360 thoughts on “Back in Ghana

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  • somebody

    And Craig never even asked one of us to go too to carry his bags!

    Temp. Accra Ghana 27C

    Temp. London UK -1C

    I could have done with some sun. HRH QEII and Phil the Greek have been in Oman instead of their usual winter jaunt to the Caribbean. So too have Hague and Ffion. Nice one you bald little twerp.

    I expect you have heard that the change in Universal Jurisduction is being sneaked in via the Police Reform Act so that all the ConDem Zionist war criminals like Livni will be able to come and go freely without any fear of arrest.

    a~

    Foreign Secretary comments on universal jurisdiction

    Posted by David Sketchley on December 1, 2010, 11:26 pm (media lens)

    Foreign Secretary William Hague commented on the proposed amendment to the arrangements for obtaining arrest warrants in respect of universal jurisdiction.

    This is included in the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Bill which was presented to Parliament on 30 November 2010. Under the proposed change the consent of the Director of Public Prosecutions would be required before an arrest warrant could be issued to a private prosecutor in respect of an offence of universal jurisdiction.

    The Foreign Secretary said today:

    “The UK is committed to upholding international justice and all of our international obligations. Our core principle remains that those guilty of war crimes must be brought to justice.

    This government has been clear that the current arrangements for obtaining arrest warrants in respect of universal jurisdiction offences are an anomaly that allow the UK’s systems to be abused for political reasons. The proposed change is designed to correct these and ensure that people are not detained when there is no realistic chance of prosecution. It is now important that the amendment is considered by Parliament in line with normal constitutional practice.”

    http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/news/latest-news/?view=News&id=268996682

    As if the government didn’t have political reasons of its own, as the Wikileaks cablegate is now showing us. Hague is taking the p*ss. He’s mocking us, laughing in our faces.

    No realistic chance of prosecution? Please explain what you mean by that Mr. Hague.

    a~

    What hypocrisy. By the time the DPP has considered the request, s l o w l y, the criminals will have been and gone.

  • Ishmael

    Look, you invite scum into your house, Hague and Cameron are BIG friends of Israel. Cameron is a Zionist (his words) FFS whining on and on. Take to the streets and protest, but, the media will portray this as aggressive and against the public good. What are the chances betterment will arrive with bleating sheep. You need only look at the comments from the online media regarding Iran & North Korea to see the majority of posts are ignorant and brainwashed.

  • CheebaCow

    I just read one of the recently released wikileak docs, released yesterday (but largely inaccessible due to the DOSing). The title is: ‘ISRAEL, A PROMISED LAND FOR ORGANISED CRIME?’. Below are some quotes.

    “Organized crime (OC) has longstanding roots in Israel, but in recent years there has been a sharp increase in the reach and impact of OC networks.”

    “xxxxx told conoffs that the new style of crime features knowledge of hi-tech explosives acquired from service in the Israeli Defense Forces, and a willingness to use

    indiscriminate violence, at least against rival gang leaders. New OC business also includes technology-related crimes, such as stock

    market and credit card fraud, and operates on a global scale.”

    “The Abutbul family began its

    gambling business in Romania over a decade ago, and now owns the Europe-wide Casino Royale network. In 2002, Israeli OC turf wars spilled into Europe”

    “Israeli OC now plays a significant role in the global drug trade, providing both a local consumer market and an important transit point to Europe and the United States.”

    “The prostitution business has also grown beyond the

    neighborhood brothel. In March 2009, the INP arrested twelve suspects in what is believed to be the largest Israeli-led human trafficking network unearthed to date. Ring leader Rami Saban and

    his associates were charged with smuggling thousands of women from the former Soviet Union and forcing them to work as prostitutes in

    Israel, Cyprus, Belgium, and Great Britain.”

    “In December 2008, former Prime Minister Olmert himself

    admitted that efforts to combat OC have long been diluted among different agencies”

    “Given the recent change in government and the current economic crisis, there is public skepticism as to whether GOI promises to remedy the situation will be fulfilled. In 2003, following a failed assassination attempt on Rosenstein, then Prime Minister Ariel

    Sharon made similar promises to commit manpower and resources to combating the problem.”

    “It is not entirely clear to what extent OC elements have

    penetrated the Israeli establishment and corrupted public officials.”

    “The election of Inbal Gavrieli to the Knesset in 2003 as a member of Likud raised concerns about OC influence in the party’s Central Committee. Gavrieli is the daughter of a suspected crime boss, and she

    attempted to use her parliamentary immunity to block investigations into her father’s business.”

    “Just last month, Israeli politicos and OC figures came

    together for the funeral of Likud party activist Shlomi Oz, who served time in prison in the 1990s for extortion on behalf of the Alperon family. Among those in attendance was Omri Sharon, son of former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, who was himself convicted in

    2006 on illegal fundraising charges unrelated to OC.”

    “Israeli OC Operating Freely in United States”

    http://cablegate.wikileaks.org/cable/2009/05/09TELAVIV1098.html

    Sorry about the massive, copy/paste job, but I feel this document is worth it. This leak doesn’t exactly fit into the narrative that WL is a Zionist enterprise.

  • Suhayl Saadi

    Israeli organised crime – well, really, it’s a web of international organised crime in which Israel is a major node – is enormous. The fall of the USSR and consequent Russian influx into Israel post-1991 galvanised it globally (as did the Afghan War during the 1980s and that of now). As in Russia and Italy, major politicians are involved and the system is rotten to the core.

    In organised crime, there are no friends and no enemies, there are only deals, the biggest of which is known as the world economy. Organised crime is bigger than Oil and Gas put together. Organised crime developed globalisation and the web as we know it. In Sicilia, shopkeepers have to pay the pizzo. But we all now pay the pizzo. It is everywhere.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pizzo_(extortion)

  • dreoilin

    “WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange on Wednesday defended his disclosure of classified U.S. documents by singling out Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as an example of a world leader who believes the publications will aid global diplomacy.

    “We can see the Israeli Prime Minister [Benjamin] Netanyahu coming out with a very interesting statement that leaders should speak in public like they do in private whenever they can,” Assange told Time Magazine in an interview on Wednesday, days after his online whistleblower published thousands of secret diplomatic cables …

    “I just noticed today Iran has agreed to nuclear talks. Maybe that’s coincidence or maybe it’s coming out of this process, but it’s certainly not being canceled by this process,” he added.

    http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/wikileaks-founder-netanyahu-believes-expose-will-aid-mideast-peace-1.328380

    or

    http://tinyurl.com/36stc5x

    Is this getting very sniffy?

  • Clark

    Organised Crime (OC) – this was the point of my earlier comment about the denial of service (DDOS) attack upon WikiLeaks; DDOS is an OC technique. Likewise Stuxnet. There’s that recently released cable about Russian government convergence with organised crime. And even my other comment about telephone companies collecting premium rate call charges on behalf of internet scammers. Let’s not even mention drugs and weapons. Human trafficking and extraordinary rendition have similarities, too.

    There is no clear line between business and crime; it seems more like a spectrum.

  • Vronksy

    “Is this getting very sniffy?”

    Like Suhayl, I haven’t made up my mnd about Wikileaks, although I’m suspicious (not very meaningful, as I’m suspicious of everything). I’m puzzled at the non sequitur of some media comment, notably on BBC news, where some pundits seem to be arguing that it was fine so long as all the anxious chatter about Iran was secret, but now that it is out in the open, Something Will Have To Be Done. Wikileaks as casus belli?

    There’s more detailed commentary on specific leaks here:

    http://www.juancole.com/

  • Vronksy

    “There is no clear line between business and crime”

    Al Capone spoke wistfully of leaving his life of crime and getting into one of the ‘legit rackets’.

  • CheebaCow

    I know I have appeared to be the pro-WL guy in recent days. But honestly, I haven’t made up my mind. I have however been reading the anti-WL articles posted here by various people, and I haven’t found their arguments to be very convincing. I also think it’s unfair to state that WL must be an inside job based on how the media is spinning the leaks. The media can spin anything (I guess that’s why its called spin), if someone has published facts and those facts are misused, its the fault of those misusing them, not a fault of the original publisher. There are so many examples of good people making valuable statements and arguments only to have those with a negative agenda misuse the statements to further illegitimate aims.

  • Vronksy

    “if someone has published facts and those facts are misused”

    Often it’s possible to identify the intention of the original publisher as an antidote to any subsequent spin. I can’t identify any clear intention in Wikileaks. But usually (or in the past) the intention of a leak is quite clear. Wikileaks seems an undifferentiated flow of noise, with the obvious risk that different signals may be inferred.

  • shoddy handbags, ticking watches and deeply felt hats

    “But usually (or in the past) the intention of a leak is quite clear. Wikileaks seems an undifferentiated flow of noise, with the obvious risk that different signals may be inferred.”

    The intention seem to be to publish whatever people leak to them ? In which case, the website would indeed be an accumulation of intentions, different for each leaker, possibly at cross or unrelated purposes ? Life isn’t a soap-opera, the writers don’t get sacked if there isn’t a simple storyline.

  • Dave

    Here in the US, the right-wing media, which predominates, has whipped much of the public into a frenzy, calling for Assange to be arrested, or deported, or stripped of his citizenship (all of which are hilarious, as he’s not a citizen and doesn’t live here). They also want him tried for treason, which is also funny, since he’s not a citizen.

    Some lament he’s going to get away with this BECAUSE he’s not a citizen, apparently they’re forgetting our First Amendment protections, which would allow him to do what he’s doing.

    Crazy people like Palin want him assassinated, because he’s “attacking our troops.”

    Yet no one seems to be bothered about all the illegal activities on our government’s part displayed in the leaks.

    Has the world always been this crazy?

  • somebody

    Hague has just announced that Linda Norgrove died as a result of injuries (fragmentation injuries to the head and chest)sustained when a US grenade was used. That was denied originally of course. Yvette Cooper is making a creepy reply acknowledging the bravery! of the US special forces and condemning the Taliban for kidnapping her. Now we have Frank I Was There Gardner spouting off.

  • CheebaCow

    Paul:

    Pakistani Generals are a reliable source? The Pakistani army is hardly famous for their support of civil society and transparency. In fact the Pakistani army is one of the worst perpetrators of oppression against the poor and downtrodden.

    Vronsky:

    WL claims to publish any leak that they believe is not a fake. The claimed agenda is simply greater transparency. You can find out more about the various leaks over the last 4 years at (/en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikileaks#Leaks) and (wikileaks.org/about.html)

    I haven’t heard a single report that WL has refused to release a legitimate leak, and with today’s tech, it wouldn’t be hard to release the info without the aid of WL.

    I was also pondering the nature of WL last night, and realised the following. Even if WL were a CIA propaganda operation, it still doesn’t really make sense from a authoritarian perspective. That is because WL encourages and makes heroes of people leaking govt, business secrets. If you look at sites like reddit and slashdot (both powered by user submissions), they are overwhelmingly supportive of WL and the transparency they claim to promote. Surely the CIA or any other blackop group would realise that in the long term, creating a culture that promotes people thinking independently and breaking the law because of their conscious would be counter productive? I hope what I just wrote makes sense =P

  • Victor

    Amazon have booted Wikileaks off their hosting and now there’s a campaign to boycott Amazon. There’s an article about it in today’s Metro.

    It’ll be interesting to see how their Christmas sales figures fare over the Christmas period in Britain.

    They spy on us, now we spy on them. Listen to the piggies squeal.

  • Suhayl Saadi

    It makes perfect sense, CheebaCow at 1:43pm. If one looks at most of the pro-war brigade (we and they know who they are), one can see that they consistently are railing against Wikileaks for all kinds of largely overblown, spurious reasons.

    That’s different from the people – like me – who have doubts, aren’t certain, want to wait and see, etc.

    Now, it may be that this consonant symphony of neoconia and fellow-musicians has somehow been orchestrated, but even the CIA/SIS et al would find it quite difficult to get all these variegated personages all over the world to sing simultaneously from precisely the same, doubly disingenuous hymn-sheet simply in order to maintain the (in this construct) supposed ‘illusion’ that Wikileaks is genuinely anti-war, anti-Establishment, anti-whatever.

    It doesn’t mean that manipulation is not occurring. But that would occur with all information and in all situations.

    Nonetheless, as Ruth perhaps suggest at 2:06pm and as Ian Bell The Herald also indicated, I’ve yet to be told of a revelation that genuinely surprises me. Russia is run by the mafia; Saudi Arabia hates Iran; politicians in the USA/UK/Canada/everywhere lie; John Major called Michael Portillo a bastard (oh, sorry, that was last decade’s revelation); Israel hosts the Capo di Capo Re; the war on Iraq was profitable for Big Everything; CSIS tortures and harasses people, etc., etc. – but perhaps this simply means that my (and many others’) world-view vis a vis the MI Complex et al is more-or-less accurate (!)

    In other words, that the people who contribute to this blog and who are critical of power have been right all along.

    Not that one ought to feel smug; it means that the reality is probably even worse than our imaginings.

  • dreoilin

    I can’t follow what you just wrote, Suhayl, sorry. Were you agreeing or disagreeing with CheebaCow who said

    “Surely the CIA or any other blackop group would realise that in the long term, creating a culture that promotes people thinking independently and breaking the law because of their conscious would be counter productive?” ?

    I read Juan Cole’s blog, thanks Vronsky. I think I’m still waiting to see if anything really damaging comes out about the USA or Israel — given that the spying at the UN has been brushed off fairly quickly. And Netanyahu seems to think (or is claiming) that the whole exercise is good PR for Israel which he claims talks straight in private as well as in public!

    [I assume the Beeb will be blamed for the announcement just now that Russia will host the World Cup!?]

  • CheebaCow

    I think that people are perhaps expecting a bit too much from these leaks. They are fairly low level clearance and thus won’t reveal too many secrets (if any). It should also be noted that less than 600 of the 250,000 have actually been released so far. I think the real value in them is that the info is coming from the horses mouth . You can construct arguments from them without being labelled a crank for using non-mainstream sources.

    Any really explosive documents would have much stricter access, so a junior analyst such as Manning (only 22 years old) surely wouldn’t have access.

    Also I think a lot of information has always been known/available, it was just not reported in the press. For example in the run up to the recent Iraq war when everyone was going on about WMD, if you actually read the public UNSCOM reports, or even the statements of the US government from a few years earlier it was obvious there would be no WMD to be found. This info wasn’t top secret or speculated about only by extreme left dissidents, however it was completely ignored by the mainstream media.

    Anyway I have been sitting in front of computers all day long. It’s time for me to crash.

  • dreoilin

    Oh I forgot to add this:

    “A journalist working closely with WikiLeaks says that secret documents about the Vatican and the volatile territories of North Korea and Israel are to be made public soon.”

    Interview can be seen at the Telegraph here

    http://tinyurl.com/3ykr9vo

  • somebody

    Well the Russian mafia won. Abramovitch was grinning away like the proverbial Cheshire cat. I think I spotted Bill Clinton in the audience too. America was bidding for 2022 which Qatar won.

    Their bid included the new stadia they build being demolished after the games and then re-erected in the Third World. So much fossil fuel use is involved in all this jetting around, the construction of stadia, airports, roads, hotels etc and then for transporting the fans from around the world to the matches. As someone else said earlier, Cameron’s pre-election environmental credentials (Arctic sledges and huskies) seem to have gone out of the window.

    Q. Will there be any oil and other necessary resources left in 2018 and 2022 for these purposes? Similarly the Olympics in 2012 and then Rio in 2016.

  • alan campbell

    http://labour-uncut.co.uk/2010/12/02/6080/

    We don’t see it, but our arrogance stops us from listening

    by Peter Watt

    Understanding this year’s defeat is, as we all know, central to bouncing back electorally. A lot has been written about the need to listen and the need to reconnect to voters. And the launch of the policy consultations in Gillingham last weekend was an attempt to listen and learn the lessons of defeat.

    But there is an arrogance at the heart of our politics that is going to make it difficult to really understand why we lost. It is an arrogance that says that we alone own morality and that we alone want the best for people. It says that our instincts and our motives alone are pure. It’s an arrogance that belittles others’ fears and concerns as “isms” whilst raising ours as righteous. We then mistakenly define ourselves as being distinctive from our opponents because we are morally superior rather than because we have different diagnoses and solutions. It is lazy, wrong and politically dangerous.

    If you think that I am being harsh, just think about what we say about our opponents. We assume that they are all in it for themselves, that they are indifferent to the suffering of others. In fact, that they are quite happy to induce more suffering if it suits their malign ends. What we don’t think is that they may want the same things as us, but just have a different approach. Instead, we cast high-minded aspersions on their morality and humanity.

    Take the example of welfare policy. Listen to Labour and the assumption is that IDS wants to punish the poor, somehow that he gets off on increasing vulnerable people’s suffering. What we don’t think is that he wants to improve the lives of the poor but just doesn’t think that the current incarnation of the welfare state is the best way to achieve this. And yet, much of his programme is familiar to the last (Labour) government. Presumably our motives were pure, though.

    What about the heinous charge that they want to “ideologically shrink” the size of the state. We, of course, want to use the state to do good things for people. Their wanting to shrink it clearly indicates that they don’t want to do good things for people. Clearly, therefore, they are morally bankrupt. Well, perhaps not. Maybe they think that over-taxing people is wrong and that an over-reaching state is in itself bad for the same people that we want to help? I am not saying that I necessarily agree, but I am saying that it is a perfectly valid view and one that is not intrinsically immoral.

    But does it matter? Well, yes, I think that it does. Because our arrogance has the effect of stopping us listening. In fact, it is worse than that: we think that we are listening when many voters know that we are not. If we are honest, all too often we do believe that our version of the world is not just better than anyone else’s, but also more moral and in fact just plain right. It makes us believe that if people don’t agree with us then they are either less moral or need educating. Possibly both. It is how we dismiss the opinion polls which show people being concerned about things that we would rather they weren’t, like immigration and welfare abuse.

    We often don’t hear these concerns even when we say that we do. Our sense of moral outrage at the perceived underlying prejudice overrides all. I have heard people say that “we shouldn’t pander to people; we should be prepared to put them right”. Of course. I am sure that people will vote for us gratefully once we have put them right. That’s just what people have been waiting for. Really hearing these concerns doesn’t mean that we should accept the unacceptable. But it does mean that we have to be humble enough to accept that we do not exclusively own truth and morality. Ed said in his NPF speech in Gillingham:

    “Being rooted in people’s lives is not about a slogan. It’s not about going out and just saying ‘tell us what we should think’, but it is about saying we need to be reconnected to the hopes and aspirations of the people of Britain”.

    I agree. But not all of people’s hopes and aspirations may chime with our rigid moral code. And, increasingly, voters are less tribal in their political allegiances. In fact, most people are probably not even habitual voters for a single party, never mind being tribal. If we are really to connect with enough voters (such that they vote for us in winning numbers at the next general election), then we will have to find ways of understanding their moral sense of the world. We can’t just condemn or patronise everyone as not understanding just because they say or feel things with which we don’t agree.

    Of course, we have values of social justice that guide us, and our values don’t change. But that doesn’t mean that other people don’t also care about social justice and that they may come to different conclusions. If we put aside our moral arrogance then we might just find that we have much in common with them and them with us. That may well be the beginning of understanding why we lost. On the other hand, we could just remain in opposition, happy with our own sense that we are right ?” morally at least.

  • alan campbell

    Look forward to seeing how the Russian neo-nazi fans “embrace” the African teams and their supporters. A mark of honour to lose this one.

  • Vronksy

    CheebaCow

    I’ve no problem at all with the various points you make: my position is agnostic, but a sort of puzzled agnostic: what’s it all about? The leaks seem like low level, dog-bites-man gossip, not news to anyone.

    What do you make of Assange’s claim that he was responsible for the Climategate leak? If true, it’s a break in the pattern, because that stuff was editorialised to carry a clear intention (debunking AGW). Was Assange used, or did he do the editorialising? Or is he fibbing about his role? I can see no interpretation that works out well for him.

    http://climateaudit.org/2010/11/30/assange-on-climategate/

    Concerning other matters of importance: many Scots heaving a sigh of relief at the soccer news, although tidings of a forthcoming wedding mean that the telly may still be thrown out of a window.

  • somebody

    A mother is supposed to be loving of her offspring and other children

    and to protect them from harm.

    This monster who is now with NATO and mother of two daughters and an ex-ambassador, shown here with her beatific smile does not possess that quality.

    http://www.nato.int/cps/en/SID-4165566B-16BE6079/natolive/who_is_who_62544.htm

    She is quoted in the Guardian article linked below –

    ‘Mariot Leslie, then director general of defence and intelligence in the Foreign Office, reassured him that the British were only taking part as a “tactical manoeuvre” and cluster bombs were “essential to its arsenal”. “The UK is concerned about the impact of the Oslo process on the aftermath of a conflict, foreseeing ‘astronomical bills’ handed out to those who used cluster munitions in the past,”

    The cluster bombs are in store on US ships anchored off Diego Garcia. How vile these specimens of humanity are who are referred to in the article.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/dec/01/wikileaks-cables-cluster-bombs-britain

    How many children world wide have been injured and killed by cluster bombs?

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