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WANTED DEAD OR ALIVE October 30, 2004

Posted by wmmbb in Uncategorized.
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The assumption is that These words, as reported by the SMH are generally regarded to be those of Osama Bin Laden. The extract is a good idea because it allows all the Islamic posturing religious content to be edited out, since the significance of Koranic quotes is generally lost on Western audiences.

Bush sent out the posse, but somewhere along the track, under orders, it veered off in another direction. The clouds of dust were the manifestation of the bombing of Iraqi cities and their civilian populations. The four horsemen of the Apocalypse ride on. The understanding of cause and effect are estranged, divided by the two sides of the valley of death.

Here is “bin Laden’s” explanation for the attack on the Twin Towers:

God knows that it had not occurred to our mind to attack the towers, but after our patience ran out and we saw the injustice and tyranny of the American-Israeli alliance toward our people in Palestine and Lebanon, this came to my mind. The incidents that affected me directly go back to 1982 and afterward, when America allowed Israelis to invade Lebanon, with the help of the American 6th Fleet.

In those difficult moments many emotions came over me which are hard to describe, but they resulted in a strong feeling against injustice and a strong determination to punish the unjust.

“As I watched the destroyed towers in Lebanon, it occurred to me punish the unjust the same way [and] to destroy towers in America so it could taste some of what we are tasting and to stop killing our children and women.

In the “war on terrorism” the circumstances of Palestine have become a sideshow, whereas they may be central to the resolution of conflict and reconciliation, rather than the escalation of conflict which leads to West Bankization of Iraq and places beyond.

Since I do not think that the World should regress to the American Wild West fantasy, there is cause to pursue bin Laden’s capture and place him on proper trial for the methods he has used, and let him defend himself as best he can.

UPDATE: 31 October 2004

1. In a perverse way, the OBL tape is expected to favor Bush in the election campaign. It will be more grist to Roves mill than to his opponents. The BBC provides an analysis here.

2. The polls are indicating a close contest based on the popular vote. Even Nader is still getting close to 2%. The critical factor is how the bin Laden tape will play in the swing states.

WANTED DEAD OR ALIVE October 30, 2004

Posted by wmmbb in Terrorism Issues.
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The assumption is that These words, as reported by the SMH are generally regarded to be those of Osama Bin Laden. The extract is a good idea because it allows all the Islamic posturing religious content to be edited out, since the significance of Koranic quotes is generally lost on Western audiences.

Bush sent out the posse, but somewhere along the track, under orders, it veered off in another direction. The clouds of dust were the manifestation of the bombing of Iraqi cities and their civilian populations. The four horsemen of the Apocalypse ride on. The understanding of cause and effect are estranged, divided by the two sides of the valley of death.

Here is “bin Laden’s” explanation for the attack on the Twin Towers:

God knows that it had not occurred to our mind to attack the towers, but after our patience ran out and we saw the injustice and tyranny of the American-Israeli alliance toward our people in Palestine and Lebanon, this came to my mind. The incidents that affected me directly go back to 1982 and afterward, when America allowed Israelis to invade Lebanon, with the help of the American 6th Fleet.

In those difficult moments many emotions came over me which are hard to describe, but they resulted in a strong feeling against injustice and a strong determination to punish the unjust.

“As I watched the destroyed towers in Lebanon, it occurred to me punish the unjust the same way [and] to destroy towers in America so it could taste some of what we are tasting and to stop killing our children and women.

In the “war on terrorism” the circumstances of Palestine have become a sideshow, whereas they may be central to the resolution of conflict and reconciliation, rather than the escalation of conflict which leads to West Bankization of Iraq and places beyond.

Since I do not think that the World should regress to the American Wild West fantasy, there is cause to pursue bin Laden’s capture and place him on proper trial for the methods he has used, and let him defend himself as best he can.

UPDATE: 31 October 2004

1. In a perverse way, the OBL tape is expected to favor Bush in the election campaign. It will be more grist to Roves mill than to his opponents. The BBC provides an analysis here.
2. The polls are indicating a close contest based on the popular vote. Even Nader is still getting close to 2%. The critical factor is how the bin Laden tape will play in the swing states.

AND THE MARKET IS NEVER WRONG October 30, 2004

Posted by wmmbb in Uncategorized.
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Hope springs eternal, but putting your money where head is becomes another story. The betting markets across the planet, according to this report in The New Zealand Herald are decidedly consistent foreshadowing the re-election of Bush, and the triumph of Karl Rove his Democrat adversaries:

Internet bookmaker Interops.com yesterday had Bush at $1.62 to Kerry’s $2.20, Centrebet in Australia had Bush at $1.60 to Kerry’s $2.20 and William Hill in Britain had Bush favourite at $1.57 to Kerry’s $2.25.

AND THE MARKET IS NEVER WRONG October 30, 2004

Posted by wmmbb in US Politics.
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Hope springs eternal, but putting your money where head is becomes another story. The betting markets across the planet, according to this report in The New Zealand Herald are decidedly consistent foreshadowing the re-election of Bush, and the triumph of Karl Rove his Democrat adversaries:

Internet bookmaker Interops.com yesterday had Bush at $1.62 to Kerry’s $2.20, Centrebet in Australia had Bush at $1.60 to Kerry’s $2.20 and William Hill in Britain had Bush favourite at $1.57 to Kerry’s $2.25.

IRAQI DEATHS October 30, 2004

Posted by wmmbb in Uncategorized.
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I have been wondering for some time how many Iraqis have been killed as a result of the invasion and colonial war of occupation. Juan Cole, refering to the British medical journal, The Lancet, quoted by the SMH, has come up with the figure of 100,000. That is, about 100 times more than the number of American soldiers who have lost their lives.

Just to head off at the pass, those who would wish to sanitize murder, I am sure that these figures in the nature of the circumstances are estimates. These estimates are made on the basis of explicit assumptions, which equally are subject to uncertainty, and may need to be revised. However, I rely on Professor Cole’s observation that the methodology used is rigorous, but should be qualifed. His opinion is that:

The methodology of this study is very tight, but it does involve extrapolating from a small number and so could easily be substantially incorrect. But the methodology also is standard in such situations and was used in Bosnia and Kosovo.

I think the results are probably an exaggeration. But they can’t be so radically far off that the 16,000 deaths previously estimated can still be viewed as valid. I’d say we have to now revise the number up to at least many tens of thousand–which anyway makes sense. The 16,000 estimate comes from counting all deaths reported in the Western press, which everyone always knew was only a fraction of the true total. (I see deaths reported in al-Zaman every day that don’t show up in the Western wire services).

Juan Cole takes the position:

The most important finding from my point of view is not the magnitude of civilian deaths, but the method of them. Roberts and Burnham find that US aerial bombardments are killing far more Iraqi civilians than had previously been suspected. This finding is also not a surprise to me. I can remember how, on a single day (August 12), US warplanes bombed the southern Shiite city of Kut, killing 84 persons, mainly civilians, in an attempt to get at Mahdi Army militiamen. These deaths were not widely reported in the US press, especially television. Kut is a small place and has been relatively quiet except when the US has been attacking Muqtada al-Sadr, who is popular among some segments of the population there. The toll in Sadr City or the Shiite slums of East Baghdad, or Najaf, or in al-Anbar province, must be enormous.

I personally believe that these aerial bombardments of civilian city quarters by a military occupier that has already conquered the country are a gross violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949, governing the treatment of populations of occupied territories.

And aside from that, the murder and maiming of so many people, and I include the American and other soldiers in this total number, is not a cheap debating point. But it raises th question: What has it all been for? The so-called “war on terror’, analogous to the Churchill’s stand in the Second World War, must be in substance and expression based on moral principles common to all humanity, otherwise we all lose, and it cannot be a covert attempt to control resources and gain strategic positions cloaked by cheap, mumbling, rhetoric, or clever sound bites, and the absence of rigorous thinking.

The prestige and regard for America in the world has been damaged and diminished by stupidity and arrogance. The light has gone out. America no longer stands for, or holds the torch for, civlized values. These values are not practiced in Iraq nor in Quantanamo Bay. In failing to live up to these standards, it is its leaders who are the most profoundly anti-Americans for the first modern country, a child of the enlightenment, conceived in liberty and the rule of law.

Postscript:

The Lancet references are here and here, but require regristration.

UPDATE: 30/10/2004

I have just noticed the photo of the American coffins at Barista. As human beings we can identify with the pain and loss of the Americans, as we must with the Iraqis, whose numbers are shrouded in the mist of statistical speculation, but no less real for each individual and their families.

Just to repeat myself, the question here is: How far has all of thisunnecessary killing promoted the cause of a decent world?

IRAQI DEATHS October 30, 2004

Posted by wmmbb in Iraq Policy.
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I have been wondering for some time how many Iraqis have been killed as a result of the invasion and colonial war of occupation. Juan Cole, refering to the British medical journal, The Lancet, quoted by the SMH, has come up with the figure of 100,000. That is, about 100 times more than the number of American soldiers who have lost their lives.

Just to head off at the pass, those who would wish to sanitize murder, I am sure that these figures in the nature of the circumstances are estimates. These estimates are made on the basis of explicit assumptions, which equally are subject to uncertainty, and may need to be revised. However, I rely on Professor Cole’s observation that the methodology used is rigorous, but should be qualifed. His opinion is that:

The methodology of this study is very tight, but it does involve extrapolating from a small number and so could easily be substantially incorrect. But the methodology also is standard in such situations and was used in Bosnia and Kosovo.

I think the results are probably an exaggeration. But they can’t be so radically far off that the 16,000 deaths previously estimated can still be viewed as valid. I’d say we have to now revise the number up to at least many tens of thousand–which anyway makes sense. The 16,000 estimate comes from counting all deaths reported in the Western press, which everyone always knew was only a fraction of the true total. (I see deaths reported in al-Zaman every day that don’t show up in the Western wire services).

Juan Cole takes the position:

The most important finding from my point of view is not the magnitude of civilian deaths, but the method of them. Roberts and Burnham find that US aerial bombardments are killing far more Iraqi civilians than had previously been suspected. This finding is also not a surprise to me. I can remember how, on a single day (August 12), US warplanes bombed the southern Shiite city of Kut, killing 84 persons, mainly civilians, in an attempt to get at Mahdi Army militiamen. These deaths were not widely reported in the US press, especially television. Kut is a small place and has been relatively quiet except when the US has been attacking Muqtada al-Sadr, who is popular among some segments of the population there. The toll in Sadr City or the Shiite slums of East Baghdad, or Najaf, or in al-Anbar province, must be enormous.

I personally believe that these aerial bombardments of civilian city quarters by a military occupier that has already conquered the country are a gross violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949, governing the treatment of populations of occupied territories.

And aside from that, the murder and maiming of so many people, and I include the American and other soldiers in this total number, is not a cheap debating point. But it raises th question: What has it all been for? The so-called “war on terror’, analogous to the Churchill’s stand in the Second World War, must be in substance and expression based on moral principles common to all humanity, otherwise we all lose, and it cannot be a covert attempt to control resources and gain strategic positions cloaked by cheap, mumbling, rhetoric, or clever sound bites, and the absence of rigorous thinking.

The prestige and regard for America in the world has been damaged and diminished by stupidity and arrogance. The light has gone out. America no longer stands for, or holds the torch for, civlized values. These values are not practiced in Iraq nor in Quantanamo Bay. In failing to live up to these standards, it is its leaders who are the most profoundly anti-Americans for the first modern country, a child of the enlightenment, conceived in liberty and the rule of law.

Postscript:
The Lancet references are here and here, but require regristration.

UPDATE: 30/10/2004

I have just noticed the photo of the American coffins at Barista. As human beings we can identify with the pain and loss of the Americans, as we must with the Iraqis, whose numbers are shrouded in the mist of statistical speculation, but no less real for each individual and their families.

Just to repeat myself, the question here is: How far has all of thisunnecessary killing promoted the cause of a decent world?

THE DECISION MAKERS October 29, 2004

Posted by wmmbb in Uncategorized.
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Howard had a crowning achievement today. The Liberals have won control of the Senate, which will be for now as legislatively irrelevant as the House of Representatives.

Normally voters opt for the balance of power. Perhaps, on this occasion they were influenced by the fact that Labor has control in all the States. It is interesting to reflect how poorly the Liberals performed at the state level, and how well they have performed at the federal level. For Labor the reverse applies.

The federal Liberal Party campaign director, Brain Loughnane, was giving his post-elections thoughts in a speech delivered to the National Press Club which included the following observation:

Only 16 per cent of voters in marginal electorates thought Labor was better than the Coalition at keeping the economy strong

The more interesting question is why did these select voters think that? And, we can assume that Cunningham that now has a labor representative, in which Michael Organ lost the seat for the Greens, was not one of the marginal seats under consideration.

I will not be surprised to be informed at a later time that the Liberals learnt much from Karl Rove. And I think the other factor having significant influence on Australian elections is the right wing echo chamber created by talk back radio. This phenomena, somewhat like the interest rate scare, is one I do not understand since I almost never listen to it, and would only hear it while taking a journey in a cab. There was more about the role of talkback radio and the right wing media on The Media Repor this morning.

THE DECISION MAKERS October 28, 2004

Posted by wmmbb in Australian Politics.
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Howard had a crowning achievement today. The Liberals have won control of the Senate, which will be for now as legislatively irrelevant as the House of Representatives.

Normally voters opt for the balance of power. Perhaps, on this occasion they were influenced by the fact that Labor has control in all the States. It is interesting to reflect how poorly the Liberals performed at the state level, and how well they have performed at the federal level. For Labor the reverse applies.

The federal Liberal Party campaign director, Brain Loughnane, was giving his post-elections thoughts in a speech delivered to the National Press Club which included the following observation:

Only 16 per cent of voters in marginal electorates thought Labor was better than the Coalition at keeping the economy strong

The more interesting question is why did these select voters think that? And, we can assume that Cunningham that now has a labor representative, in which Michael Organ lost the seat for the Greens, was not one of the marginal seats under consideration.

I will not be surprised to be informed at a later time that the Liberals learnt much from Karl Rove. And I think the other factor having significant influence on Australian elections is the right wing echo chamber created by talk back radio. This phenomena, somewhat like the interest rate scare, is one I do not understand since I almost never listen to it, and would only hear it while taking a journey in a cab. There was more about the role of talkback radio and the right wing media on The Media Repor this morning.

NEW ZEALAND AHEAD, AUSTRALIA LAGGING WELL BEHIND October 28, 2004

Posted by wmmbb in Uncategorized.
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New Zealand is a priviledged position to view Australia, since it is the sole country that follows and often adopts Australian ways. Equally, when it does better, that is especially a matter to dwell upon. As reported in The New Zealand Herald, Australia was rated on the Reporters without Borders index on press freedom at 44, whereas NZ was 9th.

In particular, the watchdog criticised Australia’s policies restricting press access to refugees.

It said in the report that the Australian government “continued to prevent journalists from covering the situation of refugees held in camps on Australian territory or in neighbouring countries”.

The report pointed to the January 2002 arrest of ABC TV reporter Natalie Larkins, who was carted off and charged with trespassing on commonwealth property while trying to report on 300 hunger striking refugees at the Woomera Detention Centre in South Australia.

The report also criticised a number of other attempts by several groups to stifle press freedom. It mentioned a case in which the NRMA (a New South Wales motoring body) launched legal action to try to force Australian Associated Press (AAP) reporter Belinda Tasker and journalists Anne Lampe and Kate Askew from the Sydney Morning Herald to divulge their sources in their coverage of a boardroom battle. The case has since been dropped by the NRMA.

And it criticised attempts by the federal government to free up cross media ownership laws and make the Australian Broadcasting Authority responsible for maintaining editorial independence.

NEW ZEALAND AHEAD, AUSTRALIA LAGGING WELL BEHIND October 28, 2004

Posted by wmmbb in Australian Politics, The Neighbours.
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New Zealand is a priviledged position to view Australia, since it is the sole country that follows and often adopts Australian ways. Equally, when it does better, that is especially a matter to dwell upon. As reported in The New Zealand Herald, Australia was rated on the Reporters without Borders index on press freedom at 44, whereas NZ was 9th.

In particular, the watchdog criticised Australia’s policies restricting press access to refugees.
It said in the report that the Australian government “continued to prevent journalists from covering the situation of refugees held in camps on Australian territory or in neighbouring countries”.

The report pointed to the January 2002 arrest of ABC TV reporter Natalie Larkins, who was carted off and charged with trespassing on commonwealth property while trying to report on 300 hunger striking refugees at the Woomera Detention Centre in South Australia.

The report also criticised a number of other attempts by several groups to stifle press freedom. It mentioned a case in which the NRMA (a New South Wales motoring body) launched legal action to try to force Australian Associated Press (AAP) reporter Belinda Tasker and journalists Anne Lampe and Kate Askew from the Sydney Morning Herald to divulge their sources in their coverage of a boardroom battle. The case has since been dropped by the NRMA.

And it criticised attempts by the federal government to free up cross media ownership laws and make the Australian Broadcasting Authority responsible for maintaining editorial independence.

IF MILITARY MIGHT IS RIGHT October 28, 2004

Posted by wmmbb in Uncategorized.
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According to Michael Fullilove in the SMH American policy will not be too different whether Bush or Kerry wins, specifically in the application of force. His central argument is that:

America’s primacy in the internation system shapes the way its policy makers look at the world. Partiality to coercive measures and wariness of international law is not purely a personal predilection of Bush’s

The expression of this “partiality” is seen in Iraq, illustrating the war on terrorism, or the reliance:

. . .on military might rather than the international rules in order to maintain [American] security and promote a liberal order.

What, then, is terrorism other than a convenient emotion-laden slogan? If only so I will know, terrorism can be defined as “the systematic use of [extreme fear],especially as a means of coercion”.

Terrorist can, I suggest, be characterised by mentality as well as methods. They should such a disregard for human rights and human well being of the civilian population such that their acts constitute a crime against humanity. Their mentality is framed by the conviction that they are the agents of god or righteousness, and other people do not matter. People who purport to be Christians and Muslims who pronouce such beliefs are, religious cultists. I would include many, if not most, of the so-called religious supporters of the Republican Party.

Fullilove acknowledges that Kerry now call Iraq a “profound diversion from the war on terrorism”. The war on a terrorism is a rhetorical device, assuming that right exists only on one side, and yet the prosecution of the war in Iraq would suggest otherwise that the methods and mentality adopted by Americans amount to terrorism.

Patrick Graham’s article first published in The Guardian, and later republished in the SMH provides geneal evidence:

Falluja is already now being bombed daily, as it is softened up for the long-awaited siege. It has been a gruelling year for its people. First, they were occupied by the US army’s 82nd Airborne, an incompetent group of louts whose idea of cultural sensitivity was kicking a door down instead of blowing it up. Within eight months of the invasion, the 82nd had killed about 100 civilians in the area and lost control of Falluja, leaving it to the US marines to try and retake the city last April. After killing about 600 civilians, the marines retreated, leaving the city in the hands of 18 armed groups, including tribesmen, Islamists, Ba’athists, former criminals and an assortment of non-Iraqi Arab fighters said to be led by the Jordanian, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.

Graham notes:

Recently, a Bush administration official told the New York Times the bombing was driving a wedge between the citizenry and the non-Iraqi fighters. If, indeed, the civilian population is being bombed for this end, this is a grave war crime.

He then gives specific instances in which he was involved in which the Americans were in violation of the Geneva Conventions.

There are at least two points to be made. The United States of America was founded, as set out in the Declaration of Independence, on the principle of the rule of law, for what else is a “decent respect for the opinion of mankind”? Justice must prevail, and crimes must be prosecuted in the humanities struggle against terrorism.

Postscript/Expanation:

Fair dinkum, I was tired when I wrote this. Hence the glaring spelling mistake, and even worse English than has become the norm here. I had my blog already for publishing, with newspaper lying over the keyboard, when pressing down on the newspaper wiped out the lot. This rewrite was done through the haze of tiredness.

IF MILITARY MIGHT IS RIGHT October 27, 2004

Posted by wmmbb in Iraq Policy.
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According to Michael Fullilove in the SMH American policy will not be too different whether Bush or Kerry wins, specifically in the application of force. His central argument is that:

America’s primacy in the internation system shapes the way its policy makers look at the world. Partiality to coercive measures and wariness of international law is not purely a personal predilection of Bush’s

The expression of this “partiality” is seen in Iraq, illustrating the war on terrorism, or the reliance:

. . .on military might rather than the international rules in order to maintain [American] security and promote a liberal order.

What, then, is terrorism other than a convenient emotion-laden slogan? If only so I will know, terrorism can be defined as “the systematic use of [extreme fear],especially as a means of coercion”.

Terrorist can, I suggest, be characterised by mentality as well as methods. They should such a disregard for human rights and human well being of the civilian population such that their acts constitute a crime against humanity. Their mentality is framed by the conviction that they are the agents of god or righteousness, and other people do not matter. People who purport to be Christians and Muslims who pronouce such beliefs are, religious cultists. I would include many, if not most, of the so-called religious supporters of the Republican Party.

Fullilove acknowledges that Kerry now call Iraq a “profound diversion from the war on terrorism”. The war on a terrorism is a rhetorical device, assuming that right exists only on one side, and yet the prosecution of the war in Iraq would suggest otherwise that the methods and mentality adopted by Americans amount to terrorism.

Patrick Graham’s article first published in The Guardian, and later republished in the SMH provides geneal evidence:

Falluja is already now being bombed daily, as it is softened up for the long-awaited siege. It has been a gruelling year for its people. First, they were occupied by the US army’s 82nd Airborne, an incompetent group of louts whose idea of cultural sensitivity was kicking a door down instead of blowing it up. Within eight months of the invasion, the 82nd had killed about 100 civilians in the area and lost control of Falluja, leaving it to the US marines to try and retake the city last April. After killing about 600 civilians, the marines retreated, leaving the city in the hands of 18 armed groups, including tribesmen, Islamists, Ba’athists, former criminals and an assortment of non-Iraqi Arab fighters said to be led by the Jordanian, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.

Graham notes:

Recently, a Bush administration official told the New York Times the bombing was driving a wedge between the citizenry and the non-Iraqi fighters. If, indeed, the civilian population is being bombed for this end, this is a grave war crime.

He then gives specific instances in which he was involved in which the Americans were in violation of the Geneva Conventions.

There are at least two points to be made. The United States of America was founded, as set out in the Declaration of Independence, on the principle of the rule of law, for what else is a “decent respect for the opinion of mankind”? Justice must prevail, and crimes must be prosecuted in the humanities struggle against terrorism.

Postscript/Expanation:
Fair dinkum, I was tired when I wrote this. Hence the glaring spelling mistake, and even worse English than has become the norm here. I had my blog already for publishing, with newspaper lying over the keyboard, when pressing down on the newspaper wiped out the lot. This rewrite was done through the haze of tiredness.

ECONOMICS AND HISTORY? October 26, 2004

Posted by wmmbb in Uncategorized.
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Perhaps, as in the case of the recent revelation relating to my family background, history might begin with dates, but it does not stop with them. My paternal forebears left England at the time of the 1870’s Agricultural Depression. Depressions are economic events and presumably have economic explanations. I have found a description and explanation of the 1873 English Agricultural Depression, but am not sure what to make of it. Perhaps, it might be put in the realm of interesting speculation. Here it an extract from a longer extract:

The Great Depression of 1873

However, as a direct consequence of this British free trade transformation, a deep economic depression began by the early 1870’s in England following a financial panic. The Free Trade doctrine had been premised on the assumption that British influence could ensure that same dogma would become economic policy in all of the world’s major trading nations. That homogeneity was never achieved.

Following a severe London banking panic in 1857, the City of London banking establishment, including the directors of the Bank of England, resolved on a novel device intended to prevent future outflows of gold from London banks. The Panic of 1857 had resulted from a foreign run on the international gold reserves held by the Bank of England. The run collapsed bank credit in the City and across the country. In response to the crisis, the English authorities devised a policy which resulted in a simple, if dangerous, evolution of central bank practice.

The Bank of England, a private holding controlled not by the Government at the time, but rather by the financial interests of the City, realized that if it merely raised its central bank discount or interest rate to a sufficiently high level, relative to rates in competing trading countries, which might be draining Britain’s gold reserves at any time, then the drain would cease, and, if rates were driven sufficiently high, gold would eventually flow back into the banks of the City of London from Berlin, New York, Paris, or Moscow.



This interest rate policy was a powerful weapon in central banking, which gave the Bank of England a decisive advantage over rivals. No matter that the usuriously high interest rates created devastating depressions in British manufacture or agriculture. The {p. 17} dominant faction in British economic policy, increasingly after the 1846 Corn Laws repeal, was not industry or agriculture, but finance and international trade. In order to ensure the supremacy of British international banking, those bankers were willing to sacrifice domestic industry and investment, much as happened in the United States after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in the 1960’s.

But the consequences of this new Bank of England interest rate policy for British industry came home with a vengeance when the Great Depression hit Britain in 1873, and lasted until 1896. Beginning with a financial crisis in the English banking world, as the pyramid of foreign lending for railway construction to the Americas, North and South, collapsed, the British Empire entered what was then called The Great Depression. Reflecting the rising unemployment and industrial bankruptcies of that depression, British prices collapsed by almost 50% in nominal terms, in an unbroken fall from 1873 to 1896. Unemployment became widespread.

The lack of capital investment into British manufactures was already evident at the International Exhibition of 1867. Products from entirely new manufactures of machinery, even textiles from Germany and elsewhere, clearly overshadowed the stagnant technological levels of British manufacturing, the world leader only two decades earlier. British exports of iron, steel, coal, and other products declined in this period. It was a turning point in British history which signalled that the onset of “free trade” some three decades earlier, with repeal of the Corn Laws, had doomed English industrial technology to decadance in order for financial interests to assume supremacy in the affairs of the Empire.

The period of Britain’s easy leadership among the world’s industrial nations was clearly over by the 1890’s.

The free trade dogma of 19th Century British Empire, and its Malthusian rationalizations, were doomed to fail eventually. Its foundation was cannibalization of the economies of increasing parts of the globe in order to survive. Only a quarter century after the repeal of the Corn Laws, the British Empire sank into the worst and longest economic depression of its history. After 1873, British efforts to spread the virus of the “English Disease,” Adam Smith’s “cosmopolitan economic model” of absolute free trade, became markedly less successful.




Nations of Continental Europe, led by {p. 18} Germany, initiated a series of national economic protectionist measures, which allowed them to unleash the most dramatic rates of industrial growth seen in the past 200 years. This set the stage for a new debate within the British elite over how to maintain Empire and power in a rapidly changing world. The geopolitics of petroleum was introduced into this debate in 1882. Now it was a debate on how to maintain British naval supremacy.

Extract from: The new English edition of A Century of War: Anglo-American Oil Politics and the New World Order was released in September 2004 by Pluto Press Ltd in London.

The new edition takes in the geopolitics of Washington and Anglo-American policy in the Post Cold War era.

F. William Engdahl, A Century of War: Anglo-American Oil Politics and the New World Order

Title of the 1992 German Edition: Mit der Olwaffe zur Weltmacht, der Weg zur neuen Weltordnung.

1st English edition published 1993.




The economic analysis suggested here places the repeal of the Corn Laws as critical to the depression in Ireland and England. The repeal of the Corn Laws, or so it alleged, reflected the power of the financial interests. The few became very rich and the real British economy was destroyed diminished.

ECONOMICS AND HISTORY? October 25, 2004

Posted by wmmbb in Modern History.
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Perhaps, as in the case of the recent revelation relating to my family background, history might begin with dates, but it does not stop with them. My paternal forebears left England at the time of the 1870’s Agricultural Depression. Depressions are economic events and presumably have economic explanations. I have found a description and explanation of the 1873 English Agricultural Depression, but am not sure what to make of it. Perhaps, it might be put in the realm of interesting speculation. Here it an extract from a longer extract:

The Great Depression of 1873

However, as a direct consequence of this British free trade transformation, a deep economic depression began by the early 1870’s in England following a financial panic. The Free Trade doctrine had been premised on the assumption that British influence could ensure that same dogma would become economic policy in all of the world’s major trading nations. That homogeneity was never achieved.

Following a severe London banking panic in 1857, the City of London banking establishment, including the directors of the Bank of England, resolved on a novel device intended to prevent future outflows of gold from London banks. The Panic of 1857 had resulted from a foreign run on the international gold reserves held by the Bank of England. The run collapsed bank credit in the City and across the country. In response to the crisis, the English authorities devised a policy which resulted in a simple, if dangerous, evolution of central bank practice.

The Bank of England, a private holding controlled not by the Government at the time, but rather by the financial interests of the City, realized that if it merely raised its central bank discount or interest rate to a sufficiently high level, relative to rates in competing trading countries, which might be draining Britain’s gold reserves at any time, then the drain would cease, and, if rates were driven sufficiently high, gold would eventually flow back into the banks of the City of London from Berlin, New York, Paris, or Moscow.

This interest rate policy was a powerful weapon in central banking, which gave the Bank of England a decisive advantage over rivals. No matter that the usuriously high interest rates created devastating depressions in British manufacture or agriculture. The {p. 17} dominant faction in British economic policy, increasingly after the 1846 Corn Laws repeal, was not industry or agriculture, but finance and international trade. In order to ensure the supremacy of British international banking, those bankers were willing to sacrifice domestic industry and investment, much as happened in the United States after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in the 1960’s.

But the consequences of this new Bank of England interest rate policy for British industry came home with a vengeance when the Great Depression hit Britain in 1873, and lasted until 1896. Beginning with a financial crisis in the English banking world, as the pyramid of foreign lending for railway construction to the Americas, North and South, collapsed, the British Empire entered what was then called The Great Depression. Reflecting the rising unemployment and industrial bankruptcies of that depression, British prices collapsed by almost 50% in nominal terms, in an unbroken fall from 1873 to 1896. Unemployment became widespread.

The lack of capital investment into British manufactures was already evident at the International Exhibition of 1867. Products from entirely new manufactures of machinery, even textiles from Germany and elsewhere, clearly overshadowed the stagnant technological levels of British manufacturing, the world leader only two decades earlier. British exports of iron, steel, coal, and other products declined in this period. It was a turning point in British history which signalled that the onset of “free trade” some three decades earlier, with repeal of the Corn Laws, had doomed English industrial technology to decadance in order for financial interests to assume supremacy in the affairs of the Empire.

The period of Britain’s easy leadership among the world’s industrial nations was clearly over by the 1890’s.
The free trade dogma of 19th Century British Empire, and its Malthusian rationalizations, were doomed to fail eventually. Its foundation was cannibalization of the economies of increasing parts of the globe in order to survive. Only a quarter century after the repeal of the Corn Laws, the British Empire sank into the worst and longest economic depression of its history. After 1873, British efforts to spread the virus of the “English Disease,” Adam Smith’s “cosmopolitan economic model” of absolute free trade, became markedly less successful.


Nations of Continental Europe, led by {p. 18} Germany, initiated a series of national economic protectionist measures, which allowed them to unleash the most dramatic rates of industrial growth seen in the past 200 years. This set the stage for a new debate within the British elite over how to maintain Empire and power in a rapidly changing world. The geopolitics of petroleum was introduced into this debate in 1882. Now it was a debate on how to maintain British naval supremacy.

Extract from: The new English edition of A Century of War: Anglo-American Oil Politics and the New World Order was released in September 2004 by Pluto Press Ltd in London.
The new edition takes in the geopolitics of Washington and Anglo-American policy in the Post Cold War era.

F. William Engdahl, A Century of War: Anglo-American Oil Politics and the New World Order
Title of the 1992 German Edition: Mit der Olwaffe zur Weltmacht, der Weg zur neuen Weltordnung.
1st English edition published 1993.

The economic analysis suggested here places the repeal of the Corn Laws as critical to the depression in Ireland and England. The repeal of the Corn Laws, or so it alleged, reflected the power of the financial interests. The few became very rich and the real British economy was destroyed diminished.

BLEAK HOUSE October 24, 2004

Posted by wmmbb in Uncategorized.
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There are many things of which I know very little, not least from where my family came and why. For me, at least family history is always like placing a toe in the more general history of social policy and social forces that lead, for example, to the rupture of immigration.

We are immigrant nations – Australia, New Zealand, Argentina, Canada, Brazil, Chile, and the United States. Many of us do not understand our own past, let alone appreciate the dislocation that the impress of peoples from the across the seas caused to the native populations.

The causes of the Agricultural Depression of the 1870’s in England and Scotland, and before that the Potato Famine in Ireland and the clearing of the Highlands were all causes for the reasons for the Anglo-Celtic immigration to often distant, remote, and sometimes harsh environments on the otherside of the globe. East Anglia, for example, was among the leaders of agricultural innovation and by 1870 school children were singing, The Emigrant Ship”.

At Wickham St Paul, in 1874, the schoolchildren sang ‘The Emigrant Ship’ to the schools inspector. A poignant illustration of the way that, by then, Emigration had become part of the culture, in a rural population that Britain no longer wanted. The steady stream of emigrants from East Anglia to Canada, Australia, The United States and New Zealand became a vast flood of hopeful humanity as Victoria’s reign progressed, fleeing a homeland without jobs or prospects. As in Ireland, the collapse of the agricultural economy brought about by cheap imports was not compensated by a rise in industry. The Industrial Revolution passed East Anglia by and the countryside slid into a recession that was to last eighty years -The Foxearth & District Local History Society

Humphrey Clarke in his article, The Song of the Emigrant Ship – Emigration from Rural East Anglia, with the above quote. He goes on to make the following opening observations:

East Anglia, comprising the three eastern counties of Essex, Suffolk and Norfolk, was for centuries the crucible of agricultural advancement in Britain, but it was hard hit by the devastation of the agricultural sector after the Napoleonic wars. To make matters worse, the cottage spinning and plaiting industries collapsed around the same period. Such was the unemployment, and consequent disorder, that parish authorities were forced to explore the possibilities of assisted passages to deal with the rural unemployed. Emigration increased throughout the 1830s and became widely popularised after 1850.

The 1870’s and 1880’s saw extensive rural depopulation as people migrated to urban and industrial areas, with significant numbers choosing to move overseas to the USA, Canada and Australia.

English emigration is not a fashionable subject for historians. Studies of rural Britain commonly concentrate on internal migration. Those that do touch on overseas emigration focus on the 1830s and the New Poor Law debate, of which East Anglia was an important element. Most studies ignore emigration in the second half of the century completely. An analysis of mass movement in Britain suffers from the fact that the British government largely lost interest in emigration in the 1850s, before the large scale emigration of the 1880s. During the peak of emigration in the late 19th century, virtually no data was collected and the figures that do exist are inaccurate and unreliable.

What can be said about East Anglia, might also apply to other agricultural regions, such as Hampshire.

Those who stayed behind, or could not emigrate often suffered from harst social policies. Since I know my forebears came from Preston Candover, Hampshire, I could search for other evidence. Prisons at least keep good records, and the description of “agricultural labourer’ is common amond these inmates. And then I notice that Kate, Annie and Edward are all scholars, and no more than that ten years old, yet still inmates.

This provides a new insight for me into the concept of mateship, and reminds me that today there are still children, whose parents bravely did make the trip to escape in the hope of a better life, locked up in prisons today in remote parts of Australia.

BLEAK HOUSE October 24, 2004

Posted by wmmbb in Modern History.
add a comment

There are many things of which I know very little, not least from where my family came and why. For me, at least family history is always like placing a toe in the more general history of social policy and social forces that lead, for example, to the rupture of immigration.

We are immigrant nations – Australia, New Zealand, Argentina, Canada, Brazil, Chile, and the United States. Many of us do not understand our own past, let alone appreciate the dislocation that the impress of peoples from the across the seas caused to the native populations.

The causes of the Agricultural Depression of the 1870’s in England and Scotland, and before that the Potato Famine in Ireland and the clearing of the Highlands were all causes for the reasons for the Anglo-Celtic immigration to often distant, remote, and sometimes harsh environments on the otherside of the globe. East Anglia, for example, was among the leaders of agricultural innovation and by 1870 school children were singing, The Emigrant Ship”.

At Wickham St Paul, in 1874, the schoolchildren sang ‘The Emigrant Ship’ to the schools inspector. A poignant illustration of the way that, by then, Emigration had become part of the culture, in a rural population that Britain no longer wanted. The steady stream of emigrants from East Anglia to Canada, Australia, The United States and New Zealand became a vast flood of hopeful humanity as Victoria’s reign progressed, fleeing a homeland without jobs or prospects. As in Ireland, the collapse of the agricultural economy brought about by cheap imports was not compensated by a rise in industry. The Industrial Revolution passed East Anglia by and the countryside slid into a recession that was to last eighty years -The Foxearth & District Local History Society

Humphrey Clarke in his article, The Song of the Emigrant Ship – Emigration from Rural East Anglia, with the above quote. He goes on to make the following opening observations:

East Anglia, comprising the three eastern counties of Essex, Suffolk and Norfolk, was for centuries the crucible of agricultural advancement in Britain, but it was hard hit by the devastation of the agricultural sector after the Napoleonic wars. To make matters worse, the cottage spinning and plaiting industries collapsed around the same period. Such was the unemployment, and consequent disorder, that parish authorities were forced to explore the possibilities of assisted passages to deal with the rural unemployed. Emigration increased throughout the 1830s and became widely popularised after 1850.

The 1870’s and 1880’s saw extensive rural depopulation as people migrated to urban and industrial areas, with significant numbers choosing to move overseas to the USA, Canada and Australia.

English emigration is not a fashionable subject for historians. Studies of rural Britain commonly concentrate on internal migration. Those that do touch on overseas emigration focus on the 1830s and the New Poor Law debate, of which East Anglia was an important element. Most studies ignore emigration in the second half of the century completely. An analysis of mass movement in Britain suffers from the fact that the British government largely lost interest in emigration in the 1850s, before the large scale emigration of the 1880s. During the peak of emigration in the late 19th century, virtually no data was collected and the figures that do exist are inaccurate and unreliable.

What can be said about East Anglia, might also apply to other agricultural regions, such as Hampshire.

Those who stayed behind, or could not emigrate often suffered from harst social policies. Since I know my forebears came from Preston Candover, Hampshire, I could search for other evidence. Prisons at least keep good records, and the description of “agricultural labourer’ is common amond these inmates. And then I notice that Kate, Annie and Edward are all scholars, and no more than that ten years old, yet still inmates.

This provides a new insight for me into the concept of mateship, and reminds me that today there are still children, whose parents bravely did make the trip to escape in the hope of a better life, locked up in prisons today in remote parts of Australia.

US ELECTION PREDICTION October 24, 2004

Posted by wmmbb in Uncategorized.
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Accurate prediction is a test of theory. While discussing eleven swing states, including Colorado, Iowa and New Hampshire, the NYT distills the result down to three.

The starting assumption of both campaigns is that whomever wins two out of the top three – Florida, Pennsylvania and Ohio – will win the presidency.

In all three states, the critical factor in deciding who will win will be turnout, and perhaps, although not mentioned the vagaries of the State supervised and partisan controlled electoral systems.

But in places like Florida – arguably the most competitive of the 11 – minds seem so made up that the outcome is almost surely going to be a function of turnout and voter registration. And for all the talk of speeches, issues and conflicting perceptions of these two men, the power of get-out-the-vote operations that both sides have spent two years putting together may well prove to be the single most important factor in determining who is the next president.

“Pennsylvania remains a tight race with Kerry having a slight edge, but it’s just down to turnout now,” said Terry Madonna, a political scientist at Franklin and Marshall College.

Eric Rademacher, a political scientist at the University of Cincinnati, said, “Our most recent polls show a dead heat,” and he added that for all of the advertising money, campaign appearances and attention poured into Ohio this year, “it will still come down to ground-force execution.”

“I don’t think there is anything the candidates can do at this point to try to change minds,” Mr. Rademacher said. Even the arrival of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger of California in Ohio next week on behalf of Mr. Bush might have little effect, he said, because “we’ve passed the level of saturation.”

The respective spin doctors for the contending candidates do have theories about how the election will be won. For Bush and the Republicans, Karl Rove says:

“We will basically be talking about who will win the war on terror, who will make America safer and who will lead the effort to reform our government . . .”

There is more about Karl Rove (aka Bush’s Brain), and the methods of modern campaigning, which I suggest we saw evidence of in the Australian general election. I am concerned, Karl’s attention to detail and reliance of regression analysis does not imply to me a full commitment, which I would otherwise expect, to the faith-based community.

And not to be outdone, Kerry and the Democrats have their “senior advisers”, as described in sanitized style by the NYT, too.

Bob Shrum, a senior adviser to Mr. Kerry, said Mr. Bush had been “reduced to a one-note-Johnny” campaign. He said Mr. Kerry would respond by challenging Mr. Bush’s management of the war in Iraq, promising a new direction for the country to put a new emphasis on solving its domestic problems.

“John Kerry has a fundamental argument that we need a president who can defend the country and fight for the middle class,” Mr. Shrum said. “Bush can only talk to one half of that equation.”

For those of us who require a primer on the US electoral system, this can be found at the BBC with a Q&A about swing states, and pop-up state by state analysis.

So given my acknowledged ignorance, and having my membership of the faith-based community turned due to, among a host of other considerations, my failure to predict the Australian election, I cannot enter into the prediction stakes. Still it seems to me that everybody who can vote, will be encouraged to attempt to vote, in Florida and elsewhere, and we might expect these provisional votes to be challenged post polling day, given especially Rove’s track record relating to these matters, and that the concentration on key swing states might indirectly deter some voters in other states producing the odd surprise.

Nevertheless, Tim Dunlop is the man on the ground and it is indicating that the anti-Kerry campaign is working fine and the lies just keep on coming. So where is the media, and what is its proper role in a liberal democracy? Brad De Long concludes the press lets them get away with it.

Luckily, we are well served, at least post change to cross media ownership, by newspapers such as this article in the SMH which tell us all we ever needed to know about the American democratic exercise – the presidential election. Even I, an acknowledged disbeliever, and refused member of the faith-based community, despite all my hope-based predictions and wishful thinking, can understand this message – and shake in my shoes:

Mr Bush, making stops in three toss-up states, gave a speech in which he portrayed Senator Kerry as part of a “far-left minority” whose policies would undermine American families and potentially threaten US national security.

“The outcome of this election will set the direction of the war against terror, and in this war there is no place for confusion and no substitute for victory,” Mr Bush told a crowd in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania

UPDATE: 24/10/2004

1. Contrapositive has the hour by hour countdown to the Presidential result. All I know from the presidential debates is that 9pm EST is equivalent to 11am AET (Sydney, Melbourne) and we will be one day ahead. This reference was sourced at <a href=”http://www.blogger.com/app/The Road to Surfdom and Crooked Timber.

2. Chris Sheil has a full range of polls, and the confident prediction of Hunter S Thompson. Given my experience in the Federal Election, I am an agnostic in relation to polls and predictions. It is not that I feel rejected when the faith-based community reject my application, rather ashamed that I should be applying.

3. New Hampshire, New Mexico and Colorado will not make a difference, unless the the electoral college number are very close indeed. Wisconsin, Minnesota and Iowa have between something like 27 votes, which is equivalent to one Florida, so on that basis they are not insignificant.

UPDATE: 29/10/2004

Kevin Drum has an election prediction: Kerry – 272/Bush -266. He also has a nice red and blue map here

US ELECTION PREDICTION October 24, 2004

Posted by wmmbb in US Politics.
add a comment

Accurate prediction is a test of theory. While discussing eleven swing states, including Colorado, Iowa and New Hampshire, the NYT distills the result down to three.

The starting assumption of both campaigns is that whomever wins two out of the top three – Florida, Pennsylvania and Ohio – will win the presidency.

In all three states, the critical factor in deciding who will win will be turnout, and perhaps, although not mentioned the vagaries of the State supervised and partisan controlled electoral systems.

But in places like Florida – arguably the most competitive of the 11 – minds seem so made up that the outcome is almost surely going to be a function of turnout and voter registration. And for all the talk of speeches, issues and conflicting perceptions of these two men, the power of get-out-the-vote operations that both sides have spent two years putting together may well prove to be the single most important factor in determining who is the next president.

“Pennsylvania remains a tight race with Kerry having a slight edge, but it’s just down to turnout now,” said Terry Madonna, a political scientist at Franklin and Marshall College.

Eric Rademacher, a political scientist at the University of Cincinnati, said, “Our most recent polls show a dead heat,” and he added that for all of the advertising money, campaign appearances and attention poured into Ohio this year, “it will still come down to ground-force execution.”

“I don’t think there is anything the candidates can do at this point to try to change minds,” Mr. Rademacher said. Even the arrival of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger of California in Ohio next week on behalf of Mr. Bush might have little effect, he said, because “we’ve passed the level of saturation.”

The respective spin doctors for the contending candidates do have theories about how the election will be won. For Bush and the Republicans, Karl Rove says:

“We will basically be talking about who will win the war on terror, who will make America safer and who will lead the effort to reform our government . . .”

There is more about Karl Rove (aka Bush’s Brain), and the methods of modern campaigning, which I suggest we saw evidence of in the Australian general election. I am concerned, Karl’s attention to detail and reliance of regression analysis does not imply to me a full commitment, which I would otherwise expect, to the faith-based community.

And not to be outdone, Kerry and the Democrats have their “senior advisers”, as described in sanitized style by the NYT, too.

Bob Shrum, a senior adviser to Mr. Kerry, said Mr. Bush had been “reduced to a one-note-Johnny” campaign. He said Mr. Kerry would respond by challenging Mr. Bush’s management of the war in Iraq, promising a new direction for the country to put a new emphasis on solving its domestic problems.

“John Kerry has a fundamental argument that we need a president who can defend the country and fight for the middle class,” Mr. Shrum said. “Bush can only talk to one half of that equation.”

For those of us who require a primer on the US electoral system, this can be found at the BBC with a Q&A about swing states, and pop-up state by state analysis.

So given my acknowledged ignorance, and having my membership of the faith-based community turned due to, among a host of other considerations, my failure to predict the Australian election, I cannot enter into the prediction stakes. Still it seems to me that everybody who can vote, will be encouraged to attempt to vote, in Florida and elsewhere, and we might expect these provisional votes to be challenged post polling day, given especially Rove’s track record relating to these matters, and that the concentration on key swing states might indirectly deter some voters in other states producing the odd surprise.

Nevertheless, Tim Dunlop is the man on the ground and it is indicating that the anti-Kerry campaign is working fine and the lies just keep on coming. So where is the media, and what is its proper role in a liberal democracy? Brad De Long concludes the press lets them get away with it.

Luckily, we are well served, at least post change to cross media ownership, by newspapers such as this article in the SMH which tell us all we ever needed to know about the American democratic exercise – the presidential election. Even I, an acknowledged disbeliever, and refused member of the faith-based community, despite all my hope-based predictions and wishful thinking, can understand this message – and shake in my shoes:

Mr Bush, making stops in three toss-up states, gave a speech in which he portrayed Senator Kerry as part of a “far-left minority” whose policies would undermine American families and potentially threaten US national security.

“The outcome of this election will set the direction of the war against terror, and in this war there is no place for confusion and no substitute for victory,” Mr Bush told a crowd in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania

UPDATE: 24/10/2004

1. Contrapositive has the hour by hour countdown to the Presidential result. All I know from the presidential debates is that 9pm EST is equivalent to 11am AET (Sydney, Melbourne) and we will be one day ahead. This reference was sourced at The Road to Surfdom and Crooked Timber.

2. Chris Sheil has a full range of polls, and the confident prediction of Hunter S Thompson. Given my experience in the Federal Election, I am an agnostic in relation to polls and predictions. It is not that I feel rejected when the faith-based community reject my application, rather ashamed that I should be applying.

3. New Hampshire, New Mexico and Colorado will not make a difference, unless the the electoral college number are very close indeed. Wisconsin, Minnesota and Iowa have between something like 27 votes, which is equivalent to one Florida, so on that basis they are not insignificant.

UPDATE: 29/10/2004

Kevin Drum has an election prediction: Kerry – 272/Bush -266. He also has a nice red and blue map here

GUANTANAMO DEVELOPMENTS October 23, 2004

Posted by wmmbb in Uncategorized.
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The miscarriage of the judicial process related to the military commission at Guantanamo Bay continues. The trials of David Hicks and others are programmed to go ahead, despite the loss of credibility of the trial process. The detainees can be expected to be convicted, and seemingly that is what the military commission process has been designed to do.

Nonetheless there are two recent developments that while not deterring this outcome will sure serve to detract the already tainted pretense of fairness and impartiality:

1. The number of officers sitting on the commission has been reduced from six to three. The decision to reduce the numbers was made by a Pentagon official, John Altenburg – they seem to make the rules up as they go along. Two officers were judged to be too closely involved in the American operations in Afghanistan and the transfer of the detainees to Guantanamo, and the other was “too emotional” having described the detainees as “terrorists”. The BBC report was unable to report the names of these officers, but it was no trouble for the AP or Reuters as reported in the NYT.

John Altenberg, the retired army Major-General who is overseeing the trial process wrote <a href=”http://www.blogger.com/app/a 25 page report to support his decision. There is reasonable doubt about the impartiality of the remaining panel members:

Remaining on the commission is Army Col. Peter E. Brownback, the presiding officer, whose presence was challenged both by defense lawyers and prosecutors. He worked with Altenburg in Fort Bragg, N.C., spoke at a retirement roast for Altenburg and attended the wedding of Altenburg’s son. His wife worked in Altenburg’s office. Joining Brownback is Marine Col. Jack K. Sparks Jr. He lost a reservist who was working as a firefighter in the Sept. 11 attack on New York City. Sparks attended the man’s funeral and visited the site of the former World Trade Center. The third commission kept on is Air Force Col. Christopher Bogdan, the only one not challenged by lawyers. He armed drone planes with Hellfire missiles during the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and was praised in a staff evaluation for his “fantastic results tracking and killing Taliban.” Altenburg found that his relationship with Brownback did not prejudice Brownback or the trial process, and that Sparks’ experiences did not make him biased.



Altenberg who seems to be caught up in a process that is flawed.

2. This conclusion is supported by the second development, the SMH reported a US Judge had dismissed the Government’s case and insisted that the detainees be given access to lawyers with legal confidentiality preserved.

The decision, which will have implications for the two Australians, David Hicks and Mamdouh Habib, was handed down by US District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly. Calling the US Government’s case “flimsy”, the judge accused it of trying to erode the “bedrock” principle of legal professional privilege, which guarantees the secrecy of communications between lawyers and their clients.

The very fact that American Judges are making decisions affecting the course of developments at Guantanamo is significant in itself. One supposes that the legal remedies available to the defence lawyers has not yet been exhausted.

Spokespeople for the Australian Government continue with the assurances that there will be a fair and transparent trial process. And, of course, Bush in the presidential debates promoted himself as protecting Americans from the iniquitous World Criminal Court. Contradictions would only be of interest to the “reality- based community”. The faith based group around Bush believe whatever they choose. Plainly, the issue of legality and morality goes to the core of the terrorist issue, for those who would commit crimes against humanity, as much as those who would seek to follow the processes of justice.

UPDATE: 23/10/2004

You may be interested to know that the International Court of Justice (ICC) has its own website. It is suggested that it is not doing much, but that depends on the participation of the global community through the respective nation states. What is so wrong with a world government anyway, or how else might the general welfare of humanity be best promoted?

GUANTANAMO DEVELOPMENTS October 23, 2004

Posted by wmmbb in Terrorism Issues.
add a comment

The miscarriage of the judicial process related to the military commission at Guantanamo Bay continues. The trials of David Hicks and others are programmed to go ahead, despite the loss of credibility of the trial process. The detainees can be expected to be convicted, and seemingly that is what the military commission process has been designed to do.

Nonetheless there are two recent developments that while not deterring this outcome will sure serve to detract the already tainted pretense of fairness and impartiality:

1. The number of officers sitting on the commission has been reduced from six to three. The decision to reduce the numbers was made by a Pentagon official, John Altenburg – they seem to make the rules up as they go along. Two officers were judged to be too closely involved in the American operations in Afghanistan and the transfer of the detainees to Guantanamo, and the other was “too emotional” having described the detainees as “terrorists”. The BBC report was unable to report the names of these officers, but it was no trouble for the AP or Reuters as reported in the NYT.

John Altenberg, the retired army Major-General who is overseeing the trial process wrote a 25 page report to support his decision. There is reasonable doubt about the impartiality of the remaining panel members:

Remaining on the commission is Army Col. Peter E. Brownback, the presiding officer, whose presence was challenged both by defense lawyers and prosecutors. He worked with Altenburg in Fort Bragg, N.C., spoke at a retirement roast for Altenburg and attended the wedding of Altenburg’s son. His wife worked in Altenburg’s office. Joining Brownback is Marine Col. Jack K. Sparks Jr. He lost a reservist who was working as a firefighter in the Sept. 11 attack on New York City. Sparks attended the man’s funeral and visited the site of the former World Trade Center. The third commission kept on is Air Force Col. Christopher Bogdan, the only one not challenged by lawyers. He armed drone planes with Hellfire missiles during the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and was praised in a staff evaluation for his “fantastic results tracking and killing Taliban.” Altenburg found that his relationship with Brownback did not prejudice Brownback or the trial process, and that Sparks’ experiences did not make him biased.

Altenberg who seems to be caught up in a process that is flawed.

2. This conclusion is supported by the second development, the SMH reported a US Judge had dismissed the Government’s case and insisted that the detainees be given access to lawyers with legal confidentiality preserved.

The decision, which will have implications for the two Australians, David Hicks and Mamdouh Habib, was handed down by US District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly. Calling the US Government’s case “flimsy”, the judge accused it of trying to erode the “bedrock” principle of legal professional privilege, which guarantees the secrecy of communications between lawyers and their clients.

The very fact that American Judges are making decisions affecting the course of developments at Guantanamo is significant in itself. One supposes that the legal remedies available to the defence lawyers has not yet been exhausted.
Spokespeople for the Australian Government continue with the assurances that there will be a fair and transparent trial process. And, of course, Bush in the presidential debates promoted himself as protecting Americans from the iniquitous World Criminal Court. Contradictions would only be of interest to the “reality- based community”. The faith based group around Bush believe whatever they choose. Plainly, the issue of legality and morality goes to the core of the terrorist issue, for those who would commit crimes against humanity, as much as those who would seek to follow the processes of justice.

UPDATE: 23/10/2004
You may be interested to know that the International Court of Justice (ICC) has its own website. It is suggested that it is not doing much, but that depends on the participation of the global community through the respective nation states. What is so wrong with a world government anyway, or how else might the general welfare of humanity be best promoted?

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