Daily archives: August 7, 2009

Headingley Blues

This is almost the first morning I have had time to sit down and really pay attention to a morning’s play in the Ashes. So far it has been pretty disastrous for England.

The last ball of the 20th over, Cook left a ball from Johnson that passed four inches outside his off stump. He is the only batsman who has shown any kind of judgement. Strauss, Bopara and Collingwood were all out playing at balls well outside the off stump which they should have left alone in the first few overs of a test match. That England’s top order should have some idea where their off stump is, seems to me not too much to ask of well paid professionals.

The Australian bowling has had the discipline which the English batting lacks. It has not been brilliant, and there has been little movement off the seam and little swing. The wicket looks like a belter and the skies are clearing completely. England should have been giving Australia’s four man attack a very hard day.

It is very difficult not to go into grumpy old man mode, and opine that an excess of childish cricket formats have lobotomised Test match temperament out of the English batsmen.

Cook has gone while I am typing. We have to hope that Stuart Broad’s career is going to follow the example of Bob Woolmer, who started as a bowler who could bat a bit, and ended up as a genuine Test opener.

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Blackwater Boss Prince Accused of Murder, Gun Smuggling and Hatred of Muslims

Several people have emailed me to call my attention to this article in The Nation, which is well worth reading – I particularly recommend you to follow the links and read the affidavits themselves.

A former Blackwater employee and an ex-US Marine who has worked as a security operative for the company have made a series of explosive allegations in sworn statements filed on August 3 in federal court in Virginia. The two men claim that the company’s owner, Erik Prince, may have murdered or facilitated the murder of individuals who were cooperating with federal authorities investigating the company. The former employee also alleges that Prince “views himself as a Christian crusader tasked with eliminating Muslims and the Islamic faith from the globe,” and that Prince’s companies “encouraged and rewarded the destruction of Iraqi life.”


These remain allegations, though they are consistent with a general picture of Blackwater and its operations. Mercenaries are, after all, killers for hire. They are paid murderers, no matter how they try to glamorise themselves. That their leaders are ruthless individuals is a matter of course. Sadly, bringing anyone associated with the rape of Iraq to justice is viewed as undesirable by both the Democratic and Republican establishments, so I expect Mr Prince is safe to enjoy his money, his passion for killing and his neo-Templar fantasies.

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