 every day after that. Oh and you'll get a police record too. This is beyond crazy.

What happened to your house being every man's castle? By law it is illegal for anybody to enter unless they have your permission or they have a warrant - that includes baliffs, salespeople, police and council representives.

So if one of these council spies wants to examine your property - you have the right to not let them in, that is the current law. The government wants the POWER to invade your privacy and examine your house.

So far this just applies in Northern Ireland as a "trial". Yeah some trial - trialling it in a country!!! You can bet your bottom dollar this will happen in the rest of the UK.

Don't listen to the spin they say - "It will be a fairer system" Peter Hain - for who exactly? Who decides on the valuation? - the council, so they will value it as much as possible thus getting maximum council tax from you.
In many Labour heartlands, by contrast, average bills would fall because house price rises have been less dramatic since the last national revaluation.
That is their justification , but they don't need to go into your house to determine this. They have all the house price data they need(and I'd assume they know even more data/trends etc since the last revaluation) and they never needed to before when valuing your house, so why do they now??

Just to be a helpful - read these tips - if you want to minimise your council tax payments to YOUR advantage. They had my parent's house band in a band higher than the identical property next door. Luckily I told them to challenge it and bingo lower band. The council/state will try to get away with cheating you, don't let them. You work damn hard just to make do - don't be giving it away to warmongers and liars.

Back to the subject: Will they use this power and expand the law for more sinister reasons? Will they give themselves the power to break in (you may think this is absurd but read this) What legal protection will we have from the state?

I truly object to council spies - spying and photographing my property. It is another form of CONTROL and control is the opposite of FREEDOM and LIBERTY . I hope you object too because if you roll over and let them (like bullies), they will come back for even more.

Here is the said article: Daily Mail

£1,000 fine for householders who refuse council tax 'snoopers'

by JAMES CHAPMAN Last updated at 23:31pm on 24th October 2006
couple at house door

Let me in: Council tax 'inspectors' will be given the right to fine homeowners who refuse to cooperate with them

A new army of council tax 'inspectors' is to be given the right to enter people's homes and issue fines to anyone who refuses to cooperate.

Camera-wielding officials will be able to take photographs inside properties, including bedrooms, and rule they should pay more if they have home improvements such as patios and conservatories.

Residents could be fined £1,000, and then £200 every day after that, if they do not let the inspectors in or fail to properly 'assist' them.

The Conservatives branded the proposals a snoopers' charter that would trample over fundamental civil liberties.

Homeowners are expected to face higher council tax bills if they enjoy good views or have improved their property by building an extension or putting in double glazing.

These would be deemed 'site positive' features that enhanced the value of a property under a planned revaluation of all 21 million homes in England.

The new tax system will require detailed information about every home.

Under a new house price tax, 'site positive' features would include gardens, patios, conservatories, double glazing, scenic views, number of bedrooms and number of parking spaces.

Shadow local government secretary Caroline Spelman said legislation being discussed in Parliament today would pave the way for council tax inspectors to have new powers to enter and assess properties.

In an alarming addition, residents who 'fail to give reasonable assistance' or do not cooperate with the inspectors will be fined £1,000 and be recorded on local police and court records.

If the householder continues to obstruct, hinder or fail to provide assistance, they can be fined £200 per day on top, she said.

The Tories claim ministers are quietly introducing the new scheme in Northern Ireland before rolling it out nationwide, just as Margaret Thatcher piloted the community charge in Scotland before introducing it in England and Wales.

Shadow Local Government Secretary Caroline Spelman said: "Northern Ireland is now being used as a testing ground for Gordon Brown's tax inspectors, from the levying of a new house price tax, to the use of invasive Big Brother computer databases, to new aggressive state powers to enter family homes.

"Labour craves these powers since they want to tax every feature of people’s homes - including bedrooms, conservatories, double glazing and garden sheds.

"For all of Labour’s talk of human rights, these new powers are the footprint of an oppressive and greedy government.

"Conservatives will resist these new authoritarian powers and will stand up for people’s property, privacy and liberty."

In Northern Ireland, a new house price tax is being introduced - an annual levy calculated using the value of each property.

Residents are expected to be charged at 0.78 per cent of their home's value each year, pushing the average bill from £1,056 to £1,492, though local authorities could vary the rate.

This tax will hit Northern Ireland in April, with a Government review of town hall finances thought to be looking at the same system for England.

The Conservatives warned that if introduced in England, average bills would go up by £436 a year, with middle-class households in the South and South East worst hit.

If the Northern Ireland model was applied in England, several councils - including Westminster, Wandsworth, Camden, Hammersmith and Fulham, Richmond upon Thames, Islington, South Bucks, Windsor & Maidenhead, Mole Valley, St Albans, Winchester, Brentwood and Epping Forest - would see average annual bills rise by more than £1,000.

In many Labour heartlands, by contrast, average bills would fall because house price rises have been less dramatic since the last national revaluation.

A spokesman for the Department for Communities and Local Government accused the Tories of "scaremongering" and said the measures only applied in Northern Ireland.

"The Government is not using Northern Ireland as a testing ground. It has a different system of local government finance from England.

"Different considerations apply. Sir Michael Lyons is currently conducting an independent inquiry into local government. He is due to submit his report to ministers at the end of the year and any decisions will be taken at that time."

Under existing law, anyone who obstructs a valuation officer already commits an offence and may be liable to a fine of up to £500 if convicted.

But previously, they had no right to enter a property and had to base valuations simply from looking at its exterior.

Northern Ireland Secretary Peter Hain, who wants to be Labour's deputy leader under Gordon Brown, said at the party's conference that the new system being introduced there was "fairer".

Monday, October 23, 2006

We have lots of oil left!

Geologist: Earth has lots and lots of oil

SPOKANE, Wash., Oct. 20 (UPI) -- A University of Washington economic geologist says there is lots of crude oil left for human use.

Eric Cheney said Friday in a news release that changing economics, technological advances and efforts such as recycling and substitution make the world's mineral resources virtually infinite.

For instance, oil deposits unreachable 40 years ago can be tapped using improved technology, and oil once too costly to extract from tar sands, organic matter or coal is now worth manufacturing. Though some resources might be costlier now, they still are needed.

"The most common question I get is, 'When are we going to run out of oil?' The correct response is, 'Never,'" said Cheney. "It might be a heck of a lot more expensive than it is now, but there will always be some oil available at a price, perhaps $10 to $100 a gallon."

Cheney also said that gasoline prices today, adjusted for inflation, are about what they were in the early part of the last century. Current prices seem inordinately high, he said, because crude oil was at an extremely low price, $10 a barrel, eight years ago and now fetches around $58 a barrel.

See no need to panic! Of course the oil companies and UK/US governments are bound to say different. Why?

To drive the price up (and for the UK, justify that lovely but expensive tax on petrol). Although Eric Cheney is wrong with the price rise. U.S. inflation is around 3-4%, so the current barrel price should be around...$13-16 not $58!

Though the article got me thinking, of course everybody with a brain cell knows the REAL reason we invaded Afghanistan (apart from the Opium) was to secure that all important gas/oil pipeline from the Black Sea. And Iraq isn't short of oil either, the U.S army grabbed the oil fields ASAP!

They always wanted Iraq's oil, they just needed a flimsy reason that we the people would eat up. WMD! Yeah a country that had been under UN sanctions since the 1st gulf war was really capable of building WMDs.

So with these countries oil supply sucessfully stolen, why oh why have utility prices gone skywards and why have petrol prices increased!

Oil may or may not last forever . However, there are plenty of new alternate ways of providing energy (so why has Tesla's technology been ignored - research that one!). But they usually get supressed by the oil companies , which is common sense really (wouldn't be good for business would it?). And these oil companies have the ears of many governments too.

And I don't believe in this peak oil myth.

Oil - Not worth fighting for. Not worth the death and destruction. Not worth making oil magnates wealthy. Not worth it at all. End of.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

NHS turning away sick babies

This is appalling. The NHS in this country is an absolute mess and at crisis point. We keep hearing the same old crap from Bliar and his cronies. They keep saying that they are pumping more and more money into the NHS and it is getting better.

Then why oh why are hospitals turning away ILL babies?

Why are more and more hospitals either closing down essential wards or closing down entirely? See here here here and here

Why are there more and more cutbacks? See here here here and here

Why are there not enough nurses, doctors and other staff? Why are these nurses and doctors overworked and yet get absolute rubbish pay rises (sometimes less than inflation)? See here here here here and sadly here

Why are 25% of NHS employers now bureaucrat?? We NEED nurses and doctors not paper pushers! We don't need management consultants either.

Why cannot ordinary people get essential cancer drugs? See here and here

What is happening to OUR money?? See here and here for possible explanations. They have even said all the BILLIONS (our money remember) have made NO DIFFERENCE

Why is OUR NHS being slowly privitised without our consent or our approval? Some examples: 1 2 3 4 and some great articles here by Start The Revolution 1 2 3 and this one which is essential reading

Is it no wonder NHS workers are revolting.
They are trying to stop the government selling OUR NHS to some faceless corporations whose ONLY responsibility is to it's shareholders. Will we get a refund when the government cashes in??

I hope you get the point now. This story really sums up the state of OUR NHS.
"was forced to close its doors to hundreds of new premature baby arrivals 71 times in the last six months because it did not have room."

"Across the country, problems with understaffing mean hospitals are frequently unable to accept children, despite having beds lying empty."
So you have to ask yourself WHY is this happening? Why are beds lying empty, why are mothers forced to travel large (and potentially dangerous for babies) distances just to get essential treatment.

The story in full (From The Observer 22nd October 2006)

Hospitals turn away ill babies

Gaby Hinsliff, political editor
Sunday October 22, 2006
The Observer

One of Britain's leading hospitals was forced to refuse 518 requests to care for seriously ill premature babies last year because it did not have the necessary resources, The Observer can reveal.

St George's in south London was forced to close its doors to hundreds of new premature baby arrivals 71 times in the last six months because it did not have room. The hospital has five cot spaces that it is unable to open because it cannot afford nurses for them. Dr Sandy Calvert, consultant neonatologist at the unit, said it was distressing for staff to be unable to help: 'It is very frustrating and it affects morale, if you feel you are turning away babies and they are not getting optimal care.'

The move meant newly delivered mothers and sick infants had to travel large distances in search of another bed, and raises fresh questions over services for the rising number of babies born early. Across the country, problems with understaffing mean hospitals are frequently unable to accept children, despite having beds lying empty.

Dr Andrew Lyon, honorary secretary of the British Association for Perinatal Medicine and a consultant at the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary, said this was not an isolated issue. 'St George's probably had a bad time last year, but this is a national problem. '

Such pressures on resources have prompted questions over whether the NHS should set limits on the amount it spends on neonatal care, and whether doctors should continually push the boundaries in reviving younger and younger babies.

Next month, a landmark report from an expert panel on neonatal care convened by the Nuffield Council on Bioethics is expected to reject calls for national limits on viability - as in Holland, where doctors do not revive any child under 25 weeks - arguing that babies should be treated individually.

However, debate among doctors in Britain over the merits of treating younger infants still rages, with babies born at 23 weeks - four months before the end of a normal pregnancy - now routinely surviving.

Calvert said her own unit did not usually resuscitate 22-week-old babies, but she was aware of one in north London that now did: 'If you want my personal opinion, I think we should be concentrating on improving the quality of survival rather than trying to get younger and younger babies to survive.'

However, Lyon said such practice was rare: 'I think most of us would feel that for gestations below [23 weeks], the data on outcome is such that these babies are really not within current methods of care viable. That may change, but not in the next few years.'

As well as medical advances which keep more babies alive, pressures on neonatal wards have also risen thanks to the IVF boom, which causes more multiple births. These are more likely to be premature.

While adults and children in intensive care have one nurse per patient, for babies the ratio is usually one to two.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

The limits of liberty: We're all suspects now

This is a great article I found and read in the Independant this week. Found it online luckily, so I'd thought I would share it with you.

Oh more traffic camera's for us in the UK now, lucky us! These target bad drivers, pity we can't have cameras that target bad governments!!

The limits of liberty: We're all suspects now

Identity cards. Number-plate surveillance. CCTV. Control orders. The list of ways in which the Government has sought to manipulate and define the limits of our liberty grows ever longer. Ten years ago, the novelist and polemicist Henry Porter would have felt silly speaking out about human rights in Britain. But that was before the most fundamental assault on personal freedom ever undertaken. Now, he argues, it's time we woke up to reality
Published: 19 October 2006

On new year's day 1990, three days after becoming president of Czechoslovakia, Vaclav Havel looked his people in the eye and spoke to them as no one had done before. It is difficult to read his words without feeling the vibration of history of both the liberation and the horrors of the regime that had just expired, leaving the Czech people blinking in the cold sunlight of that extraordinary winter.

This is what he said. "The previous regime, armed with its arrogance and intolerant ideology, reduced man to a force of production. It reduced gifted and autonomous people to nuts and bolts of some monstrously huge, noisy, stinking machine whose real meaning was not clear to anyone. It could do no more but slowly and inexorably wear itself out, and all the nuts and bolts too."

That perfectly defines the true tyranny, where the state takes all liberty and bends each individual will to its own purpose. And here is the interesting thing that Havel put his finger on: no matter how brutal or ruthless the regime, the act of depriving people of their freedom starts the stopwatch on that regime's inevitable demise. What he was saying was that in modern times a state can only thrive in the fullest sense when individuals are accorded maximum freedom.

I agree. Individual liberty is not just the precondition for civilisation, not just morally right, not just the only way people can reach their full potential, live responsibly and have fun; it is also a necessity for the health of government. Ten years ago I would have felt silly speaking about liberty and rights in Britain with the very real concern that I have today. But I am worried. And it's not just me. Last month Le Monde asked "Is Democracy Dying in the West?". In the spring of this year Lord Steyn, the distinguished former law lord, made a speech despairing at this Government's neglect for the Rule of Law, which was followed by Baroness (Helena) Kennedy's alarm call in the James Cameron Lecture.

The inescapable fact is that we have a Prime Minister who repeatedly makes the point that civil liberties arguments are not so much wrong as made for another age [my italics]. We have a Government that has ignored the Rule of Law, reduced rights and has steadily moved to increase the centralised power of the state at the expense of the individual.

So I don't feel quite as silly or as alarmist as I might.

The relationship between the state and individual is really at the heart of any discussion about democracy and rights. In Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union it was the state's mission not just to prevent people from expressing themselves, from moving about freely and unobserved, from pursuing their chosen careers and acting upon their religious and political convictions, but to stop them from thinking freely. It needed to occupy people's thoughts - to take up a kind of permanent residency in the mind of the average citizen. And as the many psychological studies published in the Nineties make clear, this led to psychic disrepair on a massive scale - paranoia, clinical depression, chronic internalised anger and learned helplessness.

We fell morally ill, Havel said in that speech, because we became used to saying something different from what we thought. We learned not to believe in anything, to ignore one another, to care only about ourselves. Concepts such as love, friendship, compassion, humility or forgiveness lost their depth and dimensions, and for many of us represented only psychological peculiarities.

Why am I harping on about communism? It died and was buried 17 years ago, at least in Europe and Russia. We're into another century. We've got Google and speed-dating and globalisation and melting ice caps and reality TV and al-Qa'ida and al-Jazeera and Al Gore. We've moved on.

As a character in Alan Bennett's The History Boys says, there is no period more remote in history than the recent past. Indeed, but we need to remember that recent past a little more than we do. For one thing, our knowledge of what existed on the other side of the Iron Curtain meant we valued and looked after our own freedoms much more than we do today.

It is perhaps the absence of an obvious confrontation between freedom and tyranny that allows Tony Blair to say that civil liberties arguments are made for another age. I profoundly disagree with this. It is dangerous arrogance to say that the past has nothing to teach us and that all the problems we face now are unique to our time.

During his speech to the Labour Party conference, Tony Blair said: "I don't want to live in a police state, or a Big Brother society or put any of our essential freedoms in jeopardy. But because our idea of liberty is not keeping pace with change in reality, those freedoms are in jeopardy."

What in heaven's name did he mean by that? Liberty is liberty. You can't update it. You can't divide it. You are either free, or you're not. A society is either just, or it isn't. People have rights or they don't. The rule of law is upheld, or it isn't.

But Blair believes there is nothing that can't be modernised, updated, pared down or streamlined to keep pace with change. And liberty is no exception to the modernising fury which serves as New Labour's only ideological foundation. What the Prime Minister is saying in this cute little Orwellian paradox is that in the particular circumstances of the war on terror and the rash of crime and anti-social behaviour, we must give up freedom to be free.

What an odd idea! Who is to decide which freedoms are essential and which can be sacrificed to make us secure? Tony Blair, Gordon Brown, Lord Falconer or the former Stalinist and now Home Secretary John Reid?

"Those who would give up essential liberty," observed Benjamin Franklin, "to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither freedom or safety." That's exactly right because you can't barter one for the other even though that has been the tempting deal on offer from the British and American governments since 9/11. The truth of the matter is that relinquishing our rights in exchange for illusory security harms each one of us, and our children and grandchildren. Because once gone, these rights hardly ever return.

But let's just return to the first part of that statement by Tony Blair - the bit about him not wanting to live in a police state, or a Big Brother society. Don't get me wrong, we do not live in either a police state or a Big Brother society - yet. But there is no Englishman alive or dead who has done more to bring them about.

The trouble is that it's happening so very quietly, so very discreetly that few really see it. You have to concentrate very hard to understand what's going on and put the whole picture together because so much has been buried in obscure corners of legislation.

We used to believe in innocence until guilt was proved by a court. Not any longer. That distinction disappeared when the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act came into force and police started taking innocent people's DNA and fingerprints and treating them as a convicted criminals.

We used to believe in Habeas Corpus. Not any longer. Under terrorism laws, suspects may be held for 28 days without being charged. Now the Home Secretary wants to make that 90 days, and Gordon Brown seems to share that view.

We used to believe that there should be no punishment without a court deciding the law had been broken, and that every defendant had the right to know the evidence against him. Not any longer. Control orders effectively remove both those rights and John Reid said recently that he wanted stronger powers to detain and control, and stronger powers to deport, which would clearly require the UK to derogate from the European Convention on Human Rights.

We used to believe that an Englishman's home was his castle. Not any longer. A pincer movement by the Courts Act 2003 and the Domestic Violence, Crime and Victims Act 2004 put paid to the 400-year-old principle that entry into your home could not be forced in civil cases.

We used to believe in the right to be tried by jury. Not any longer. The Government plans to remove trial by jury in complicated fraud cases and where there is a likelihood of jury tampering. It would like to go further.

We used to believe there was a good reason not to allow hearsay evidence in court. Not any longer. The anti-social behaviour order legislation introduced hearsay evidence. The maximum penalty for breaking an Asbo can be up to five years in jail. Hearsay can send someone to jail.

We used to believe in free speech, but not any longer. People have been detained under terrorism laws for wearing anti-Blair T-shirts. Walter Wolfgang was removed from the Labour Conference for heckling Jack Straw about the Iraq war. A woman was charged under the Harassment Act for sending two e-mails to a company politely asking them not to conduct animal experiments. Her offence was to send two e-mails, for in that lies the repeated action that is now illegal. A man named Stephen Jago was arrested for displaying a placard quoting Orwell near Downing Street. It read: "In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act." And a mime artist named Neil Goodwin appeared in court recently charged under the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act for what? Well, doing an impersonation of Charlie Chaplin outside Parliament. His hearing was a grim comedy. Mr Goodwin's statement to the court concluded: "In truth, one of the first things to go under a dictatorship is a good sense of humour."

We used to believe that our private communications were sacrosanct. Not any longer. The Regulatory Investigatory Powers Act 2000 and its subsequent amendments provide such wide terms for the legitimate tapping of phones, the interception of e-mails and monitoring of internet connections that they amount to general warrants, last used in the 18th century under George III.

I could go on because there is much more, but I worry about boring you and I know I am beginning to seem obsessed. There will be many reasonable people among you who will argue that the fight against terrorism or some other compelling problem makes the removal of a fragment of liberty the best option available to us. A little bit here, a little bit there doesn't really matter, particularly when it involves somebody else's rights. Without thinking very deeply, we say to ourselves "if you've done nothing wrong you've got nothing to fear from these new laws". Not true. There is something to fear - because someone else's liberty is also your liberty. When it's removed from them, it's taken from you even though you may not be able to conceive of the circumstances when you might need it. A system of rights must apply to bank managers, illegal immigrant cockle pickers and every type of defendant otherwise it doesn't count.

Cumulatively, these small, barely noticed reductions in our rights add up to the greatest attack on liberty in the last hundred years. No wonder the Prime Minister dismisses traditional civil liberties arguments as being made for another age. With his record he can do nothing else.

In an e-mail exchange between him and me in the spring, he suggested a kind of super Asbo for major criminals. This is what the unmediated Blair sounds like. "I would go further. I would widen the powers of police to seize cash of suspected [my italics] drug dealers, the cars they drive round in and require them to prove that they came by them lawfully. I would impose restrictions on those suspected of being involved in organised crime. In fact I would harry, hassle and hound them until they give up or leave the country."

I'm sure that echoes many people's desire just to be rid of these awful people. But think about it for a moment: Tony Blair is a lawyer, yet nowhere is there any mention of due process or the courts. Apparently it will be enough for the authorities merely to suspect someone of wrongdoing for them to act. And the police won't be troubled by the tiresome business of courts, defence lawyers or defendants' rights. I wonder what Vaclav Havel would think of such a suggestion. Certainly, he would be all too familiar with the system of arbitrary arrest and state persecution that Blair seems to be suggesting.

Blair dresses up his views in a vocabulary of modernisation and inclusivity. Yet when he talks about rebalancing the criminal justice system in favour of the victim, it takes just a few moments to see that this will be achieved by doing away with the priority in our legal system of protecting the accused from miscarriages of justice. He simply wants to reduce defendants' rights in order to satisfy public demand for more prosecutions.

It is now plain that he intends nothing less than to open the ancient charters of British rights in order to tip acid into them.

The way cabinet ministers think of themselves today and what they do are at odds. They think of themselves as reasonable, tolerant, humane and liberal people, but their actions tell an altogether different story. This brings me to the Big Brother state that Tony Blair says he doesn't want to live in, but which has nevertheless rapidly come into being during his premiership.

Most people have very little understanding of what the ID card scheme will actually mean for them. They think that it just involves a little plastic identifier. But it is much more than that. Every adult will be required to provide 49 pieces of information about themselves which will include biometric measurements - probably an iris scan and fingerprinting. If you refuse to submit to what is called, without irony, enrolment, you will face repeated fines of up £2,500. The Government is deadly serious about this thing because of a simple truth. They want to know pretty much everything there is to know about you.

Personally, I find the idea of having a card repugnant and I cannot believe it will be long before policemen are stopping us on the street and asking for our papers. But this is by no means the most sinister aspect. Every time your card is swiped when you identify yourself, the National Identity Register will silently make a record of the time and date, your location and the purpose of the ID check. Gradually, a unique picture of your life will be built, to which nearly half-a-million civil servants are apparently going to have access.

But of course you will never be told who is looking at your file, or why. And nor will you be able to find out.

MPs must take responsibility for passing this invasive law but they cannot be blamed for the other half of the Big Brother society that is upon us. I refer to the total surveillance of our roads in a linked-up system of Automatic Number Plate Recognition cameras. These cameras cover every motorway, major dual carriageway, town and city centre and will feed information from billions of journeys into one computer, where the data will remain for two years.

The decision to put British motorists under blanket, round- the-clock surveillance was never taken by Parliament. It just happened. As the cost of processing enormous quantities of data came down, the police and Home Office just simply decided to go ahead. Traffic cameras became surveillance cameras. This, I gather, is known as function creep, and, as always, half the pressure comes from technological innovation.

We are about to become the most observed population in the world outside North Korea, and absolutely no work has been done on how this will affect each one of us and what it will do to our society and political institutions.

I worry that we are not alert to the possibilities of social control. No matter how discreet this surveillance, it increases the spectral presence of the state in the everyday consciousness of each individual. I grant that it is a slow process and that it is nothing like the leaden omnipresence of the Stasi in the GDR. But I think we're heading for a place from which we will not be able to return: the surveillance society where the state will crowd in on the individual human experience and threaten the unguarded freedoms of privacy, solitude, seclusion and anonymity. We may continue to attest to the feeling of freedom but in reality we will suffer more and more restrictions. Inexorably we are becoming subjects not citizens, units on a database that may be observed and classified by a Government which is taking control in areas where it has never dared in democratic times to trespass before.

Where this will all lead I cannot say, but I do know that it is neither good for us nor for the state. Humans work best when they have the maximum freedom, and so does government. As our Government gains more power in relation to us, confusing itself on the way with the entity and interests of the state, it will become less responsive to our needs and opinions, less transparent and less accountable.

Havel said of the Communist tyranny in that glorious but sombre new year's day speech: "None of us is just its victim. We are its co-creators." That is true of any society. And I believe we all need now to acknowledge what has happened to British rights and do something about it.

Firstly, there needs to be some kind of formal audit made of the rights which have been already compromised. An exact account. Linked to this should be a commission looking into the effects of mass surveillance. Second, we need a constitution which enshrines a bill of rights and places our rights beyond the reach of an ambitious Executive and Parliament. Third, we should be writing to our constituency MPs or clogging up their surgeries - asking what they are doing about the attack on liberty. And fourth, all schoolchildren should be taught about British rights and freedoms, what they mean and how they were won. History, as the National Trust is fond of saying, matters. Rights and liberties are as much a part of our heritage as St Paul's Cathedral and Shakespeare's plays.

This may all sound rather prescriptive but I have become certain over the last two years that we need to do something to save us from our Government and the Government from itself.

This was taken from the Summerfield Lecture given at the Everyman Theatre, Cheltenham, on 12 October as part of the annual literary festival. Research by Emily Butselaar

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Muslims are becoming the new Jews - The Veil Of Division

I was hoping the hysteria of the UK press would die down about the Muslim veil issue. But it hasn't, it has escalated.

This whole issue was started by Jack Straw - Leader of the House of Commons and MP for Blackburn. He wrote an article in the Lancashire Telegraph. He basically said the veil was a "visible statement of separation and of difference". IMO it was a political move as the actual incident that Straw was referring to was over a year ago.Then all of a sudden he starts to think about it! (Remember Blair is resigning soon - maybe he wants a promotion.)

This led to a mixed response - disapproval from some and support from others.The media took hold of this article and was hyped beyond all proportion (thinking of mountains and molehills). Suddenly everybody had an opinion (usually negative)! According to one political aide of Straw's - wearing the veil was a selfish act!! Suddenly the veil became a political tool.

Tony Blair and his cronies initially distanced themselves from this issue. Prescott even came out and said Straw was wrong! Livingstone said he "amazed at the insensitivity" , although he did later support Straws' views.

<-----See the hype here?? Unfortunately this lead to an increase in racist attacks just after Straw's article was published. These 'people' that commit such race crimes just need any old reason to do so. See timetable below (Came from the full Independent article page 14 - Sat 14th October.)
  • Thursday 5 October: Jack Straw writes column attacking the veil.
  • Friday 6 October: Muslim woman had her hijab pulled off and thrown on the floor by a white man in east London. Muslim woman had her veil snatched from her face in Liverpool. Muslim girl wearing a veil in Straw's Blackburn constituency was verbally abused by three youths.
  • Saturday 7 October: Two Asian men were attacked by racists in Leicester, one critically injured.
  • Sunday 8 October: Racist graffiti was daubed on a house on Teesside.
  • Monday 9 October: A 21 year old Turkish woman wearing a hijab was verbally abused by a white woman in Canterbury, Kent. A black Muslim woman wearing a veil was verbally abused in Hackney, east London.
Also racist e-mails were sent to Muslim groups:
"All Muslim women should be forced to cover their face - they are the ugliest bastards in the world".
"I think ugly Muslims should wear the veil and the good ones should not".
Charming. This is not the first time this pattern has transpired. When John Reid declared that extremist Muslim "bullies" must be faced down; Mosques in Preston and Falkirk were attacked and a Muslim dairy farm in Windsor was "under siege".

The politicians must surely realise that these kind of comments fuels racism (step forward BNP - see here ). According to the Independent the BNP had also sent out anti-Muslim leaflets featuring a photograph of a veiled women.

Of course none of the big newspapers have mentioned this article have they . Oh look somebody has been storing " the largest amount of chemical explosives of its type ever found in the country." Oh look he is ex BNP! Imagine the field day the press would have if this person was.......Muslim.

What is more scary a Muslim women in a veil or 10-15 yobs attacking property??? or an ex BNP member storing large amounts of explosives??? Why haven' t these attacks/potential "non-muslim" bomber been condemned by the politicians?? Why hasn't Mr Chemical Bomb been arrested under the Terrorism act. This smacks of hyprocrisy

This "War on the Veil" was further fuelled last weekend, by the suspension (later sacked ,thanks to pressure from some ministers) of a Muslim teaching assistant called Aishah Azmi. Initial press reports stated that she was sacked because she REFUSED to take the veil off in the classroom or in front of male colleagues. According to Azmi herself she never REFUSED to take it off (see here too). So the story changed to " the kids couldn't understand her". I smell a proverbial rat here.
  • They changed the story
  • She is a TA ,so she doesn't actually teach (I've been one). She'll help pupils one to one when the kids are working.
  • There have been zero comments from the kids themselves about this. According to Ms. Azmi the pupils never complained. Although the (ignorant) parents did
  • "She is able to do this effectively while wearing the veil. She has demonstrated in a number of interviews that she can communicate effectively while wearing the veil." Nick Whittingham of Kirklees Law Centre
  • And since when did kids in class listen ;) (just joking!)
Unfortunately for Ms Azmi she lost her job because she became a political tool (latest news - no discrimination case). Suddenly Tony Blair had an opinion - the veil was a "mark of separation" and "made some feel uncomfortable". Well Blair - don't you think wars YOU and Bush started in the Middle East is a "mark of separation". Even that Stalinist Reid thinks so! 650,000 + dead plus many many more injured and many many affected by the Gulf wars makes me feel uncomfortable.

These stories aid and encourage extremism, division and demonises the Muslim community. Everyday there seems to be a story targetted towards the Muslim community in the press. Lord Ahmed expresses similar views here.

But for every respected Lord , there is the trash talk. This time it comes from the Sun (who else??)

At the end of the day the Government have played, as the Socialist Worker puts it, the racecard. What has developed in this country's psyche because of these stories and others is Islamophobia. Though none of the politicians seemto want to talk about this, except one - George Galloway of the RESPECT party.

You can see a video of his opinions here

Also I also believe that this recent veil story is a smokescreen for what is happening in Iraq and the Army Generals' comments.

My main gripe is that they UK is supposed to represent freedom and democracy (yeah right!), yet there is a major uproar because some people want to wear a veil over their head. . So what is they want to wear veils over their heads. It is their choice, it doesn't hurt anyone. I don't personally care if they wear pants on their head!!

Maybe it'll become fashionable in a few years time, if shell suits were , then head veils surely stand a chance! IMO the ONLY reason is because it is a Muslim issue. And remember Muslims are becoming the new Jews- read this article here

An excerpt:
I've been trying to imagine what it must be like to be a Muslim in Britain. I guess there's a sense of dread about switching on the radio or television, even about walking into a newsagents. What will they be saying about us today? Will we be under assault for the way we dress?
Say the veil gets outlawed, where does it stop? It is a personal choice and freedom to wear a veil, therefore this will set a dangerous precedent.

I get the argument that people might not be able to understand what a veiled person is saying. So I'll give you the solution:

Cut a little hole where the mouth goes in the veil. Can see mouth and can communicate freely. SIMPLE AND EFFECTIVE. END OF ARGUMENT!

Why hasn't this been suggested??

Oh I know why.....if you've read and disgested should you!

Monday, October 16, 2006

Muslims are becoming the new Jews.

I have heard the above subject title mentioned a lot, quite recently in the UK media. Obviously this is referring to the number of recent Muslim discrimination stories.

The most hyped one is the Muslim teaching assistant that got sacked because she refused to take off her veil in the classroom. This came about because the pupils claimed they could not understand her and she refused to take the veil off.

Many politicians have had their say. All seem to say that the veil causes a rift between Muslims and everybody else. I would disagree there - wars in the middle east and hate stories like this do. I won't go in the right or wrongs if she deserved to be sacked.

This main issue for me, is WHY OH WHY has this made front page news for the past 4 days?? (It was the most popular story on BBC news from Friday to Sunday. Isn't there more REAL important issues to talk about??

Like the army chief being highly critical of our military operations in Iraq/Afghanistan?

BBC Story with comments from ministers

Minister calls from veil-wearing TA to be sacked

Tessa Jowell's opinion

This has snowballed even further. Now the veil is banned in hospitals:

Now another story, which proves the subject title that Muslims have become the new Jews.

Universities urged to spy on Muslims.

Vikram Dodd
Monday October 16, 2006
The Guardian

Lecturers and university staff across Britain are to be asked to spy on "Asian-looking" and Muslim students they suspect of involvement in Islamic extremism and supporting terrorist violence, the Guardian has learned.

They will be told to inform on students to special branch because the government believes campuses have become "fertile recruiting grounds" for extremists.

The Department for Education has drawn up a series of proposals which are to be sent to universities and other centres of higher education before the end of the year. The 18-page document acknowledges that universities will be anxious about passing information to special branch, for fear it amounts to "collaborating with the 'secret police'". It says there will be "concerns about police targeting certain sections of the student population (eg Muslims)".

The proposals are likely to cause anxiety among academics, and provoke anger from British Muslim groups at a time when ministers are at the focus of rows over issues such as the wearing of the veil and forcing Islamic schools to accept pupils from other faiths.

Wakkas Khan, president of the Federation of Student Islamic Societies, said: "It sounds to me to be potentially the widest infringement of the rights of Muslim students that there ever has been in this country. It is clearly targeting Muslim students and treating them to a higher level of suspicion and scrutiny. It sounds like you're guilty until you're proven innocent." Yet our country is supposed to represent the "innocent until proven guilty" system.

Gemma Tumelty, president of the National Union of Students, said: "They are going to treat everyone Muslim with suspicion on the basis of their faith. It's bearing on the side of McCarthyism."

The document, which has been obtained by the Guardian, was sent within the last month to selected official bodies for consultation and reveals the full extent of what the authorities fear is happening in universities.

It claims that Islamic societies at universities have become increasingly political in recent years and discusses monitoring their leaflets and speakers. The document warns of talent-spotting by terrorists on campuses and of students being "groomed" for extremism.

So because Muslims have become more political, it makes them extremists??

In a section on factors that can radicalise students, the document identifies Muslims from "segregated" backgrounds as more likely to hold radical views than those who have "integrated into wider society". It also claims that students who study in their home towns could act as a link between extremism on campuses and in their local communities.

I claim and identify the above paragraph to be total cack

The government wants universities to crack down on extremism, and the document says campus staff should volunteer information to special branch and not wait to be contacted by detectives.

It says: "Special branch are aware that many HEIs [higher education institutions] will have a number of concerns about working closely with special branch. Some common concerns are that institutions will be seen to be collaborating with the 'secret police'.

"HEIs may also worry about what special branch will do with any information supplied by an HEI and what action the police may subsequently take ... Special branch are not the 'secret police' and are accountable."

The document says radicalisation on campus is unlikely to be overt: "While radicalisation may not be widespread, there is some evidence to suggest that students at further and higher educational establishments have been involved in terrorist- related activity, which could include actively radicalising fellow students on campus." The document adds: "Perhaps most importantly, universities and colleges provide a fertile recruiting ground for students.

"There are different categories of students who may be 'sucked in' to an Islamist extremist ideology ... There are those who may be new to a university or college environment and vulnerable to 'grooming' by individuals with their own agenda as they search for friends and social groups; there are those who may be actively looking for extremist individuals with whom to associate. Campuses provide an opportunity for individuals who are already radicalised to form new networks, and extend existing ones."

The document urges close attention be paid to university Islamic societies and - under the heading "inspiring radical speakers" - says: "Islamic societies have tended to invite more radical speakers or preachers on to campuses ... They can be forceful, persuasive and eloquent. They are able to fill a vacuum created by young Muslims' feelings of alienation from their parents' generation by providing greater 'clarity' from an Islamic point of view on a range of issues, and potentially a greater sense of purpose about how Muslim students can respond."

It suggests checks should be made on external speakers at Islamic society events: "The control of university or college Islamic societies by certain extremist individuals can play a significant role in the extent of Islamist extremism on campus."

The document says potential extremists can be talent-spotted at campus meetings then channelled to events off campus.

The document gives five real-life examples of extremism in universities. The first talks of suspicious computer use by "Asian" students, which was reported by library staff. In language some may balk at, it talks of students of "Asian appearance" being suspected extremists.

A senior education department source told the Guardian: "There's loads of anecdotal evidence of radicalisation. At the same time there are people who pushing this who have their own agendas, and the government has to strike the right balance."

Times Online October 16, 2006

Teachers asked to root out Islamic extremists
By Lech Mintowt-Czyz and agencies

The Government today called on teachers, lecturers and council employees to help root out Islamic extremism in schools, colleges and universities.

In defiance of the growing anger of Islamic leaders, Ruth Kelly, the Communities Secretary, insisted that those at the grassroots of society must join the fight against those who would radicalise British youngsters.
She really needs to keep her mouth shut, the amount of garbage that comes out of it, is unbelievable!

In a meeting with key council leaders Ms Kelly demanded that they use their local knowledge to identify "hotspot" sections of the community which could be a breeding ground for extremists.

She also said that they needed to look at new ways they could tackle the threat of extremism within education.

As part of the campaign the Department for Education has prepared plans to ask university staff and lecturers to inform police of Muslim and "Asian-looking" students they suspect of involvement in supporting terrorists.

An 18-page document due to be sent to universities and colleges by the end of the year expresses concern over Islamic societies and students from "segregated backgrounds".

Ms Kelly said: "It is about protecting students. There is a need for the strong monitoring of activities to make sure individual students on campus are protected.

What!?!?! I'm a student and I know this spying would NOT help me feel protected! There is not a need for strong monitoring. That is called control.

"The world has changed since September 11 and 7/7. The Government has had to change and respond to that, and we appeal to local authorities to do the same."

The announcement comes after the revelation that new faith schools could be forced to offer a quarter of their places to pupils of other religions and amid continuing rows over the use of veils by Muslim women.

Alan Johnson, the Education Secretary, is expected to suggest that opening up admissions to faith schools would help to ease racial tensions and give parents more choice. The move comes after a proposal this month by the Church of England to open up voluntarily 25 per cent of places in all its new schools to children irrespective of their religious beliefs.

The changes are likely to prove more controversial with Roman Catholics and Muslims. Critics of faith schools have long complained that they are exclusive and divide society, rather than promoting cohesion. About a third, or 7,000, of all state schools in England have a religious ethos, mostly Christian. Four-fifths of the top 200 state secondaries are faith schools.

Mr Johnson will table an amendment to the Education and Inspections Bill when it returns to the Lords this week requiring new faith schools to reserve a quarter of their places for non-believers or children of other faiths. The change would place the initial decision about a school’s intake in the hands of the local education authority (LEA), enabling it to demand that up to a quarter of its places are open to families of different or no faiths.

Controversy also still surrounds the case of a Muslim teaching assistant who has been suspended after refusing to remove her veil in the classroom.

The Government’s race minister, Phil Woolas, accused 24-year-old Aishah Azmi of "denying the right of children to a full education" and demanded she be sacked.

The Muslim Council of Britain condemned Mr Woolas for his "outrageous" and "reckless" comments.

The head of the Council, Muhammad Abdul Bari, has written to Ms Kelly complaining that a recent "drip feed" of ministerial statements over the issue has "stigmatised" the entire Muslim community.

He said: "What is happening, especially in the last few months, has been a barrage of demonisation of the Muslim community to such an extent that the community is now scared and the whole community feels vulnerable.

"Ministers are not helping in this discourse within the Muslim community. What, simply, they are doing is trying to undermine and marginalise further Muslim community, especially those organisations which have been working so hard for community cohesion."

But speaking after her hour-long meeting with council leaders, which was also attended by senior Metropolitan Police officer Andy Hayman, Ms Kelly insisted it was essential for people to continue to speak out on the subject.

She said: "I think we need to be strong enough as a society to debate these issues and it is far more difficult if people feel there is an imposed sense of restraint.

"It’s far better to debate the issues than sweep them under the carpet when the question of children’s education is at stake."

Paul Mackney, the joint general secretary of the University and College Union, said that they were deeply concerned about the Government’s plans.

"We expressed concern that we were being sucked into a kind of Islamic McCarthyism which has major implications for academic freedom, civil liberties, and blurring of the boundaries between the illegal and the possibly undesirable," he said. At least somebody can see the signs!

Muslims are being discriminated, demonisied and victimised like the Jews used to be. (or anybody that was 'soft' on USSR). University lecturers encouraged to spy on "Asian looking" students and report anything suspicious to the special branch.This is abhorrent . Again a place of education and learning is being turned into a prison-like environment.

They are really becoming the new Jews. The war on terror (specifically on Al - Qaeda ) has been blurred into a War on Islam .

Am I wrong in suggesting that the media is promoting classic division techniques between the UK population and alienating Muslims communities even further?

Am I wrong in suggesting that the government is promoting and producing new regulations that divide the Muslim community from the rest?

Friday, October 13, 2006

Anti -Terror Airport Tagging Plan

Welcome to the new plan to stop terrorists. Again it is to do with RFID chips ( personally I like cheesy chips - ah well) . Plans are in place to tag you at airports. This will allow them to track people under suspicion. And will show spacious behaviour.

Sounds super dooper to me , that is if you/they wear their chip (or plant it on somebody else) or 'accidentally' disable it*, but we'll ignore them obvious flaws. I won't even go into the freedom/liberty argument, or that it is yet ANOTHER way to control us.

*If a terrorist was so determined to take his own life then surely he/she would be able to disable their chip. It is hardly difficult to do. 10 seconds with your Ginsters in the microwave should do the job. Mmm chip disabled and lovely Chicken and Mushroom slice to scoff!

Also once you depend on technology rather than human instinct and experience, you are asking for trouble IMO. Let's hope their computer system doesn't experience any bugs (best not tell them to install Windows hey!)

Let's have a look at the article:

From Daily Telegraph

Anti-terror plan to tag air travellers

By Nic Fleming, Science Correspondent
(Filed: 13/10/2006)

Airline passengers could in future be tagged as part of anti-terrorism measures.

Travellers would be tracked through airports via chips in plastic wristbands emitting radio signals, and could be watched on cameras.

Scientists at University College London, where a new Centre for Security and Crime will open today, are helping to develop the Optag system.

A trial is planned for a Hungarian airport. If successful, the system could be operational within two years.

Passengers would be tagged on entering an airport or at check-in. Sensors, accurate to three feet, linked to a database of passenger information, could update locations every second. Officials could track people under suspicion.

Dr Paul Brennan, of UCL's department of electrical engineering, said: "If the pattern of behaviour was suspicious you could take action."

Other uses of Optag could be to track late passengers and lost children.

Ok then, so everybody that enters an airport will be tagged. Do you have any idea of the amount of people that is? Well for Heathrow that is 67.7 million people every year, so just over 110k per day.

And won't this cause delay? Each tag will have to be personalised so they can identify you. And do you give them back?

Won't this cost extra money? Extra staff? Another control room? More cameras?

Sensors accurate to 3ft? So what happens if I'm 5ft away - does it become inaccurate? Of course the obvious solution would be to have so many sensors so you are never more than 3ft away

Heathrow has a floor space of 48,000m² (or approx 512,000ft ²) , so that will ba lotot of sensors!

Sthat'sts even more money! Plus even more for electricity and maintenance.

Also how do they determine if your behaviour isuspiciousus? (Roger one, tag 324525 name Smith has gone to the toilet 4 times in the last 30 minutes - requesting back-up)

And I won't mention them fatal flaws I mentioned earlier. Oh go on then.

a) Well they could easily take them off, put them in a bin or put them on somebody else.

b) You could quite easily disable them. RFID zapper anyone??

(Pssst - don't tell the terrorists)

Right lets look at this Optag.

Website looks a bit basic and lacking any real information, probably because it has just started up.

They harp on about (the article mentioned it briefly) the ability to track down late passengers and assist in emergencies . Sounds fair enough. Lets hope you people remember to wear your chips then! (pssst - don't put them in microwave either!).

So they track you via a computer system with lots of little blobs. So say you are late, they will track you down. Then they will magically transport you to the flight! Sorted.

No?!!? - what will happen is that they'll:

a) Make an announcement over the tannoy (err don't they do that already - will they listen?)
b) Get somebody to get you (will they know what you look like? - will you stand still?)
c) Send an electronic signal to electrocute you and get the chip to say " YOU ARE LATE - GET A MOVE ON - GET OUT OF THE PUB FAT ASS (I made this one up - damn I've probably given them a good idea now!)

Of course you will need a vast amount of operators to track all these people efficiently, airports are very busy places at the best of times.

Ok some more details from an article from Professional Engineer

Tags will be approx $1 each, once they sort out the technology. (remember though the added cost of repair , cameras, personalisationon of the chip etc)

Will send a targeted tannoy announcement (well not that much difference to what happens now - still depends if the person is listening or understands the person speaking - so still the same flaw)

Needs cells that contain 8 cameras housed in a complex assembley (sounds expensive) plus also needs a control room.

More about stopping delays than tracking, so what is the Daily Express on about then? Which one is telling the truth?

They say the chips would not have thrawted 9/11 (SO WHAT IS THE POINT OF THEM!!!). Mines going in the microwave.
Well sounds like a total waste of money and time. It is obvious it is not about late boardings or whatever, because I can't see how that will help. A targeted tannoy? Give me a break- it may help a little, but not for this amount of money. And the logistics will be a nightmare. People going in, people going out etc.

People this is just another way of controlling you and yet again another invasion of your privacy. In the future this will be done automatically with computealgorithmsms. So they'll know exactly what you have been doing (too many drinks sir?- you are not coming aboard).

And this will IMO actually add to the delay and there are still them 2 fatal flaws I mentioned. And cost you the passenger more money, these have to be paid for!

And won't stop terrorists either.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

The March to WW3

Firstly we have Georgia and Russia playing war games with each other

Next we have the biggest military build up in the Persian Gulf ever seen. Read this article from (Original credit and copyright got o Global Research and Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya)

I don't usually copy full articles from websites but this is very very important to know. Please I beg of you to read this and grasp the situation that is about to unfold infront of our very eyes. This is deeply worrying and I fear we are all about to be flung into another World War which will be truly global and devasting. I hope with all my heart that I am wrong.

The March to War: Naval Build-Up in the Persian Gulf and the Eastern Mediterranean
By Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya
Global Research

Sunday 01 October 2006

Editor's Note: Michel Chossudovsky, Global Research

We bring to the attention of our readers, this carefully documented review of the ongoing naval build-up and deployment of coalition forces in the Middle East. The article examines the geopolitics behind this military deployment and its relationship to the Battle for Oil. The structure of military alliances is crucial to an understanding of these war preparations. The naval deployment is taking place in two distinct theaters: the Persian Gulf and the Eastern Mediterranean. Both Israel and NATO are slated to play a major role in the US-led war. The militarization of the Eastern Mediterranean is broadly under the jurisdiction of NATO in liaison with Israel. Directed against Syria, it is conducted under the façade of a UN peace-keeping mission pursuant to UN Security Council Resolution 1701. In this context, the war on Lebanon must be viewed as a stage of a the broader US sponsored military road-map. The naval armada in the Persian Gulf is largely under US command, with the participation of Canada. The naval buildup is coordinated with the planned air attacks. The planning of the aerial bombings of Iran started in mid-2004, pursuant to the formulation of CONPLAN 8022 in early 2004. In May 2004, National Security Presidential Directive NSPD 35 entitled Nuclear Weapons Deployment Authorization was issued. While its contents remains classified, the presumption is that NSPD 35 pertains to the deployment of tactical nuclear weapons in the Middle East war theater in compliance with CONPLAN 8022. These war plans must be taken very seriously. The World is at the crossroads of the most serious crisis in modern history. The US has embarked on a military adventure, a long war, which threatens the future of humanity. In the weeks ahead, it is essential that citizens' movements around the world act consistently to confront their respective governments and reverse and dismantle this military agenda. What is needed is to break the conspiracy of silence, expose the media lies and distortions, confront the criminal nature of the US Administration and of those governments which support it, its war agenda as well as its so-called Homeland Security agenda which has already defined the contours of a police State. It is essential to bring the US war project to the forefront of political debate, particularly in North America and Western Europe. Political and military leaders who are opposed to the war must take a firm stance, from within their respective institutions. Citizens must take a stance individually and collectively against war.

The probability of another war in the Middle East is high. Only time will tell if the horrors of further warfare is to fully materialize. Even then, the shape of a war is still undecided in terms of its outcome.

If war is to be waged or not against Iran and Syria, there is still the undeniable build-up and development of measures that confirm a process of military deployment and preparation for war.

The diplomatic forum also seems to be pointing to the possibility of war. The decisions being made, the preparations being taken, and the military maneuvers that are unfolding on the geo-strategic chessboard are projecting a prognosis and forecast towards the direction of mobilization for some form of conflict in the Middle East.

In this context, people do not always realize that a war is never planned, executed or even anticipated in a matter of weeks. Military operations take months and even years to prepare. A classical example is Operation Overlord (popularly identified as "D-Day"), which resulted in the Battle of Normandy and the invasion of France. Operation Overlord took place on June 6, 1944, but the preparations for the military operation took eighteen months, "officially," to set the stage for the invasion of the French coast. It was during a meeting in Casablanca, Morocco in January, 1943 that the U.S. President, F.D. Roosevelt, and the British Prime Minister, Winston Churchill, outlined a strategy to invade Normandy.[1]

With regard to Iraq, the "Downing Street memo2" confirms that the decision to go to war in 2003 was decided in 2002 by the United States and Britain, and thus the preparations for war with Iraq were in reality started in 2002, a year before the invasion. The preparations for the invasion of Iraq took place at least a entire year to arrange. [2]

The period from 1991 to 2003 has seen continuous military operations against Iraq by the Anglo-American alliance. This period that has lasted for over a decade saw stages of heavy bombardment and major air strikes on a crippled Iraqi republic and its citizens. In reality the conditions for the groundwork and preparations of the invasion and eventual occupation of Iraq took over ten years to materialize. Iraq was weakened and its strength diluted within these ten years.

Even prior to this decade of Anglo-American bombardment and U.N. sanctions, Iraq was caught in an eight-year war with Iran in the 1980s. The war between Iran and Iraq was also fuelled and organized by the United States to weaken both. In retrospect the manipulation of a war between Iran and Iraq to weaken both states seems to be strategic planning in preparation for future military operations against them. In this time preparations were also being made by securing the Balkans for future Anglo-American operations. The Balkans is adjacent to the Middle East and is also a geographic extension of the region. Preparations were made by expanding NATO, shifting military bases eastward, and securing energy routes. Dismantling the state of Yugoslavia was also a part of this objective. Yugoslavia was the regional power of the Balkans and Southeast Europe. This was done through close coordination between the Anglo-American alliance and NATO. Now all eyes are on Iran and Syria. Will there be another Anglo-American initiated war in the Middle East?

Overview of Naval Confrontation Against Iran

The Pentagon has already drawn up plans for U.S. sponsored attacks on Iran and Syria.[3] Despite the public posturing of diplomacy by the United States and Britain, just like the Iraq Invasion, Iran and Syria sense another Anglo-American war in the horizon. Both countries have been strengthening their defenses for the eventuality of war with the Anglo-American alliance.

A conflict against Iran and Syria, if it were to materialize, would be unlike previous Anglo-American sponsored conflicts. It would be wider in scope, deadlier, and have active aerial and water (naval) fronts.

Sea power would be of greater significance than in Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Iraq, and Lebanon. The United States would covet a quick victory. The chances of this happening are unknown. If there were to be a conflict with Iran, the United States and it partners would want to keep the Straits of Hormuz open for the flow of international oil. The Straits of Hormuz are the "energy lifeline of the world."

The United States would without doubt quickly aim for the collapse of the Iranian and Syrian commands and military structures.

It must be noted that the Iranian Armed Forces are characterized by well structured military organization, with advanced military capabilities, when compared to Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Iraq, and Lebanon. Moreover, Iran has been preparing for a scenario of war with the Anglo-American alliance for almost a decade. These preparations were stepped up following the NATO-U.S. led attack on Yugoslavia (1999).

The types of military units and weapons systems being deployed in the Persian Gulf and Arabian Sea by the United States are considered to be best suited for combat against Iran, also with a view to keeping the Straits of Hormuz open for oil tankers. This also includes forces that would be able to secure bridgeheads on the Iranian coastline. These U.S. forces consist of early warning units, recognizance, amphibious elements, maritime search and rescue units, minesweepers, and rapid deployment units.

US Strike Groups: Cargo intended for War?

The U.S.S. Enterprise a U.S. Navy flagship is under deployment to the Persian Gulf and the Arabian Sea. This includes all the warships and vessels that compose Carrier Strike Group 12 (CSG 12) Destroyer Squadron 2 (DESRON 2), and Carrier Air Wing 1 (CVW 1). The stated objective for the deployment of the U.S.S. Enterprise, a nuclear powered aircraft carrier, and other U.S. Navy vessels is to conduct naval security operations and aerial missions in the region. The deployment does not mention Iran, it is said to be part of the U.S.-led "War on Terror" under "Operation Enduring Freedom."

(Photo: Global Research)

Originally the name for Operation Enduring Freedom was "Operation Infinite Justice," which highlights the unlimited scope and intentions of the War on Terror. "Operation Iraqi Freedom" which envelops the Anglo-American invasion and the continued occupation of Iraq is also a component of these operations. A large number of U.S. warships are deployed in the Persian Gulf, the Gulf of Oman, and the Arabian Sea.

While this deployment is said to be related to ongoing military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, the warships are carrying with them equipment which is not intended for these two war theaters. Minesweepers and mine-hunters have absolutely no use in landlocked Afghanistan and are not needed in Iraq which has a maritime corridor and ports totally controlled by the Anglo-American alliance.

Other warships in the Enterprise Strike Group include the destroyer U.S.S. McFaul, the war frigate U.S.S. Nicholas, the battle cruiser U.S.S. Leyte Gulf, the attack submarine U.S.S. Alexandria, and the "fast combat support ship" U.S.N.S. Supply. The U.S.N.S. Supply will be a useful vessel in confronting the Iranian forces in the Persian Gulf in close-quarter combat. Speed will be an important factor in responding to potentially lethal Iranian missile and anti-ship missile attacks.

The U.S.S. Enterprise carries with it a host of infiltration, aerial attack, and rapid deployment units. This includes Marine Strike Fighter Squadron 251, Electronic Attack Squadron 137, and Airborne Early Warning Squadron 123. Squadron 123 will be vital in the event of a war with Iran in detecting Iranian missiles and sending warnings of danger to the U.S. fleet. Special mention should be made of the helicopter squadron specialized for combating submarines traveling with the strike group. "Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron 11" will be on board the U.S.S. Enterprise. The Persian Gulf is known to be the home of the Iranian submarine fleet, the only indigenous submarine fleet in the region.

The Eisenhower Strike Group, based in Norfolk, Virginia, has also received orders to deploy to the Middle East. The strike group is led by the U.S.S. Eisenhower, another nuclear battleship. It includes a cruiser, a destroyer, a war frigate, a submarine escort, and U.S. Navy supply ships. One of these two naval strike groups will position itself in the Gulf of Oman and the Arabian Sea while the other naval strike group will position itself in the Persian Gulf, both off the Iranian coast.

(Photo: Global Research)

Another Strike Group Performs Anti-Submarine Drills and Sets Sail for the Persian Gulf

Another assault or strike group of U.S. warships, "Expeditionary Strike Group 5," are setting off to sea too. This strike group is setting sail from Naval Station San Diego with the Persian Gulf in the Middle East as their final destination. Over 6,000 U.S. Marines and Navy personnel will be deployed to the Persian Gulf and Anglo-American occupied Iraq from San Diego.[4] Approximately 4,000 U.S. sailors and 2,200 U.S. Marines from the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit at Camp Pendleton will make the bulk of the force. The warships and the servicemen they carry will reportedly have a tour of duty in the Persian Gulf and "possibly" Anglo-American occupied Iraq for half a year. They will also be joined by other ships including a Coast Guard vessel. A Marine air wing of 38 helicopters also is on board and travelling to the Persian Gulf.

The Marine contingent of the force is not destined for deployment in Iraq. It must be noted that the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit is, however, able to "rapidly deploy" on "order" using large landing craft stowed aboard the strike group's warships. If ordered this rapid deployment unit has the strong potential of being used as part of an invasion force against Iran from the Persian Gulf. The Marine unit would be ideal in being part of an operation with the objective(s) of securing Iranian ports to create beachheads for an invasion.

Expeditionary Strike Group 5 (ESG 5) is being led by the assault ship the U.S.S. Boxer as the flagship. Expeditionary Strike Group 5 (ESG 5) will also consist of the U.S.S. Dubuque, a "dock landing vessel," the naval transport ship the U.S.S. Comstock, the battle cruiser the U.S.S. Bunker Hill, the guided-missile hauling destroyer the U.S.S. Benfold, and the guided-missile hauling destroyer the U.S.S. Howard. Once again, these vessels will all be deployed in the Persian Gulf, in nearby proximity to the Iranian coast.

It is noteworthy to mention that the command and control structure of the group will be separated from the vessels for maximum flexibility. Also before the U.S. Naval strike group reaches the Persian Gulf it will be performing "anti-submarine drills and operations." The anti-submarine exercises will take place off the coast of Hawaii, in the Pacific Ocean. This can be training and preparation intended for combating the Iranian submarine fleet in the Persian Gulf and Arabian Sea. The warships will also be joined in Hawaii by Seattle-based U.S. Coast Guard and by a Canadian navy frigate, the H.M.C.S. Ottawa.

Canada Contributes to the American-Led Naval Build-Up in the Persian Gulf

The Conservative government of Prime Minister Stephen Harper is actively collaborating in this military endeavor.

Canadian foreign policy has been steadily and successively militarized by two successive governments.

The government of Prime Minister Paul Martin (Liberal) implemented the "three-dimensional policy" of the "3-Ds" ("Diplomacy", "Development," and "Defense), adding a military component to Canadian foreign aid and development assistance.

The 3-Ds brought Canada into performing as more active role in U.S.-led operations in NATO garrisoned Afghanistan. Despite the public protest, Canada has become an integral member of the Anglo-American military alliance.

Canada's involvement is not limited to Afghanistan as suggested by the press reports and official statements.

The H.M.C.S. Ottawa has been dispatched to the Persian Gulf, leaving in September, from British Columbia. Officially the H.M.C.S. Ottawa is being deployed as part of Canada's contribution to fighting the "War on Terrorism." The Canadian vessel is the first publicly known ship to be deployed to the waters of the Middle East in about a year.[5] The Canadian vessel is slated to be fully integrated into Expeditionary Strike Group 5 (ESG 5), which will be seafaring in the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman, off the Iranian coast.

HMCS Ottawa
(Photo: Global Research)

The Canadian Pacific Fleet vessel, the H.M.C.S. Ottawa, will be the twentieth official Canadian naval deployment in support of the United States and Britain in the War on Terrorism. About 225 personnel will be on board the Canadian Navy ship, including a Sea King helicopter detachment.[6]

While the H.M.C.S. Ottawa is supporting the American-led war on terrorism, it is also to participate in anti-submarine exercises off the coast of Hawaii.

For what purpose are these exercises being conducted? How many countries in the Middle East or Persian Gulf have submarines? Iran is the only country in the Persian Gulf, which is not an ally of the U.S., which possesses an indigenous submarine fleet.

US Coast Guard Implicated in the Conflict with Iran

The U.S. Coast Guard is the fifth and smallest branch of the U.S. Armed Forces. The other four branches of the U.S. military are the U.S. Marines, Navy, Air Force, and the Army. The U.S. Coast Guard is unique in that it is a force that is one-third military, one-third law enforcement, and one-third a maritime search and rescue entity. In peacetime the U.S. Coast Guard falls under the jurisdiction and mandate of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, but at the Defense Department's request, the Coast Guard can operate under military missions at sea. In a time of war when the need is urgent, the U.S. Coast Guard falls under the direct jurisdiction of the Pentagon as a military force.

The U.S. Coast Guard is beginning to see more use and deployment with the U.S. Navy. Coast Guards are being prepared for operations in the Persian Gulf and Arabian Sea. Although this is not an unusual event by itself, it can be significant in relationship to other events and military movements unfolding and taking place. The U.S. Coast Guard will be of great value in the event of a conflict with Iran. U.S. Coast Guard can "enter ports that other warships can not."[7] This would be useful in securing bridgeheads of entry for an invasion force into Iran. The U.S. Coast Guard is also specialized in maritime search and rescue operations, unlike the U.S. Navy or the Marines. This is significant since it is predicted by military analysts that there will definitely be U.S. vessels that will be destroyed and heavily damaged in the Persian Gulf by the Iranian Armed Forces in the event of a conflict between the United States and Iran. U.S. Coast Guard will be crucial in rescue operations, besides speedy operations, protecting U.S. Navy ships, and the entry of ports or shores which other warships can not enter.

"What we bring to the strike group is the ability to conduct intercepts and maritime security operations," and, "The tools used to fight crime and save lives at home [in the United States] are valuable in the war zone [the Persian Gulf]," elucidates Lee Alexander the commander of the U.S.S. Midgett[8]

Media Reports of Planned Attacks on Iran and Syria

There have been several reports in the international media, which have provided details regarding the military plans to attack Iran and Syria. These include reports from Israeli sources on attacks intended for Syria, Iran, and Lebanon. Some of these media reports even quote Members of the Israeli Knesset (MKs).[9] The German and European media have published various articles on possible NATO and Turkish involvement in the planned U.S. air strikes on Iran. The Times (U.K.) reported in March, 2006 that:

"When Major-General Axel Tüttelmann, the head of NATO's Airborne Early Warning and Control Force, showed off an AWACs early warning surveillance plane in Israel a fortnight ago, he caused a flurry of concern back at [NATO] headquarters in Brussels. It was not his demonstration that raised eyebrows, but what he said about NATO's possible involvement in any future [Anglo-American] military strike against Iran. 'We would be the first to be called up if the NATO council decided we should be,' he said. NATO would prefer the emphasis to remain on the 'if', but Tüttelmann's comments revealed that the military alliance [NATO] could play a supporting role if America launches air strikes against Iranian nuclear targets [including military facilities, industrial locations, and infrastructure]." [10]

United Press International (UPI) on December, 2005 reported that:

The Bush administration is preparing its NATO allies for a possible military strike against suspected nuclear sites in Iran in the New Year [2006], according to German media reports, reinforcing similar earlier suggestions in the Turkish media. The Berlin daily Der Tagesspiegel this week quoted NATO intelligence sources who claimed that the NATO allies had been informed that the United States is currently investigating all possibilities of bringing the mullah-led regime [Iranian government] into line, including military options. This all options are open line has been President George W. Bush's publicly stated policy throughout the past 18 months. But the respected German weekly Der Spiegel notes What is new here is that Washington appears to be dispatching high-level officials to prepare its allies for a possible attack rather than merely implying the possibility as it has repeatedly done during the past year [2005]. The German news agency DDP cited Western security sources to claim that CIA Director Porter Goss asked Turkey's premier Recep Tayyip Erdogan to provide political and logistic support for air strikes against Iranian nuclear and military targets. Goss, who visited Ankara and met Erdogan on Dec. 12 [2005], was also reported to have to have asked for special cooperation from Turkish intelligence to help prepare and monitor the operation. (...) DDP cited German security sources who added that the Turks had been assured of a warning in advance if and when the military strikes took place, and had also been given a green light to mount their own attacks on the bases in Iran of the PKK, (Kurdish Workers party), which Turkey sees as a separatist group responsible for terrorist attacks inside Turkey.[11]

The "green light" given by the United States for Turkish military incursions would in all likelihood also include Kurdistan, including at some point Iraqi Kurdistan and Kurdish inhabited areas in Syria.

Time Magazine and the "Prepare to Deploy Order" of the Eisenhower Strike Group

The latest U.S. reports provide details of preparations to go to war with Iran and Syria. Time magazine confirms that orders have been given for deployment of a submarine, a battleship, two minesweepers, and two mine-hunters in the Persian Gulf by October 2006. There are very few places in the world where minesweepers would be needed or used besides the Persian Gulf. There also very few places where anti-submarine drills are required , besides the Persian Gulf.

Anti-submarine drills are what Expeditionary Strike Group 5 (EST 5) is performing in the Pacific before it heads to the Persian Gulf, together with Canada's H.M.C.S. Ottawa and units of the U.S. Coast Guard.

The Time Magazine article intimates that the operation could result in heavy American casualties.

"The first message was routine enough: a 'Prepare to Deploy Order' sent through naval communications channels to a submarine, an Aegis-class cruiser, two minesweepers and two mine-hunters. The orders didn't actually command the ships out of port; they just said be ready to move by October 1 [2006]. A deployment of minesweepers to the east coast of Iran would seem to suggest that a much discussed, but until now largely theoretical, prospect has become real: that the U.S. may be preparing for war with Iran."[12]

Award-winning investigative reporter and journalist Dave Lindorff has written:

[Retired] Colonel Gardiner, who has taught military strategy at the National War College [of the United States], says that the [U.S. Navy] carrier deployment and a scheduled Persian Gulf arrival date of October 21 [2006] is "very important evidence" of war planning. He says, {"I know that some naval forces have already received 'prepare to deploy orders' [PTDOs], which have set the date for being ready to go as October 1 [2006]. Given that it would take about from October 2 to October 21 to get those forces to the [Persian] Gulf region, that looks about like the date" of any possible military action against Iran. (A PTDO means that all crews should be at their stations, and ships and planes should be ready to go, by a certain date - in this case, reportedly, October 1.) Gardiner notes, "You cannot issue a PTDO and then stay ready for very long. It's a very significant order, and it's not done as a training exercise." This point was also made in the Time article. (...) I think the plan's been picked: bomb the nuclear sites in Iran, says [Colonel] Gardiner. It's a terrible idea, it's against U.S. law and it's against international law, but I think they've decided to do it. Gardiner says that while the United States has the capability to hit those sites with its cruise missiles, the Iranians have many more options than we [the United States] do. (...) Of course, Gardiner agrees, recent ship movements and other signs of military preparedness could be simply a bluff designed to show toughness in the bargaining with Iran over its nuclear program. But with the Iranian coast reportedly armed to the teeth with Chinese Silkworm anti-ship missiles, and possibly even more sophisticated Russian anti-ship weapons, against which the [U.S.] Navy has little reliable defenses, it seems unlikely the Navy would risk high-value assets like aircraft carriers or cruisers with such a tactic. Nor has bluffing been a Bush [Administration] MO [tactic] to date.[13]

The Pentagon responded to the Time magazine report by stating that the Chief of Naval Operations had merely asked the U.S. Navy to "put 'fresh eyes' on old U.S. plans to blockade two Iranian oil ports on the [Persian] Gulf."[14] This response in itself is questionable to analysts. Why would the United States want to stop the flow of oil from Iran, a major petroleum exporting nation, which would harm U.S. allies and the world economy?

Iranian Naval Force and Anti-Ship Missiles

Iranian naval strength is divided into two main forces. One is the Navy within the Iranian Regular Armed Forces and the other is the naval branch of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard. Both forces have been updating and improving their equipment over the years. The aim of both naval forces is to act as a deterrent to the threat of invasion or attack from the United States.

Iran has a submarine fleet of Iranian and Russian manufactured submarines, a hovercraft fleet that was once the largest in the world, ROVs (remotely operated vehicles), various surface vessels of different sizes and operations, naval airborne units which include several helicopter squadrons, minesweepers, and a large arsenal of anti-ship missiles. The Iranian submarine fleet also includes mini-submarines manufactured domestically in Iran.[15]

Iran has been going through a naval build-up in the last decade. For example, in connection with the August 2006 Iranian war games and exercises, the Iranian military displayed its latest "Patrol Torpedo (PT) boats." PT boats are small naval vessels that have been used effectively to attack larger warships. These types of ships could be a threat to the U.S. strike groups deploying in the Persian Gulf and Arabian Sea. Naval Commander Kouchaki told Fars News Agency (FNA) that: "Joshan [a new Iranian PT boat] enjoys the world's latest technology, specially with regard to its military, electrical and electronic systems, frame and chassis, and it has the capabilities required for launching powerful missiles." "Similar to Iran's first PT boat 'Peykan', 'Joshan' also has a speed of over 45 sea knots which makes it even faster than the same generation of PT boats manufactured by other countries. The vessel is capable of using various missiles and rockets with a range beyond 100 km [62.14 miles], high maneuverability power that helps it to escape torpedoes, and enjoys the most advanced sea shell of the world called 'Fajr'." The 76mm-caliber shell, which only Iran, the United States, and Italy can manufacture, of the new Iranian PT boat also enjoys a wide variety of military capabilities and can hit sea and air targets within the range of 19 km or 23 thousand feet in distance, respectively.[16]

Iran has also tested a series of "submarine-to-surface" anti-ship missiles during its August 2006 war games[17]. The latter seem to have raised some concern that Iran could disrupt the flow of oil through the Persian Gulf in the event of an Anglo-American assault.[18]

In its April 2006 war games, Iran tested an anti-ship missile, reported as "the world's fastest," with a top speed of approximately 362 kilometres per hour (km/h) or 225 miles per hour (m/h). The anti-ship missile is designed to destroy large submarines and is said to be too fast for most vessels to escape even if it is caught on their radar.[19] Early warning systems will be essential for the U.S. in combating the Iranian military.

If storm clouds should gather above the Persian Gulf, the United States will have to keep the Straits of Hormuz open, international oil traffic running, and simultaneously face a large barrage of Iranian missiles from land, air, and sea. This includes deadly Iranian anti-ship missiles that Iran has developed with the help of Russia and China.

There have been warnings by analysts that the Persian Gulf could be closed off and turned into a shooting gallery by the Iranian Armed Forces. Iranian weaponry is also reported to be invisible to radar and can travel at high speeds. Amongst names mentioned in regards to Iranian anti-ship missiles are the modified Russian and Chinese "Silkworms" and "Sunburns," which are based on earlier Soviet models.

The Iranian arsenal includes anti-ship missiles like the C-802 and Kowsar. The C-802 anti-ship missiles are missiles that originate from China. Kowsar anti-ship missiles are basically land-based anti-ship missiles (land-to-sea missiles) which can dodge electronic jamming systems.[20]

At this stage, it is impossible to say how the U.S. Navy and U.S. Coast Guard will perform against Iranian anti-ship missiles, in the context of a "real combat situation."

Navy and Troop Movements in the Eastern Mediterranean

There is also considerable military movement and build-up of allied forces in the Eastern Mediterranean, formally under the disguise of a peace-keeping operation pursuant to U.N. Security Council Resolution 1701.

Italy has redeployed Italian troops from Iraq, including commando units and armored reconnaissance units, to Lebanon. Two marine units, one belonging to the Italian Army and the other belonging to the Italian Navy, have been sent to Lebanon. Both are veteran units of separate tours of service in Anglo-American occupied Iraq. The Italian Army has sent the "Lagunari" of the Venice-based marine infantry unit the "Serenissima Regiment," while the Italian Navy has sent the "San Marco Regiment."

Spanish units and troops have been deployed near Tyre and the Israeli border in South Lebanon. Spain, with two warships off the coast of Lebanon is projected to have the third largest force from the E.U., after Italy and France.[21] Large contingents of Spanish troops are additionally based away from the Mediterranean coast, around Jdeidet-Marjayoun (Marjayoun), near the Syrian border and both the Sheba Farms and Golan Heights occupied by Israel.

German warships will also join the vessels of other fellow NATO members in patrolling the coasts of the Eastern Mediterranean. German will eventually take over command of the naval forces from Italy. The German government has launched battle frigates and fast patrol boats to post-siege Lebanon.[22]

"The naval mission, the first German deployment to the Middle East since the end of the Second World War, was backed by 442 lawmakers, with 152 against and five abstentions. As many as 2,400 German [naval] personnel will now be deployed to the region, backed by a one-year mandate expiring August 31, 2007. The mission brings the number of German soldiers [meaning servicemen] serving overseas to above 10,000 for the first time in postwar [meaning post-World War II] history."[23]

The coalition government of Denmark, formed by the Danish Conservative People's Party and the Liberal Party of Denmark, has been a steadfast supporter of Anglo-American military objectives. The Danish government led by Prime Minister Anders Fogh Ramussen has sent Danish troops to both Anglo-American occupied Iraq and NATO garrisoned Afghanistan. Three Danish warships have also set sail for the Eastern Mediterranean to join the NATO armada of warships gathering off the Lebanese and Syrian coastlines. The Peter Tordenskiold, a naval corvette, and two Danish missile cruisers, the Raven and the Hawk, have been on stand-by for military operations in the Eastern Mediterranean since the end of the Anglo-American sponsored siege of Lebanon. The Danish naval attachment has been waiting in Wilhelmshaven, a German naval base, for a "go-ahead order" for nearly two weeks in early September, 2006.[24] The Danish government is also talking about sending more troops to Afghanistan, which would join the 2,000 troops to be dispatched by Romania and Poland in early October, 2006.[25]

In Lebanon, France is involved in military operations on the ground, whereas Italian and German warships head the naval mission in the Eastern Mediterranean. Some 2,000 French troops are slated to be deployed in Lebanon. French tanks and armored units have helped comprise "the most powerful Armor ever deployed by a United Nations peacekeeping force" in history.[26]

Greek warships are also part of the naval armada in the Eastern Mediterranean. Ten Greek warships, which include diving units and navy helicopters, have added their strength to the NATO naval force off Lebanon with orders to "use force if needed." The Greek naval commitment is coming at a reported cost of approximately 150,000 Euros for every week of operation to the Greek government. The Greek warships will dock in the southern port of Larnaca. Larnaca is on the southern side of the island of Cyprus and faces Lebanon. This is until the naval facilities of the Lebanese capital, Beirut, are deemed ready and safe by the commanders of the naval armada.[27]

The Netherlands is deploying alternating warships, with a reported 150 Dutch sailors. The Dutch warships will be comprised of one frigate and a supply ship offering logistics support to the naval fleet gathering in the Eastern Mediterranean. The Dutch deployment should start sometime in October 2006 and will continue sailing the Eastern Mediterranean until August, 2007. The Dutch Defense Minister has also said that the Dutch commitment could be extended by an additional extra 12 months.[28]

Belgium is also dispatching 400 troops to Southern Lebanon. The Belgian Defense Minister has been one of several defense officials visiting Lebanon to make preparations for military operations in Lebanon.[29] Other defense officials in liaison with Lebanon have been dispatched by Italy and France.

Turkish troops have not yet positioned themselves in Lebanon and face strong domestic opposition. Turkey, an Israeli ally and NATO member, is to send troops to Lebanon by the end of October, 2006.[30] This is happening despite of the mass public outcry and opposition in Turkey to the deployment of Turkish soldiers to Lebanon.

A former Turkish high ranking civilian representative of NATO in Afghanistan, Hikmet Cetin in a televised address attempted to reassure Turkish public opinion, emphasizing that Turkish troops would be going to Afghanistan, rather than to Lebanon:

...the number of Turkish soldiers [in Afghanistan] has more than doubled from 300 to 700 over the last month [September, 2006]. Ankara can increase the number of soldiers in the upcoming period for the security of Kabul [Afghanistan], but it won't send soldiers to clashes [in South Lebanon]."[31]

Bulgaria, another NATO member with troops in Afghanistan and (until 2005/2006) in Iraq, will be sending naval and ground forces to Lebanon.[32]

In turn, Britain will be dispatching a small contingent of troops to South Lebanon.[33] The U.A.E., an Arab sheikdom, has been given a mandate to clear the Israeli landmines and booby-traps left south of the Litani River,[34] an important source of water in the Levant that Israel has always had its eyes on. The U.A.E. has contracted its de-mining operations in South Lebanon to a British private security firm. The British security firm, "ArmorGroup International," has received a 5.6 million U.S. dollar (2.9 million pound sterling) contract for a year of work in South Lebanon.[35] ArmorGroup has also been providing security for the United States military in Iraq, the Persian Gulf, and Afghanistan, including protecting U.S. Navy facilities in Bahrain. The British security firm has additionally been providing security for oil and gas consortiums in Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Kuwait, Nigeria, and the former Soviet Union, including Kazakhstan and the Republic of Azarbaijan.[36] As in the cases of Afghanistan and Anglo-American occupied Iraq, private security firms are also starting to move into Lebanon, along with NATO.

NATO has "unofficially" moved in to fill the vacuum left by war in Lebanon as it "officially" did in the case of Afghanistan. NATO signed a military cooperation agreement with Israel in 2005. These NATO troops could become an occupation force, as is the case in Afghanistan.[37]

Israeli ground forces have not fully withdrawn from South Lebanon pursuant to the U.N. Security Council resolution and ceasefire.

Meanwhile Israeli vessels have turned over the responsibility for the enforcement of the illegal naval embargo on Lebanon to NATO naval vessels and warships.

This naval embargo recalls the internationally illegal "No-fly Zones" established over Iraq by the United States, Britain, and France, which contributed to weakening Iraq in the years prior to the 2003 Anglo-American invasion.

The crucial question is whether this naval embargo and militarization of the Eastern Mediterranean is part of the preparations for future military operation(s) directed against Syria. The illegal embargo has U.N. approval. It is upheld as part of the monitoring of the Lebanese coastline to enforce the entry of military supplies and weapons into Lebanon.

Russia and China Send Troops to Lebanon, A Symmetrical Strategic Move

The Russian Federation and the People's Republic of China have also deployed troops in Lebanon. Is this for peacekeeping or are there other objectives of strategic nature?

A Russian sapper (military field/combat engineer) battalion is also being airlifted to Lebanon by the Russian Air Force.[38] The Russian Defense Minister has said that the Russian sappers and their battalion will start work in Lebanon at the start of October 2006. All that is formally needed is "an agreement on the status of the combat engineer battalion with the Lebanese government."[39]

Russian troops will be deployed near the city of Sidon (Saida) in South Lebanon, off the shores of the Mediterranean. While Russian troops are freshly entering Lebanon, there is also a Russian naval presence on the Syrian seashore.[40] (See Russian Base in Syria, a Symmetrical Strategic Move, July, 2006)

Unlike their Russian allies, Chinese troops were present in Lebanon before the Anglo-American sponsored Israeli attacks. The Chinese presence in Lebanon was under the authority of a small U.N. peacekeeping force. Around 200 Chinese military engineers already work for the U.N. in South Lebanon clearing mines and unexploded ordnance. The small U.N. force saw the death of one of its Chinese member at the hands of Israeli attacks during the Anglo-American sponsored siege of Lebanon. Approximately another 1,000 Chinese troops will be added to the Chinese military presence in Lebanon. [41]

Chinese and Russian forces will also be in close proximity to the Port of Ceyhan and the energy route being opened in the Eastern Mediterranean. This is a symmetrical action if one considers the U.S. military presence and support for Taiwan as a means to control the strategic oil route to China and Japan from the Middle East.[42]

Russia and China are the two largest members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). they are permanent members of the U.N. Security Council, decisively opposed to Anglo-American initiatives in the Middle East, the Korean Peninsula, and Sudan.

Additionally, Russia and China together with Iran are challenging Anglo-American oil interests in Central Asia and the Caspian Sea Basin.

Israel is an extension of the Anglo-American alliance and also NATO through a military pact with Turkey and the "NATO-Mediterranean Dialogue," including the June 29, 2004 Istanbul Cooperation Initiative.[43] With the build-up and marshalling of troops from member states of NATO, Russia and China could be sending troops in a deliberate symmetrical move to Lebanon to establish a military equilibrium in the important balance-of-power of the Levant and Eastern Mediterranean.

The War on Lebanon and the Battle for Oil: the Baku-Tbilisi-Cehyan Oil Terminal

There is undeniable international competition for energy resources in the world. The Baku-Tbilisi-Cehyan (BTC) Oil Terminal (also called the Caspian-Mediterranean Oil Terminal) has an outlet on the Turkish coast of the Eastern Mediterranean in close proximity to Syria and Lebanon. The opening of this pipeline is geo-strategically an important victory. This is a geo-strategic victory for the Anglo-American alliance, Israel, the large oil corporations, and their partners, but it is a geo-strategic set back for Russia, China, and Iran on the other hand. It seems that the sovereignty of Lebanon has been put into further danger with the opening of the strategic oil terminal.

The occupation of Afghanistan (2001) and Iraq (2003) has been followed by the militarization of the Eastern Mediterranean, [44] The July 2006 Israeli siege of Lebanon is intimately related to the opening of the Baku-Tbilisi-Cehyan (BTC) Oil Terminal, the marshalling of naval vessels in the Persian Gulf-Arabian Sea, and an anticipated war against Iran and Syria.

Syria is also taking steps to strengthen its military. Russia is helping Syria build and upgrade its air defense systems. The Syrian military has additionally made numerous orders for Russian and Iranian manufactured warplanes and missiles. Belarus and China are also aiding the Syrian military.

Professor Michel Chossudovsky has given details on the Israeli war on Lebanon, the militarization of the Eastern Mediterranean, and the international rivalry for energy resources;

Is there a relationship between the bombing of Lebanon and the inauguration of the world's largest strategic pipeline, which will channel more than a million barrels of oil a day to Western markets? Virtually unnoticed, the inauguration of the Ceyhan-Tbilisi-Baku (BTC) oil pipeline, which links the Caspian Sea to the Eastern Mediterranean, took place on the 13th of July [2006], at the very outset of the Israeli sponsored bombings of Lebanon. (...) The bombing of Lebanon is part of a carefully planned and coordinated military road map. The extension of the war into Syria and Iran has already been contemplated by U.S. and Israeli military planners. This broader military agenda is intimately related to strategic oil and oil pipelines. It is supported by the Western oil giants, which control the pipeline corridors. In the context of the war on Lebanon, it seeks Israeli territorial control over the East Mediterranean coastline. (The War on Lebanon and the Battle for Oil, July 26, 2006)

Syria and Lebanon must be subjugated if the United States and its partners are to secure the Eastern Mediterranean coastline to expand the oil terminal from Ceyhan, Turkey to Israel, lock out Russia and China from securing international energy resources, and ultimately creating a monopoly over world energy resources.

The Eastern Mediterranean, a "Second Front" Guarded by NATO?

There has been a significant build-up of military force, including naval power, in Lebanon and the waters of the Eastern Mediterranean. This force is composed of troops and naval vessels from several NATO countries including Italy, Spain, France, Turkey, Germany, and the Netherlands.

NATO's "Operation Active Endeavor," implemented in the wake of 9/11 is fully integrated into the U.S. sponsored "War on Terrorism". The Operation is overseen by the Commander of "NATO Allied Naval Forces, Southern Europe" based in Naples.

In this context, a NATO naval task force of warships has been monitoring the Eastern Mediterranean since late 2001, years before the Israeli aerial siege of Lebanon (2006). This task force of NATO warships has been "trained and prepared for a prolonged operation in the Eastern Mediterranean since 2001."[45]

According to one Israeli source, the NATO military presence in the Eastern Mediterranean is part of the war plans pertaining to Syria and Iran:

"This expectation [of a war launched against Iran and Syria] has brought together the greatest sea and air armada Europe [NATO] has ever assembled at any point on earth since World War II: two carriers with 75 fighter-bombers, spy planes and helicopters on their decks; 15 warships of various types - 7 French, 5 Italian, 2-3 Greek., 3-5 German, and 5 American; thousands of Marines - French, Italian and German, as well as 1,800 U.S. Marines. It is improbably billed as support for a mere [expected] 7,000 European soldiers who are deployed in Lebanon to prevent the dwindling Israeli force of 4-5,000 soldiers and some 15-16,000 Hezbollah militiamen from coming to blows as well as for humanitarian odd jobs. (...) So, if not for Lebanon, what is this fine array of naval power really there for? First, according to our military sources [in Israel], the European participants feel the need of a strong naval presence in the eastern Mediterranean to prevent a possible Iranian-U.S.-Israeli war igniting an Iranian long-range Shahab missile attack on [American-NATO bases used against Iran from eastern] Europe; second, as a deterrent to dissuade Syria and Hezbollah from opening a second front against America and Israel from their Eastern Mediterranean coasts." [46]

In the case of a war with Syria and Iran, NATO forces in the Eastern Mediterranean would no doubt play a decisive role. The Eastern Mediterranean would become one of several fronts, which could include Iraq, Turkey, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and the Persian Gulf.

NATO Enlargement and the Caucasus

Just as it did in Afghanistan, NATO has moved into Lebanon. Under a formal peacekeeping mandate, NATO has become a de facto occupation force that is party to the Anglo-American agenda.

There are two other factors that fall into the NATO equation. The first is the militarization of Georgia and the Republic of Azerbaijan, two former republics of the Soviet Union which are firmly aligned with NATO. Georgia occupies a strategic position with regard to the control and protection of the oil pipeline corridors out of the Caspian Sea Basin. It also constitutes a wedge between Russia, Armenia, and Iran. Azerbaijan serves primarily as an oil source in the Caspian Sea basin at the outset of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline.

It is Georgia which is being propped up militarily to counter Russia, Iran, and their ally Armenia.

A strategic triangle is formed by Afghanistan in the east, the Caucasus in the north, and the Levant in the west, with Iraq and Iran somewhat in its center.

Georgia is essential to gaining control of this area from the north. The Caucasus region is also an interlinked front with the Middle East and Central Asia that will become more active as the Anglo-American military roadmap proceeds.

It seems that rising tensions between Russia and Georgia are part of this process. The civil unrest and conflicts in the Caucasus are intimately related to the struggle to secure Middle Eastern and Central Asian energy resources.

The Balkans, the heart of Central Asia, and Sudan are another strategic triangle of the Anglo-American military roadmap. The reconfiguration of Yugoslavia and the entrance of states such as Bulgaria, Albania, Montenegro, and Macedonia into the NATO sphere are also essential steps in the Anglo-American roadmap.

Russia has been outraged at the harboring of Chechen rebels in Georgia and the Georgian government's collaboration with the United States in undermining Russian influence in the Caucasus. Russia has fought back and tried to counter Georgian and Anglo-American influence in the Caucasus by supporting the Abkhazian and South Ossetian independence movements. Additionally, border delimitation has become an issue between Georgia and Russia. This has resulted in an uneasy stalemate, but the situation seems to be changing. Russian troops have also been leaving their bases in Georgia[47] and tensions have been rising between the Russians on the one hand and Georgia and NATO on the other.

September 2006 has seen relations on the brink of collapse. The Georgian government has charged the Russian military with spying in Georgia and the Russian Federation of trying to oust the Georgian government and install a pro-Russian, anti-NATO government in its place. In addition, South Ossetian forces have shot down a helicopter with the Georgian Defense Minister on board and, days later, Georgian authorities foiled what they claim was an attempt at a "coup d'etat" supported by Russia, which is something that the Russian government denies.[48]

There is also a striking parallel between peacekeeping operations in Georgia and Lebanon. Both are bogus operations with a hidden agenda. In Georgia it is Russian troops that are deployed as peacekeepers and in Lebanon peacekeeping is "unofficially" dominated by NATO. The Georgian Foreign Minister has said: "If we continue to drive the situation [in Georgia] ... with existing actors and with the dominant power of Russia ...we will end up in violence [war]," He has demanded that Russian troops stationed in Georgia withdraw and has accused Moscow of seeking to undermine the Georgian government.[49]

The second factor is the rapid expansionist policy of NATO.

NATO has been expanding eastward. It is now seeking entry for Georgia, the Republic of Azerbaijan, Ukraine, and several other countries.[50] The Russian Foreign Minister has told the Secretary-General of NATO that the Reconfiguration of NATO military forces in Europe, as well as the desire of the United States to deploy certain elements of missile launching sites in Eastern Europe are the issues of concern for us [the Russian Federation]."[51]

In this regard, the Associated Press points to rising tensions between the Russian Federation and NATO, pertaining to Georgia's membership in NATO

Moscow [the Russian government] denounced the move [to embrace Georgia further into NATO] as a Cold War throwback that hurt Russian interests and could further destabilize the Caucasus region. Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov threatened to send two divisions of Russian troops to the border with Georgia to ensure that "Russia's security won't be hurt if Georgia enters NATO." The strained relations between Russia and Georgia worsened Thursday when Moscow recalled its ambassador, announced the recall of diplomats and complained to the United Nations about Georgia's detention of five Russian officers on spying charges. Mr. Ivanov called Georgia a "bandit state." Georgia charged four of the officers on Friday with spying and was to put them on trial later in the day, said Shota Khizanishvili, spokesman for the Interior Minister. A fifth officer was released Friday (September, 2006).[52]

Formation of a Eurasian Military Alliance?

Since August 2006, Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and Kyrgyztan have been holding joint military exercises and anti-terrorism drills. These operations were conducted under the SCO and/or the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) (with the involvement of the Commonwealth of Independent States, CIS). These military exercises were conducted at a time when Iran was also involved in major war games.

  • Russia and Belarus held joint military exercises in 2006 (June 17-25)[53]
  • U.S. military operations and war games were held with Bulgaria and Romania, in the Balkans (July-August, 2006)[54]
  • Iranian War Games started on August 19, 2006[55]
  • Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) Anti-terrorism exercises including Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan were held in late August 2006[56]
  • China and Kazakhstan held joint anti-terrorism drills also in late August (start August 23/24, 2006)[57]
  • Russia, Uzbekistan, and Kazakhstan held joint anti-terrorism drills (September 19-23, 2006)[58]
  • China and Tajikistan hold their first joint military exercise (September 22-23, 2006)[59]
  • CIS and Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) Anti-Terrorism Drills in Armenia (September 26-28, 2006)[60]

The initiation of a "Eurasian Energy Club" was the practical outcome on September 15, 2006 for the SCO during a conference held in Dushanbe, Tajikistan.[61] This is a goal that cannot be achieved unless Iran is a full member of the SCO.

IRNA quoted the Uzbek Deputy Prime Minister, Rustam Azimov, as saying that "the economic projects, on which [SCO] agreements were reached during the International Shanghai Conference [SCO], cannot be implemented without the cooperation of Iran, as a significant regional country."[62]

Mongolia is also set to become a full member of the SCO. Mongolia, Iran, India, and Pakistan are all observer members of the SCO. Armenia, a member of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) and the CIS, and Serbia, a historical ally of Russia, are potential candidates for the SCO. Armenia has also made it clear that it has no intention of joining the E.U. or NATO.[63] Belarus has also expressed interest in joining the SCO as a full member state.[64]

The expansion of the SCO and the complete inclusion of Iran as a full member has been challenged by the Helsinki Commission (the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe) during an inquiry (September 26, 2006) into the impact of the SCO on Anglo-American objectives and U.S. influence in Central Asia.

The expansion of the SCO was said to be unlikely because the "economic mission of the SCO seems ill-defined" and that the organization is not likely to add new members who may end up competing with Russia and China for control of Central Asia. It was also pointed out during the Helsinki Commission hearing that, "They [the members of the SCO] are bound together by a shared set of security interests and a shared set of perceived risk[s]."

"Security interests and perceived risks" being connotations for the growing threat of Anglo-American intrusion into the former Soviet republics of Central Asia

The war games held in the former Soviet Union and Central Asia[65] were dominated by Russia and China. They were conducted under the disguise of fighting "terrorism, extremism, and separatism." Terrorism, extremism, and separatism are critical arenas of cooperation for all member states.[66] What is the hidden agenda? Are these war games related in any way to U.S. war preparations?

Terrorism, extremism, and separatism are nurtured by Anglo-American covert intelligence operations including sabotage and terrorist attacks by Special Forces. Inciting ethnic, ideological, and sectarian tension and separatist movements have been a traditional hallmark of Anglo-American strategy in the Middle East, the Balkans, India, Southeast Asia, the former Soviet Union and Africa.

As for the manipulation and creation of extremism, Afghanistan is testimony of this strategy. Afghanistan is where the Pakistani ISI and the United States helped create the Taliban to fight the Soviet Union. The United States, Pakistan, and Saudi Arabia have also worked in supporting extremist movements in the former Soviet Union. This is one of the reasons that the Iranian government has remained silent in aiding or acknowledging religious based ideologues or separatist movements in the Caucasus and the former Soviet Union, including Chechnya.

Kurdistan: The Seeds of Balkanization and Finlandization?

Both the United States and Israel have been covertly training a number of Kurdish groups in Northern Iraq. Iran and Syria have accused Israel of establishing a military presence in Iraqi Kurdistan. Israel has also trained Anglo-American special forces in assassination missions and the formation of "hunter-killer teams" in Iraq.[67]

Magdi Abdelhadi, an Arab and Middle Eastern affairs analyst has written:

Ever since the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq began over three years ago [in 2003], Arab journalists have been speaking of Israelis operating inside the autonomous region of Kurdistan [in Northern Iraq]. They said this was evidence that toppling that Saddam Hussein was only the first chapter in a wider American-Israeli conspiracy to eliminate threats to their strategic interests and re-draw the map of the Middle East [vis-à-vis a military roadmap]. Syria and Iran, which have common borders with Kurdish areas, are believed to be the primary targets.[68]

There are deliberate attempts to manufacture or create civil strife and division within the countries of the Middle East. The underlying objectives are balkanization (division) and finlandization (pacification).[69]

Kurdistan is the geographic heart of the contemporary Middle East and the Gordian knot holding all its mosaic of states and people together. Kurdistan is also strategically the land-bridge connecting Syria and the Eastern Mediterranean with Iran. The Kurdish people have been continuously manipulated and deceived by the United States. The deliberate manipulation of the Kurdish people by the United States and Israel could deal a severe and chaotic blow to the stability of Kurdistan and the national unity of Syria, Turkey, Iran, Iraq, and by extension the neighbors of these countries.

Moreover, the balkanization of Iraq could set in motion a domino-effect, which could have an impact in the entire Middle East and beyond. The United States has created the conditions for social division within Iraq. Dividing Iraqi society weakens the resistance movement to the Anglo-American military occupation. Creating sectarian and ethnic divisions in Iraqi society has a direct bearing on U.S. war plans pertaining to Iran and Syria. The premise is that Iraqis would be too busy fighting each other to offer significant support to Syria and Iran.

The balkanization of Iraq is also consistent with Anglo-American objectives for the "Eurasian Corridor" and the "Yinon Plan[70]" for the Greater Middle East.

Both objectives overlap and depend on a partnership between the United States, Britain, and Israel. These objectives rely on initial regime change(s) from within a targeted state through the triggering of ethnic and sectarian conflicts. This strategy is also being used against Russia, China, and Central Asia. The ultimate objective is the creation of a new set of Kuwait-like or Bahrain-like mini-states or Anglo-American protectorates in the Middle East and the former Soviet Union that can easily be controlled by the U.S., Britain, and Israel.

In an interview with Der Spiegel, the Syrian President said that the Middle East was teetering on the brink of chaos and conflict. When asked about the partition or balkanization of Anglo-American occupied Iraq, the Syrian President said:

"It would be harmful, not just for Iraq, but for the entire region, extending from Syria to the [Persian] Gulf and into Central Asia. Imagine snapping a necklace and all the pearls fall to the ground. Almost all these countries have natural dividing lines, and when ethnic and religious partition occurs in one country, it'll soon happen elsewhere. It would be like the end of the Soviet Union-only far worse. Major wars, minor wars, no one will be capable of keeping the consequences under control."[71]

The problem can further be compounded. A war with Syria could spill over and ignite further conflicts in Palestine, Jordan, and Lebanon, while also affecting Turkey, Cyprus, and the entire Arab World.

A war with Iran or any balkanization affecting Iran would also contribute to destabilizing the Caucasus, Turkey, and Central Asia which all have ethnic and cultural ties with Iran. This includes North Ossetia-Alania, Chechnya, Dagestan, Ingushetia, which are part of the South Federal District of the Russian Federation.

A war with Iran could spill over into the ethnically diverse Caucasus with serious and unpredictable ramifications for Russia.

The Caucasus is intimately interlinked with Iran. The conflicts between Armenia and the Republic of Azerbaijan over the Nagorno-Karabakh region, the internal conflicts in Georgia over South Ossetia and Abkhazia, and the fighting in Chechnya and Dagestan could all light up again. These conflicts would not only threaten Russia's national security, they would also affect the SCO, which is integrated with China, Russia and several former Soviet republics as well as the CSTO..

Connect-the-Dots: All the Pieces Coming Together?

There is an evident military build-up of conventional, ground, air, naval, and nuclear forces in and around the Middle East and Central Asia. It includes the mobilization of British troops on the Iranian border[72], and the extension of military tours of service in Anglo-American occupied Iraq and NATO garrisoned Afghanistan.[73] The 1st Brigade of 1st Armored Division, a 4,000 man unit which is operating in the Al-Anbar province of Iraq, bordering Syria, has had their tour of duty extended. They are not the first group of American or British soldiers to have their tours of duty extended in Iraq or Afghanistan. The brigade has about 4,000 soldiers in Iraq.[74] They were scheduled to be in Iraq for a maximum of 12 months, but their tours have been extended repeatedly like other military units. The U.S. Army has also extended the tour of the Alaska-based 172nd Striker Brigade, an army unit with over 3,500 troops, several times.[75]

Many of the Arab dictatorships will also secretly support the Anglo-American alliance. They will watch as Syria and Iran are attacked and Lebanon, Palestine, Iraq, and Afghanistan are further devastated by conflict. The pro-U.S. governments of Saudi Arabia, the Arab sheikdoms, Egypt, and Jordan are supportive of the U.S. "military roadmap", despite the fact that the people in these countries are firmly opposed to the U.S. led war. The hopes of a Palestinian state have also been abandoned by their leaders.

They have demonstrated this in their involvement against Iraq before and after the 2003 Anglo-American invasion. They have tacitly accepted the oppression of the Palestinian people, as well as the Israeli invasion and bombing of Lebanon (phrased in Lebanon as the "Arab conspiracy against Lebanon"). There have been media reports that Saudi Arabia and Israel have also been conducting secret talks in regards to Iran and the broader Middle East.[76]

Romania and Bulgaria are already important hubs for Anglo-American military operations in Eurasia extending from the Balkans to the Middle East and Central Asia. Both states are also important partners of the Anglo-American alliance. According to Lawrence Korb in a 2003 article in The New York Times:

The Pentagon is smitten with Romania. And Poland. And Bulgaria too. The Defense Department is considering closing many, if not all, of its bases in Western Europe - which are primarily in Germany - and to shift its troops to Spartan new sites in the former Soviet bloc. Already we [the public] are told that the First Armored Division, now on the ground in Iraq, will not return to the bases in Germany it left in April [2003]. And Gen. James Jones, the head of the European Command [of the United States], said this month that all 26 Army and Air Force installation in Germany, except for the Air Force base at Ramstein, might be closed. In effect this could mean transferring five army brigades, some 25, 000 troops, to the East [meaning Eastern Europe; Bulgaria and Romania]. (The Pentagon's Eastern Obsession, NYT, July 30, 2003)

In retrospect the Pentagon's decision to move eastward was strategically correct and based on the premise of the eastward shift of Anglo-American military operations. The situation in the former Yugoslavia and the Balkans was placated in the second half of the 1990s. With the start of 2001 the time had come to advance operations further eastward.

NATO has also been in liaison with Washington, London and Tel Aviv. Anglo-American and Israeli interests have been served by NATO. NATO either formally or informally has been sending troops to assist in the "occupational phase" of all Anglo-American operations after the "blitzkriegs" or "initial military phases." NATO and member states have been acting as occupation forces in Afghanistan and Iraq and are also moving into Lebanon. The Secretary-General of NATO has promised that the NATO mission in Afghanistan will expand and intensify.[77]

NATO spokesmen in Afghanistan have reported that by February 2007 General McNeil of the U.S. Army will take over command of NATO forces in Afghanistan, called the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), and American troops in Afghanistan. This means that American troops and NATO troops, which have been under separate command structures, will now be joined under one command structure in Afghanistan.[78] The media has pointed to the fact that U.S.; troops would be under NATO command. But what is really at stake is that a U.S. General is now overseeing NATO forces.

Roughly 12,000 mostly American troops in Afghanistan will begin to integrate with NATO in October 2006.[79] The top NATO command post in Afghanistan is currently headed by Lieutenant-General David Richards of Britain. In the case of a conflict with Iran, NATO troops in Afghanistan would attack Iran. Similalry, NATO troops stationed in Lebanon would attack Syria.

The Pakistani Connection

There are also signs that NATO and the United States are expecting the collapse of General Musharraf and the Pakistani government because of the chaos that would be triggered in Pakistan from attacks on Iran and Syria.[80] This could explain the request that India send troops into Afghanistan.[81] NATO and Indian interests would converge in ensuring that Pakistan and its nuclear arsenal not fall into the hands of radicals or extremists that could threaten Anglo-American interests and the security of India.

The Affirmation of a March to War from the Leaders of Syria, Iran, and Venezuela

There is no arms ban on Syria for importing defensive systems, but a merchant ship coming from Asia and Egypt has been detained in Limassol, Cyprus carrying air defense systems headed for Syria. The ship is free to leave, but the fate of its cargo is still undecided.[82] Syria's president and government have also said they expect to be attacked by Israel in the context of a broader Middle East war.[83]

In an NBC interview with Brian Williams, the Iranian President said that the White House and U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East are "moving the world toward war." This is a significant assertion coming from a leader of a Middle Eastern state and such a statement must be taken very seriously. The Iranian President, made a similar statement in his September address to the U.N. General Assembly, pointing to the fact that the United States was dragging the world towards a major war.

Iranian leaders have announced that British and American diplomacy efforts are merely bravado for the general public. They point to the "illusion of trying to solve crisis through diplomacy." In the cases of both Iraq and Afghanistan the United States and Britain decided to go to long before they informed the public of their intentions. In the case of Iraq there exist de-classified documentation that prove this to be true and in the case of Afghanistan there was no possible logistical way of preparing for an invasion without months of planning prior to the declaration of war, which took place on the 12th of September 2001

Iran is fully aware of the U.S. threat to bomb and invade. Its population is fully aware of the possibility of Anglo-American air raids. Iran has cautioned the United States and Britain. In August 2006, Iranian war games in coordination with Russian, Chinese, and CSTO war games took place throughout Iran, including all of Iran's geo-strategically important border provinces with Pakistan, Afghanistan, the Persian Gulf, Turkey, and Iraq. Clear signals were being sent to the Anglo-American alliance.

Venezuela, an Iranian ally, has warned the United States repeatedly that it will not watch Iran and Syria being invaded or attacked. The President of Venezuela, Hugo Chavez, has alluded to U.S. military preparations for the invasion of Iran in his speech to the 61st U.N. General Assembly:

"And now [the United States is] threatening Venezuela - new threats against Venezuela, against Iran [too]?"[84]

The Venezuelan President also stated: Meantime, the incumbent U.S. administration is also dreaming [incorrectly planning] of invading Iran and Venezuela to take control of the oil resources of these two countries as well [as those of Iraq]."[85]

How Venezuela plans to aid Iran and Syria in a war against the United States is a topic of debate, but it is very likely that, in the case of war, Venezuelan diplomatic relations with the U.S. government and oil supplies to the United States will be cut off.

Link Between the Persian Gulf and Eastern Mediterranean?

There is as process of ongoing militarization in the Levant and the Eastern Mediterranean, essentially led by NATO forces, under the pretext of U.N. peacekeeping.

If the U.S. led war were to proceed, the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) Oil Terminal, as well as the pipeline route leading to Ceyhan, would be an obvious military target of Syrian-Iranian forces. Meanwhile, the Iranian Navy would attempt to block the Straits of Hormuz. This could deliver a halting grind to the flow of world oil supplies as Iran has repeatedly promised. Venezuela could also stop the flow of its oil as its government has repeatedly warned.

Ýncirlik Air Base is a major NATO base in Turkey, next to the Syrian border and coastline. It must be noted that American nuclear weapons have also been positioned in Turkey's Ýncirlik Air Base. The latter was one of the main hubs for the United States and NATO during the 2001 Afghanistan military campaign. This Turkish base is still of vital importance to the United States, Britain, and NATO. Thousands of American and British airmen are stationed there. It is also adjacent to the Baku-Tbilisi-Cehyan (BTC) Oil Terminal.

The Baku-Tbilisi-Cehyan (BTC) Oil Terminal will become even more significant and important if Iran should successfully close off the Straits of Hormuz.

This is one of the reasons why the Ýncirlik Air Base is strategically important. The Ýncirlik Air Base would be used to protect the Port of Ceyhan, the outlet of the Baku-Tbilisi-Cehyan (BTC) Oil Terminal. The NATO armada in the eastern Mediterranean as well as Israel would also play an important role in protecting the Baku-Tbilisi-Cehyan (BTC) Oil Terminal if Syria or Iran attempted to disrupt the flow of energy to the Eastern Mediterranean.

There are two distinct naval armadas: in the Persian Gulf-Arabian Sea and in the Eastern Mediterranean off the coastlines of Syria and Lebanon.

These armadas are being built-up concurrently. The Eastern Mediterranean build-up is essentially characterized by Israeli and NATO naval and ground forces. In the Persian Gulf, the naval armada is largely American with the participation of the British, Australia, and Canada. In this extensive land mass between the Eastern Mediterranean and the Persian Gulf, various military movements on the ground are occurring, including Northern Iraq and Georgia.

The broader war theater would extend far beyond, northwards to the Caspian Sea Basin and eastwards to Pakistan and China's Western frontier. What we are dealing with is a chessboard for another Middle Eastern war, which could potentially engulf a much broader region.

Global Research Contributing Editor Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya is an independent writer and analyst of the Middle East, based in Ottawa.

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