Anti-Scottish Propaganda

by craig on January 22, 2012 1:17 pm in Uncategorized

I guess we are in for a full three years of anti-Scottish lies from the mainstream media. One of the most common unionist lies is that Spain would veto Scottish independence, as claimed in today’s Independent. This canard has been about for years and is assiduously spread by unioinists. I have discussed it in the past with senior Spanish diplomats, and they have been unanimous that it is impossible that Spain would seek to veto Scottish membership.

Firstly, nobody in the EU has ever left the EU voluntarily, let alone been expelled, and the idea that 5 million EU citizens in a stongly pro-EU country would be thrown out against their will is not in the realm of practical politics. The whole dynamic of the EU is expansive, with countries continually accepted into membership who technically should not be. Everybody knows, for example, that Romania and Bulgaria were not remotely close to compliance with the acquis communitaire when they were admitted. There is no appetite anywhere in the EU to argue that an EU member successor state would have to re-apply.

Secondly, Scots are much liked internationally. There is a strong popular understanding throughout Europe of Scottish desire for independence – bagpipes, Braveheart and a separate football team are an intrinsic part of this strong Scottish popular recognition. There are no votes in Europe in being beastly to the Scots, and that includes Spain. The Spanish government are not stupid. It would be very unpopular in Spain to act against the Scots, and would infuriate the Catalans and actually boost the independence movement there. Tactically, there are times when it is best to pretrend to be relaxed about self-determination, as Cameron is doing.

Thirdly, there is a real difference here with the Kossovans. Spain does not oppose Slovenia, Croatia or other parts of the former Yugoslavia from EU membership. It did not oppose the Czech Republic or Slovakia. Spain does not automatically argue against EU membership for splitting states – that is a lie spread by English unionists. Unlike Kossovo, the Scottish state is not inextricably linkes with organised crime, and is not outside the EU.

Finally, as an example of Unionist lies and tricks, read the Independent article very carefully. You will see that the anaonymous “source” of the claim that Spain will veto Scottish EU membership is not anything to do with the Spanish government, but a Whitehall official.

The actual headline of the article should be:

“Whitehall Official Lies that Spain Would Veto Scottish EU Membership”.

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  1. The same author Brian Brady who is the ‘Whitehall Editor’ of the Independent did give you a fair crack of the whip on Fox Werritty Gould here.

  2. Mary,

    Yes, Brian is quite good. He should have made it more clear that his source here was not Spanish though.

  3. I feel we should have some clarity here, Craig – are you saying that any argument from any quarter that opposes independence is intrinsically anti-Scottish?

  4. Mike

    No, only the disingenuous ones :-)

  5. “Firstly, nobody in the EU has ever left the EU voluntarily, let alone been expelled,…”

    Technically that’s right as far as I know. However, Greenland did leave the EEC in 1985 prior to it becoming the EU in 1993.

    But yes, the impression I get is that most other EU countries would, given the choice, rather have Scotland as a member than England.

  6. Those who want to keep the union are going to try every trick in the book to keep it that way!. I am waiting for stories about SNP/MSPs to appear in the mainstream media, both in their financial dealings and private lives, there is no doubt what so ever that the security services have/will be working on both the above at this moment and will drip, drip them to the newspapers with emphasis on the few months before the referendum vote, whenever that will be. All this is going to get very nasty.
    Whatever you may think ?, the powers that be were mortified when people returned six SSP/MSPs to the scottish parliament, whatever you may think ?, the fact is there are now NONE!.

  7. On further thought, Greenland is an interesting precedent in that it gained a degree of independence from Denmark whilst remaining in the then EEC, in 1979. It only later left the EEC, in 1985.

    I speak with great knowledge on this subject. Well, actually I had a vague recollection of the general idea then had a quick look at Wikipedia.

  8. “the Scottish state is not inextricably linked with organised crime…”

    Well, not since the end of New Labour at least.

  9. I would have thought that an independent Scotland would be best off outside the EU and with its own currency. Iceland is a good model. It would also mean that Scotland would be able to claim as its own its rich North Sea and Atlantic fishing waters.

  10. Yes totally agree. The London Establishment will do all the can to manipulate the situation in their favour by all unfair means at their disposal.

    The fact is that the last fully independent Scottish Parliament was voted out of existence due to English bribes of money and land to corrupt Scottish nobles who put personal gain ahead of their country. It is totally amazing, to me, that at no time have the people of Scotland [or Wales for that matter] ever had a say in whether they want to be a part of the English dominated “Union” or not.

  11. “The London Establishment will do all the can to manipulate the situation in their favour by all unfair means at their disposal.”
    Greg Dunn
    NOT just “The London Establishment”, as you say…”English bribes of money and land to corrupt Scottish nobles who put personal gain ahead of their country.”…thats the problem, they are still around, and many in positions of power and influence.
    MJ, totally agree.

  12. You totally misunderstand Scottish patriotism. It is not about hatred of England. There is very much to admire about them. Just step back and look. Step back some more and they look even better.
    Step back 300 miles (London to Edinburgh) and roll back 300 years of assimilation and they look perfect. Look on the English with Christian charity. God made them like that.
    If you are not a true Scot (if you have to ask, you’r not) you are welcome as a guest. But as a guest have the decency not to move the furniture or make changes in the Land you now love. SCOTS own it.
    Patriotism is fully positive. Identification of ones own free land is basic. Breathing clear free air, or walking over totally free hills is uplifting. As the first letter says a materialistic system cannot put a true value onto values it does not understand.
    Successfully colonising a land is not democracy or freedom or justice. If Justice is not given IT WILL BE TAKEN. Why not do it the easy way. A lot of English would die on the spot to defend their Englishness “my country right or wrong” Why not see that Scots are the same. For one side, Scots, it is over. Instead of a divorce try a separation. Then have a referendum to see if you want a Union again. The wind of change and separation will blow out a failure or enhance a good union. “Dont ask what your Country can do for you……….”. In the jigsaw of your life Scotland is the piece over your heart. You can never be at truly peace without it. You can love a Land for what it can do for you or for how beautiful it is. Or you can love it despite any negative things. Thats patriotism. If you don’t feel it in your heart you should not try to force real Scots into your flat colourless world.
    Be brave. Be Scottish. Be wary . Only a few patriots are needed to keep the flame alive. Treat them well for they hold your dreams.
    Craig, thanks for the use of the pulpit! Only spirit will do it, there is so much fear.

  13. Agree Greg Dunn.
    Today, just 1250 or so landowners own two thirds of Scotland.
    This is mainly the aristocracy and rich individuals: the largest landowner, after the Forestry Commission, is the Duke of Buccleuch (270,900 acres). He owns estates, castles and palaces in Selkirkshire, Dumfriesshire and Dalkeith palace in Edinburgh. A keen hunter, he is said to have donated £3/4m to the Countryside Alliance.
    Many of these landowners are represented by the Scottish Rural Property and Business Association (SRPBA), formerly the Scottish Landowners’ Association, based in Musselburgh just outside Edinburgh. As well as the shooting and deer-stalking estates, many are given over to monoculture forestry or the type of farming that seems more interested in EU subsidies than food production or effective land management.
    The largest foreign landowner (and one of the richest men) in Scotland is a Dutchman, Paul Van Vlissingen, owner of Calor Gas and the Makro cash-and-carry empire. ‘Environmentalist’ Vlissingen, who wants to reintroduce the wolf and the lynx to Scotland, owns the Letterewe Estate in Ross and Cromarty (around 80,000 acres). His partner, Professor Caroline Tisdall, is on the board of the Countryside Alliance and has said that she will ‘die in a ditch to defend hunting’.

    Van Vlissingen is the inspiration behind a scheme to privatise many of Africa’s national parks, helping to found the South African company, Africa Parks Management and Finance Company.

  14. In response to Ed Davies (comment number 5) –

    “…However, Greenland did leave the EEC in 1985, prior to it becoming the EU in 1993.”

    At the present moment Greenland (which is not a Member State of the EU and never has been) is a Commonwealth within the Kingdom of Denmark (which is a Member State of the EU) but is not yet a fully independent country. It chose to leave the EEC in 1985 due to “the EEC’s commercial fishing regulations and a EEC ban on seal skin products.” – Wikipedia.

  15. “Duke of Buccleuch”
    The “Buccleuch” family also own many acres of land in England if memory serves me right. No doubt given for past services rendered.

  16. The fact is no one knows for sure what the exact situation will be if Scotland votes to become independent. It’s almost certain that Scotland will not be treated as a complete outsider to the EU and require to go through the full joining process, mainly because Scots are already EU citizens, and if only because of the logistical nightmare it would present, it’s completely unthinkable to suggest that Scots would see all their EU rights taken away from them.

    It may be that there is a simple majority vote on letting Scotland remain. It may be that both Scotland and the UK are treated as successor states. Personally, I find it hard to believe the EU won’t just decide that, as the landmass of Scotland is already in the EU, as the people of Scotland are already EU citizens, and as Scottish businesses and organisations are already under EU regulations, that Scotland is already in the EU, and thus no further action is required. But until we know for sure, it is silly for people to state their opinion as if it were fact – unfortunately, this is what unionists do, as the recently-rebuffed lies about Scotland having to get permission to use the Sterling show (which Scottish Labour MSP Ken Macintosh was trying to perpetuate on today’s Sunday Politics Scotland, despite the deputy leader of Labour in Scotland, Anas Sarwar, admitting this was untrue on the very same show the previous week).

    Quite simply, if there is some sort of vote on whether Scotland gets to stay in the EU, Scotland will remain in the EU – we will be one of the strongest economies in the EU, we are one of the main oil producers in the EU, and we have the potential to provide 25% of the EU’s total marine renewable energy. Unless the EU suddenly decides to become masochistic, there is no danger of them letting Scotland leave – especially when, as Craig has already pointed out, the EU is all about expansion.

    If the EU had to choose between either Croatia or Scotland being in the EU, I think it’s fairly obvious who would they would choose…

  17. That info on Van Vlissingen is out of date. He died six years ago. An acquisitive family.
    Third brother survives. wiki/John_Fentener_van_Vlissingen

  18. Err, MJ, I think you’ll find that Iceland are currently in the process of negotiating their accession to the EU…

  19. “Err, MJ, I think you’ll find that Iceland are currently in the process of negotiating their accession to the EU…”

    That’s amusing and instructive, Doug. On Slashdot it would earn you lots of karma.

    The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence, eh? Unfortunately, grass is just grass.

  20. That’s true. And I think they’re mad.

  21. “The fact is no one knows for sure what the exact situation will be if Scotland votes to become independent.”
    Sad to tell you this but you are wrong on that one!, whatever happens you can be 100% it will turn out in the end to be as right wing or nearly as right wing as England, not only will England make sure of that also the USA and EU will make sure of that. I will also tell you that if Scotland goes independent the SNP will soon enough fade away and you will find the new labour party back in charge in double quick order…Time will tell.

  22. Guest – “Sad to tell you this but you are wrong on that one!, whatever happens you can be 100% it will turn out in the end to be as right wing or nearly as right wing as England”

    Really? I’m wrong to say no one knows for certain what will happen? What, are you a fortune teller or something? Or are you an EU official who has an envelope containing the secret plans for the expulsion of Scotland post-independence?

    Do you not understand what this post is about? It’s about the situation of Scotland in relation to membership of the EU directly after voting for independence. You’re waffle is just a generic pessimistic outlook about the general state of affairs in Scotland in the future. Maybe try and reply to what people are actually saying?

  23. Hey Craig:

    CBC is least, I don’t always expect this from our public broadcasting corporation, doing it’s part to inform Canucks about the upcoming referendum:

    The part re the referendum starts about 8’20” .

  24. Mike

    Opposing Scottish Independence doesn’t make you “anti-Scottish”

    However, if you are trying to thwart the only body that has a party elected to hold such a Referendum to take control to Westminster, then tat is anti-Scottish.

    Unionism may have a strong case to make, we haven’t heard one yet, but it might, Unionism is a valid point of view. But saying to the electorate of Scotland “stuff you and your votes, only Westminster shall command this”isn’t

    Or do you see such an act as pro-Scottish?

    Perhaps Westminster saving those silly Scots from themselves?

  25. “What, are you a fortune teller or something?”
    You should not belive in such superstitious nonsense!, I am a realist.

  26. Fourteen-pints-Billy getting all childish and,as we say in Scotland,spitting the dummy.Maybe there’ll be sanctions on deep-fried Mars bars too…What a bawbag he is.

  27. I don’t give two hoots whether Scotland will be in or out of the EU should the vote be for Independence. It’s not abot what currency we might be allowed to have (who told an Independent America what currencey they were PERMITTED to have, or limited to choosing? Crivvens!)

    This referendum is not about the EU, it is not about Spain, it is about whether we Scots, having lent ourselves to the Westminister Parliament, want to take our political decision-making back into our own hands or not.

    When I decided to marry my husband, I decided to marry him because I thought we could build a decent life toghether. I certainly did not decide on the basis of what kind of job he had, what kind of house we’d have, or indeed what kind of wedding dress or how big would the reception be.

    This decision should be similar. If we choose Independence, then like all things in life, we’ll figure out the rest, ourselves as we go along.

    Establishment, get a grip.
    Craig, thank you for providing the truth.

  28. Yes,the Establishment and spook dirty tricks will go into overdrive.Prepare yourself for lots of sordid exposes about Nat Mp’s having flings with secretaties,three in a bed romps with hookers and coke and the usual Sean Connery living in Spain stuff.I’m also sure the spooks will have had lots of juicy personal info on Salmond stashed away for just such a scenario.There will be many economic nightmare stories finagled by the Establishment’s favourite nedia-whores etc.
    Plus ca change…

  29. Yeah, we’ve already had the first Scottish ‘terrorist’ story today, too! Unbelievable how dirty this is gonna get.

  30. Bawbag. That’ a good one and new to me. Urban Dictionary, leaving the rude bits out –
    Glasgow, Scotland origin, derogatory name given to one who is annoying, useless or just plain stupid.
    Very apt for the shiny-domed one prone to wearing a baseball cap when out with his pal.

  31. Fourteen-pints-Billy will probably announce massive tax hikes on Haggis,IrnBru,Scotch eggs and pies and the tartan industry.Not,of course,forgetting tins of shortbread.
    Oh the statesmanship and grand vision of the man!

  32. Well said Craig !
    Ridiculous that Whitehall tries to speak for Spain.
    Would Brussels cast Scotland out for daring to adhere to a plebiscite? Would we end up with even less clout than Israel, o favoured EU nation of the Middle East?
    At the moment its insults and threats and ridicule,but that is strengthening the argument.
    People I’ve known as red through and through for years are now staunch SNP.Not because of all the crap that’s going on now, but because Alex Salmond has brought common sense to Hollyrood and they have quite a few achievements under their belts so far.
    Scotland feels different under the SNP.There’s a confidence there which wasn’t before.
    If only Burns were around to put what’s going on north of the border into song and verse.
    I wonder who the rogues are this time around and how big the bribe will be!
    Or will it be tanks on the streets like they did in Glasgow ?

  33. John Edwards

    22 Jan, 2012 - 8:21 pm

    It is an interesting question whether the UK without Scotland would retain the same number of votes at the EU as currently on a par with Germany, Italy and France. It seems unlikely that a separate Scotland would be excluded from the EU. However, it is not unlikely that Spain would use an opportunity to make trouble for the UK as it does over Gibraltar.

    Incidently I think it is important to be clear that this issue is about the separation of different parts of the UK not “independence”. The Union is a partnership not a colonial situation although it was different in Ireland.

  34. The article seems to say that Spanish mandarins have voiced concenrs to counterparts in the UK, but prefer to say nothing openly.

    There certainly are Catalonians wanting independence for their region; I met one at a certain international congress who insisted on calling himself a “Catalonian” and put “Catalonia” on his badge.

    The Spanish possibly don’t want to cause offense by being seen to interfere in an issue internal to the UK. So this shouldn’t affect the campaign for Scottish independence. Not that I support Scottish independence, but I think the Spanish are wise not to get involved publicly.

  35. “whatever happens you can be 100% it will turn out in the end to be as right wing or nearly as right wing as England”

    No. One of the drivers of independence is that Scotland has remained social democratic while England has moved to the right, and the lack of fiscal independence could see social democracy in Scotland squeezed out by fiscal and economic policy at Westminster if Scotland remains in the Union. Scotland will stay capitalist but probably follow the continental Rhine model rather than the more right-wing Anglo-American model.

  36. Spain won’t object, talk about cutting off your nose to spite your face. Why. Fishing, one of Spains’ most important European industries relies on Scottish fish!

  37. Hi Craig, I have just told my husbnad this and he said WTF ..Spain is not interested in the UK or Scotland why are they dragging us into your nightmare ? A good friend of ours Gaspar llamazares is suing the FBI. So NO we have no interest in your country. lol

  38. Oliver Hobson

    22 Jan, 2012 - 10:14 pm

    And some in Canada (the colony Scotland never had) are now watching what’s going on with some excitement!

    I often wonder if it’s only Quebec being a part of Canada that makes the difference between English speaking Canada and the USA.

    American cultural erosion of is ongoing.

    Went on the bus today and managed to pay the fare in American coinage received as change from the corner store.

    Saddening really.

  39. Seven, we will try and manage without the fish if the worst comes to the worst. We have great sardines and our giant king prawns come from Argentina. We are in a crisis , we have not sold a property for five years , the restaurants are empty and people are not spending the little money they have for fear of losing their jobs.Ca 4,200,000 people unemployed it is every man for himself to just try and survive.

  40. Rocki,
    the same goes for Mullah Omar, his photo is in fact the photo of an Afghan shepherd whose life has been made a misery. Alas that poor bastard cannot sue the FBI or CIA or whatever.

  41. This one is even better…

    “Last night’s two bombs in Londonderry, credited to IRA dissidents, are a timely reminder that the impact on English security will be grave. As Republicans in Northern Ireland look east across the North Channel to Scotland (just 22 miles away at the narrowest point), they will see unfolding before them a “demi-paradise” – a country revelling in the sort of menacing and rancid anti-English sentiment more suited to the H Blocks than a modern European democracy.

    Everywhere, the hated Union Flag will be lowered, military bases closed and even the ‘Black Bomber’ submarines, mighty symbols of the ‘independent’ nuclear deterrent, kicked out to new bases in the West Country.

    For those who dream still of a 32-county Ireland it will be a time of opportunity. ”

    etc etc etc, until MelGibson’s law is fulfilled in paragraph six.

  42. Canada’s ex future Liberal PM Michael Ignatieff who retired from Politics (to our relief) on Scottish independance:”Scots could save themselves a fair amount of grief if they were to learn from our experience.”

    Today’s CBC Sunday edition on Scottish nationalism:—canadian-poet-laureates/

  43. I personally find it consistent that first and foremost many pro-independence Scots define themselves by their nationality in often crude and insular ways. It seems to me to be part and parcel of a reactionary mindset given that notions of identity more generally seem to increasingly transcend nation state concepts.

    Doesn’t it strike those Scots who favour independence, for example, as being somewhat of an oxymoron that an already small nation existing within the context of an expanding EU, is to potentially be broken up into its constituent parts?

    It seems to me that Scottish nationalists are no different from their English counterparts in that both essentially appear to adhere to a petty nationalist mindset.

    Leaving aside all of the practical and constitutional difficulties like who owns what and to whom, other factors like the setting up of a separate currency, separate foreign embassies and consulates, a separate police force and armed forces, suggests to me that the notion of full independence is a folly.

    The costs alone, nevermind the practicalities, are potentially mind-boggling. Moreover, Scotland is one of the few nations within Europe whose population is declining. Changing demographics of this nature imply economic unsustainability and long-term non-viability.

    The arguments of nationalists who argue that oil will be a potential resource that will butress this eventuality, doesn’t wash either. The truth is, there is no Scottish oil – and there never has been – at least not while it has been possible to extract it.

    Scotland would certainly have the lion’s share of the reserves in the event of independence – but until then the oil reserves belong to the UK – so any revenue generated, whether oil, whisky or whatever are just contributions which are passed on to central government, as are contributions from all areas of the UK.

    There are many other questions that will be raised during the course of the ensuing debates that I haven’t got time to go into here but will nevertheless be raised by the anti side in due course. George Galloway, for example, will expose the flaws in the pro-position as the referenda draw closer.

    At the end of the day, the Scots have the English over a barrel which has been the situation since devolution was introduced. That won’t change unless the Scots vote for full independence which is precisely why they are far too canny to allow that to happen.

    I’m confident that the Scots will see sense and vote ‘nay’ to full independence.

  44. Black propaganda and personal slander are the only unionist weapons. There is no positive case for the union – there was a three centuries long opportunity to make one, and it has been missed. The colonial, extractive, nature of the relationship cannot be undone in the two years left before the referendum so we are left with threats and insults. And (as linked above) Hague’ threat to Scottish whisky – the beginning of sanctions on the Iran of the north?

  45. “Changing demographics of this nature imply economic unsustainability and long-term non-viability.”
    Uh – yes. Hardly a wonderful testimonial to the Union, wouldn’t you say? Perhaps confronted with such a diagnosis one ought to consider a prescription?

  46. not read the independent article, no time, but comparison of Scotland and Kosovo is odious and inappropriate.
    – Scotland is already a separate country
    – Kosovo was hived off from Serbia by foreign military force and ethnic cleansing. If Salmond were calling in the USAAF and expelling the English and the blacks and the jews from Scotland, I and I suspect Craig would oppose him strongly.
    It’s completely different.

  47. @tom Welsh.
    “the Scottish state is not inextricably linked with organised crime…”

    Well, not since the end of New Labour at least.@

    There has been a long link between Italian organised crime and Scotland, as greatly explained by Robert Saviano in his book’ Gommorrah’ but these crime syndicates operate in England as well, having an Independent Scotland could make cooperation between the two more awkward. Organised crime has the habit to embed/invest itself in all sorts of public service companies, making for dependency situation which almost always turn out to their benefit.

  48. Daniel- were you chewing on a sponge when you wrote the above? let me summarise for you:
    Nationalists are “crude and insular”…
    Scotland will need it’s own embassies…
    Its not Scotland’s oil….
    ummm…I haven’t the time to think of anything else but I’m sure Gorgeous George will come riding to the rescue.
    Well, that’s certainly changed my mind: a stunning summary of the Unionist case.

  49. Billy fourteen pints is at again;
    Mr Hague commented: “These (sanctions) are peaceful and legitimate measures. They are not about conflict.
    He said,without so much as even wincing; evidently Sanctions against Iran which are an act of war, are now officially considered “peaceful”, that is in the midst of a double dip recession, that has been gifted to us all with the sponsors of Billy and co.

  50. Thanks Craig. The suggestion that you are denigrating the opponents of Independence is, I think, misplaced. You seem to be denigrating the quality of their argument, which is a wholly separate – even independent – thing.
    The trouble is that we are fed tales that are known, or ought to be known, as wrong by those telling them. That says a lot about the quality of the Unionists.
    Lately we have been told
    We can’t hold a referendum
    We need to hold 2 referenda
    The referendum must be held next year
    The referendum can be held 2014
    We can’t keep the Pound
    We won’t be allowed into Europe
    We will be forced to join the Euro
    We can’t keep our soldiers
    We must pay London for their nuclear weapons
    Scotland would have had to bail out the RBS all by itself
    None of these points is consistently argued, and many are simply wrong. Either the Unionists are ignorant or they are spinning mis truths and half truths.
    I await with interest the positive case for the Union. Frequently, Unionists say that the key to the debate lies with the positive case, yet in all my years – I am your contemporary – I have heard only how or why Independence would be a bad thing, and never been told why Unionism is good. One benefit of a 30 month campaign is it gives time for the weak arguments to be debunked, and you have positively contributed to the debate

  51. Sophia Ignatieff was once a talking head/public intellectual seen and heard constantly on the British media. Now he shills for Israel.

    Michael Ignatieff: Intellectual hypocrisy
    Canada’s Liberal leader, the intellectual- turned-politician became an uncritical supporter of Israeli aggression.
    By Derrick O’Keefe author Michael Ignatieff – The Lesser Evil

  52. 12 hours’ notice to the US if Israel attack Iran!!

    US and Israel on ‘Collision Course’

    By Uzi Mahnaimi
    January 22, 2012 “The Times” — ISRAEL has warned the US’s top general that it will give Washington just 12 hours’ notice if it decides to launch a strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities.
    The refusal to give more advance warning, which would prevent the US blocking the raid, is the latest sign of a breakdown of trust between the two allies over Israel’s response to Iranian ambitions to develop nuclear weapons.
    The impasse was highlighted after a meeting in Tel Aviv between General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the US joint chiefs of staff, and Ehud Barak, the Israeli Defence Minister, last week.
    This followed a stormy transatlantic conversation between President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in which Mr Netanyahu turned down Mr Obama’s request for early warning of an attack on Iran.
    Mr Netanyahu suspects that Mr Obama, fearful of soaring energy prices, will go to any lengths to stop an attack going ahead before the US presidential election in November.
    The US and the EU have opted for tighter sanctions to deter Iran from building a bomb.
    EU foreign ministers meeting today are expected to ban Iranian oil imports. But the Israeli Prime Minister is concerned that military action may ultimately be necessary.
    The Israeli army has already undertaken intensive training and its elite 35th Paratroopers Brigade is preparing for long-range operations.
    Publicly the Americans and Israelis are playing down their differences. But Ron Ben-Yishai, a leading defence commentator, wrote last week on the Ynet website that “Israel and the US are on a head-on collision course unheard of in recent history.”
    A large joint anti-missile exercise planned for April has already been cancelled, officially for “technical and logistical reasons”.
    “All lies,” said an Israeli defence official, who claimed that Washington had pulled out as an expression of its displeasure. “We were shocked,” the official said. “It’s been planned for the last two years.”

  53. Tightening the screws.
    EU Iran sanctions: Ministers adopt Iran oil imports ban
    EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton: “Tehran should come to the table”
    European Union foreign ministers have formally adopted an oil embargo against Iran over its nuclear programme.
    The sanctions involve an immediate ban on all new oil contracts with Iran, while existing contracts will be honoured until 1 July.
    Tehran denies that it is trying to develop nuclear weapons and says talks and not sanctions are the only way to resolve the dispute.
    The EU currently buys about 20% of Iran’s oil exports.
    Meanwhile, the Pentagon said the US aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln, as well as a British Royal Navy frigate and a French warship, have passed through the Straits of Hormuz at the entrance to the Gulf without incident in the wake of Iranian threats to block the trade route.
    Sky News have that unpleasant warmonger Con Coughlin from the Telegraph with his revolting and predictable views. He is supporting the embargo of course and welcomes the arrival of the US carrier and British and French ships. Mehdi Hassan is giving him a hard time.

  54. The goal is regime change and these imbeciles, idiots, brainless do not realise that actually they are uniting people behind the government of Iran and strengthening the grip of the Mullahs on the power… Even the liberals in Iran have gone quiet; to do otherwise will be considered unpatriotic.
    God saves us from these ignorant government of the west.

  55. Well said Azra, this is the wests guarantee that there will be sometyhing to oppose and fight, because Irans people will fight back.
    If even the US accepts that Iran is not developing a nuclear device, why are there still sanctions in place, what other reasons, bar the fact that the US has no control over Iran’s oil and/or trade.
    The sanctions are not legitamite anymore, just a pretext to wind up Iran. We have no money to look after our disabled and OAP’s, not a penny to buy fighter planes, the MOD is pushing some 36 billion of debt to suppliers in front of them and we are smarting to go to war? Have they totally lost it?

  56. I have been out with a friend Azra. In spite being fairly well informed, she knows nothing of the propaganda for war against Iran, the purchasing of the American republican candidates by Israel, the Israel push for war etc yet recited to me what a terrible life the women and children in Iran are enduring. I said to her that she had well and truly received the propaganda. She looked hurt at what I said.

    She had probably been listening to James Reynolds reporting on Iran from Dubai! Notice the use of the word ‘destroy’ in this report.
    ‘BBC Iran correspondent James Reynolds says oil is the country’s most valuable asset and sales help to keep the Iranian government in money and power.
    A decision by the EU to stop buying from Iran may damage the Iranian economy – but in itself it won’t destroy it, our correspondent says.
    The BBC’s James Reynolds visits Dubai where many people export goods to Iran
    Iran sells most of its oil to countries in Asia. The EU and the United States are now working to persuade Asian countries to reduce their purchases from Iran as well.
    Iran has already threatened to retaliate over the sanctions by blocking the Strait of Hormuz at the entrance to the Gulf, through which 20% of the world’s oil exports pass.
    The US has said it will keep the trade route open, raising the possibility of a confrontation.
    Late last year Iran conducted 10 days of military exercises near the Strait of Hormuz, test-firing several missiles.
    Oil prices have risen already because of the increasing tension and the expected impact of an EU ban on oil supplies to Europe.’

  57. Mary, no doubt you notice that many well informed who comment here as well are taken in by this propaganda. How many times I had to repeat myself that things are not what they tell you. I am one of the fierce opponents of the present
    Government of Iran, but have to admit that they have done awful lot of good for the poor of the country as well as infrastructure, road, electricity, running water, education. Women are neither subservient, nor pushed aside in education, industry or politics. There are more homeless and beggars in UK than there are in Iran. Yes Iran has many problems as well, but which country would not have it after 8 years of war and 30 years of sanctions. If these war /sanction were not imposed I very much doubt that Mullah’s would be in power today. I was talking to my brother in Iran yesterday asking him how was everthing, and what he told me was people hate the USA and UK more than ever (I am not surprised!)

  58. “The Israeli army has already undertaken intensive training and its elite 35th Paratroopers Brigade is preparing for long-range operations.”
    This utter bullshit is to justify the unilateral sanctions that are getting slapped on Iran left, right, centre. Fact that Natanyahu would not dare to fart without first asking for permission from US, somehow is going missing in this brouhaha.
    This line of propaganda is entirely for the benefit of the Western audiences, and in the way of making acceptable the illegal money gouging exercises passed as “Sanctions”

  59. If it does come to war,then all of the brave sailors in tghe Persian Gulf are sitting ducks with only one very narrow channel to get out,and that through Iranian waters.MMM Wonder how that one will turn out.

  60. DonnyDarko,
    As Mayan calender predicted it.
    There is nothing more I despise than the current batch of warmongers in leadership whom have never been in a school-fight never mind a battlefield.
    This how people’s daily (the communist party paper) sees the developing situation;
    US actions make China-Russia alliance appealing
    ….US becomes increasingly meticulous in eliminating potential challenges….
    has somewhat defused two powder kegs in the Middle East: Iraq and Afghanistan…..Now it is preparing for a potential confrontation with Iran, and appears confident of another successful air strike.
    Such a demonstration of armed might makes powers like Russia and China increasingly nervous.

    By stirring up other powers’ sense of insecurity, the US is actually undermining its own interests. Its security paranoia instills many uncertainties into global dynamics and into the US itself.
    Russians will not wait for this batch of wannabe democratising/lebensraum seekers to camp outside Moscow yet again.

  61. From a puff piece when Hague was leader. Nothing has changed.
    ‘But most of the time he was left to get on with his own interests – toy soldiers were a particular favourite.’
    Just William Profile William Hague

  62. Ben Franklin

    23 Jan, 2012 - 3:59 pm

    “Among the numerous wars that are perennially being waged worldwide is the one between truth-tellers and those who would suppress the truth. I have alluded to this war in prior analyses that took up the plight of such truth-tellers as Bradley Manning and Julian Assange.

    Their crime is not, as is sometimes suggested, the speaking of truth to Power. As Noam Chomsky once suggested, Power already knows the truth, and doesn’t care about it. No, their crime is the speaking of truth to the rest of us. Disenchanting the public of official lies is what really rattles those in power.

    Of course, it is quite possible that most of the public, in the U.S. and elsewhere, doesn’t care about the truth either. However, Power is not taking any chances in this regard.
    Recently, a new front in this continuing war has opened up. On Jan. 17, Al Jazeera reported that Spanish judge Baltasar Garzon had “gone on trial in the country’s supreme court on [three separate] charges of abusing judicial powers.”
    Garzon is a very important truth-teller, who has conducted a number of investigations into violations of international law against torture. Using the principle of universal jurisdiction, Garzon went after Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet back in 1998, and in March of 2009 he stated that Spain could bring charges against six Bush Jr. administration officials for clearing the way for the use of torture during the Iraq War.

    At least four men, who are Spanish citizens and also former prisoners at the Guantanamo Bay prison, have accused the U.S. military of torturing them. It was at this point that the U.S. government appears to have placed Garzon in a category that would also include Manning and Assange: the category of the dangerous truth-teller.”

  63. MJ: EFTA and a finance system based on

  64. “Among the numerous wars that are perennially being waged worldwide is the one between truth-tellers and those who would suppress the truth.” This is the terrible fact – we see it everywhere and it must not be lost by the truth-tellers. That is why people like Craig are so important and must not be silenced.

  65. Said John Stack:
    > If you are not a true Scot…
    Heh, isn’t there a fallacy of that name? ;)
    Said Daniel:
    > It seems to me that Scottish nationalists are no different from their English
    > counterparts in that both essentially appear to adhere to a petty nationalist mindset.
    I’d have to disagree with you there. As I said on another thread, Scottish nationalism seems quite reasonable – to make government in Scotland more local. It seems fair enough to me that (some) Scots are frustrated by being run by a government in London. Meanwhile English nationalists aren’t concerned much by decentralisation – their agenda is much more aggressive, based on racial identity, immigration and discrimination.

  66. Havantaclu. Agree totally.

  67. Azra, thanks so much for your sanguine reality checks and personal reminders that Iranians are human beings. I fear – after a decade of threats – that an all-out attack really is being brewed this time. EU sanctions against Iran’s major export when the EU is their second-largest export market for that product is tantamount to declaration of war. It is of course precisely what the USA/EU/NATO want: War, the destrution of an enormous country and one of the oldest civilisations in the world. Rage is an understatement.

  68. Mary,
    Did you see Billy fourteen pints, playing to the gallery and sounding oh so regal holding the line on Iranian civilian nuclear program?
    Did the trick though; kept the welfare cuts and no cuts for fat cats, the inequity is going unnoticed by he vast majority.

  69. Meanwhile, in Jerusalem….
    Israel arrests two Hamas MPs at Red Cross compound

  70. Suhyal, It will be madness to attack Iran, it will only make the current regime stronger, and will not achieve anything at all. If the problem is nuclear activity, they are so widely spread across the country and deep under-ground that an air attack will be ineffective and if they mean an all out attack, well compare the military might of Iran to that of Iraq, and yet Iraq was not a success story, was it?
    I have started to believe it is all about petrodollar and the fact that Iran has started to ask for payment in other currencies and gold. Does it remind you of Saadam and Gaddafi?
    I am not changing my plans to be in Iran for the Persian New year (20th March), will see what will unfold by then!

  71. The phrase, “a true Scot”, brings to mind a rather silly campaign run by The Daily Record some 20 years ago when they churned out car stickers entitled, ‘I’m a Real Scot from… Paislel/Dundee/wherever’. I’m not deingrating genuine, progressive Scottish nationalism, btw, not at all, I agree with Jon that it is a different entity from most prevalent English nationalism. So long as “a true Scot” refers to committment, action and feeling and so on and not ‘blood and soil’ or some kind of ‘cricket test’ (?football test), then maybe it’s just a form of shorthand. But I am uneasy with the term. Just ‘a Scot’ is fine by me. The use of the term, ‘true Scot’ infers that there are also ‘false Scots’ and also iners that someone, somewhere would have to make a decision about who is which.

  72. According to SIPRI Yearbook, in 2002 Iran was responsible for 2.2% of world military spending. To put that in context, India spent 1.6%, Israel 1.3%, Italy 2.7%, UK 4.6%, Spain 0.9%, Canada 1.1%, US 42.6%. Libya and Iraq don’t even show. Iran would be a very hard target.
    Azra wrote: “yet Iraq was not a success story, was it?”. Hmmm, well, various commercial concerns did, and are doing, very well out of it.

  73. Professor Christopher Harvie, an historian by profession, who was an SNP MSP, for example, has a deeply progressive vision, in my view.

  74. Wrt Iran, Clark, you see, I don’t believe they are interested, really, in simply ‘hitting’ military targets, because as with Iraq in 2002/3, the WMD thing is just a pretext. What they want is to destroy an independent state and subjgate it to their will. All they need to achieve that is chaos.

  75. Clark, “Hmmm, well, various commercial concerns did, and are doing, very well out of it”, and top of the list is Iran! they are doing very well out of Iraq, better than any of American or British companies!plus imagine that their enemy is now their bosom friend!

  76. Different figures here Clark for 2010.
    Israel shown at No 18 as spending $13 billion (and we know whose money that is) which is 6.3% of GDP.
    Iran shown at No 25 as spending $7.6 billion which is 1.8% of GDP.
    PS Grotesque to see America’s expenditure at $687 billion and the UK’s at $57.5 billion

  77. I forgot to provide a web-link for Chris Harvie:
    Wrt ‘Iran-in-Iraq’, very interesting, Azra.

  78. And as though on cue, to provide an apt illustration of the muplicity of possible ‘Scottishness’, here is a review by yours truly, published in yesterday’s Scotland-on-Sunday (The Scotsman’s Sunday imprint) of a new novel, entitled, ‘Bombay Baby’ by Indian Scot, Leela Soma. The story takes in – among other themes – the ‘Anglo’-Indian community in India, which actually is often ‘Scoto-Indian’!

  79. agreed Suhayl,
    it is all about destabilisation. They cannot afford to have an Independent nation spoiling whatever plans they have for global domination.They’ll shock and awe them if necessary,but I think they’ll get a fright.
    The 5th fleet is just across the gulf and an awfully big target and then there are all those big shiny boats from all nations with no place to hide.
    But what really gets my goat is that its all about nukes supposedly and Israel has hundreds of them.Iran is being punished for something that might happen one day in the future.. a thought crime,but Israel has them. And nothing is said from the IAEA. Not that it would help,but it might make things look fair.
    If Israel are first to pull the trigger,and historically they always are,then they probably will end up being victims for once.

  80. ‘multiplicity’. I obviously cannot spell.

  81. Azra,
    You are using the vile and pernicious vocabulary concerning Iran, too, which is an indication of the success of the propagandists in their mission to demonoise Iran.
    Regime change, why is this vile phrase used?
    A regime is portrayed to be as something illegitimate, unwholesome, bad, and evil. Therefore any change in the said regime would be for the better.
    This then elegantly follows a self awarded “permission” to wage war upon Iran, with an “altruistic” aim to “free the poor, down trodden Iranians”.
    Petrodollars, an innocuous label, promoted as a pejorative for US dollars paid in lieu of oil. However the pernicious term of recirculation added in fact hides a multitudes of wrong doing, and evil. The simple fact that US is printing money without any collateral or security, fully in cognisance of the fact that world over will be using the printed fiat money, that is as good as bits of toilet paper, to complete their transactions, leaving US free to commit astronomical sums of easy money into her murder technologies, that is further looked upon as an enforcer for the evidently mandated currency for the world over.
    Throughout the twentieth century, based on a pack of agreed upon shameless lies we know as “History”; aspirations of independence and self rule of the various groups and peoples of the world have been thwarted all in the way of protection of the national security of US. The mountainous heaps of the skulls of the victims of the national security of US in fact tell a story of rampaging Oligarchs and their hand picked toadies intent on coercing the population of the planet to toe the line and follow their leader (US), dealing in Dollars, buying useless bit of military hardware, drinking Pepsi, eating big macs, wearing jeans, farming genetically modified crop seeds, watching Hollywood brain farts, and wishing to sleep with the standard issue California girl, ad nauseum.
    In contrast Iranians have been tacking an independent course, that has resulted in the progress of sciences, and industry in Iran. In fact if the thirty years old sanctions regime illegally imposed by the US et al were not in place Iran would have been in far more dominant economical position. However the active discouragement of any kind of competition to challenge the status quo, has meant in the none free market conditions Iranians have managed through sheer determination pure genius and dogged hard work to develop their industry to its current extent.
    Just looking at Iran’s neighbours, during the same era, these to date cannot manufacture a nail, or sewing needle, suffering enormous economic hardships ( thirty percent of Saudi people live in abject poverty), shrinking populations, and reduced to becoming the play ground for the rich and famous, as in the old pre revolutionary Cuba, etc see Dubai and Qatar.
    Iran can look after herself, and those wishful thinkers, subscribing to any other notions, ought ot remember the stealth drone RQ-170 Sentinel capture, from a nation that has only been building her industry for the last twenty years, given the imposed Iraq war that pretty well destroyed almost most of the infrastructure in Iran.
    Azra the simple fact overlooked is; World needs more Irans, if only for ensuring the survival of humanity itself, Iran is breaking the mould in a standard world that is the result of the unimaginative, weak and ideologically and morally corrupt regimes in US, et al.

  82. “PS Grotesque to see America’s expenditure at $687 billion and the UK’s at $57.5 billion”
    Even more “Grotesque” when you take into account that they have/are taken so much from the disabled, sick and the millions they have made unemployed to pay for all these weapons of mass destruction in order to wage wars on other nations, kill millions of innocent civilians and steal their resources.

    Office of Communications Act [2002 amended] – Be it enacted by the Queen’s most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same.
    OFCOM shall not have any power, for the purposes of or in connection with their function under this section, to borrow money from any person other than the Secretary of State.

    “I sat in the British parliament for almost 25 years – and sat in the Parliament when OFCOM was created and of course none of this overtly political censorship was in the Parliament’s mind when these proposals were laid before them.
    This is not about media regulation , after all, not only has your correspondent said, all sorts of foreign based television channels modeled exactly along the same lines as PressTV , still broadcasting on the Sky platform, but you have the most disgusting, most obscene sex channels by the dozen, operating under OFCOM’s nose and of course they,re free to do so.
    Our crime at PressTV was, not only that we were telling the truth that some, indeed most other broadcasters were deliberately concealing, but we were becoming more and more popular, which is why you are right in showing the many different ways that will be possible to see PressTV in the UK because we have built an audience for the station very quickly and very widely over the last couple of years, precisely because of the shortcomings of other channels.
    I’ve been saying all along that this is a blow of course to PressTV media, it means some of our viewers will find it more difficult to watch us, but it is much more of a blow to the British government’s hypocritical stance of being in favour of freedom of expression, freedom of speech, indeed we are often told here in Britain that we must actually go to war in other people’s countries to bring such freedoms to bear , or we are told we must sanction countries in order to help bring such freedoms to them.
    Well now the whole world can see that flag [Union Jack] you are showing on the screen now, is a flag of hypocrisy not democracy.
    George Galloway – January 22nd 2012

  84. Anti-Scottishism now joins anti-Semitism as another bogus claim of oppression by racist nationalists on the make.

  85. Fedup : well said, you are right in all accounts!

  86. I agree with you Guest. Thanks Mark for the GG quote. He is spot on as usual.

  87. If and when this refinery goes out of production, there will be a panic in the SE with queues at filling stations and the usual media hysteria.

    Petroplus share trading suspended on Swiss exchange
    Oil refined at Coryton is mainly distributed throughout the southeast of England
    MEP warns 1,000 oil jobs at risk
    Oil refiner in bank credit freeze
    Trading in Petroplus, the owner of the Coryton oil refinery in Essex, was suspended on the Swiss SIX stock exchange on Monday.
    The company operates the Coryton oil refinery in Essex which employs 1,000 people whose jobs may be affected.
    The stock exchange said that the suspension came at the request of the company.

  88. ““PS Grotesque to see America’s expenditure at $687 billion and the UK’s at $57.5 billion”
    “Even more “Grotesque” when you take into account that they have/are taken so much from the disabled, sick and the millions they have made unemployed to pay for all these weapons of mass destruction in order to wage wars on other nations, kill millions of innocent civilians and steal their resources.”

    (adopting the tone of the avg commentator here)

    Could you be any more ignorant in your narrow worldview? Do a quick math check on the expenditures per capita, then ask yourself;

    Who’s been carrying your load?

  89. Mary, to clarify, the percentages I quoted are for proportion of total military spending worldwide, as opposed to percentage of that country’s GDP.
    Ben Franklin, I thought that about half of the US deficit was spent on Bush’s wars? What “load” are you referring to?
    Azra, thanks, I didn’t know that. Do you have a link please?

  90. Who’s been carrying your load?
    Were there any referendums, ballets, votes taken, or did US just decide to appoint itself as the “load carrier”?
    Kindly piss off and stop carrying our loads, BTW you are welcome to take the leadership echelon along with the self anointed chosen ones too, and leave us all to our dark and dreary and insecure futures. Now git.
    Can’t believe the temerity of the gobshite.

  91. “What “load” are you referring to?”

    Military spending worldwide, but you can disregard my cloudburst. I was shot-gunning the same load of specious mule shit dispensed by ‘Guest’

  92. “What “load” are you referring to?”
    Oh I think he’s referring to the entire “defense” of “the West”. Reminds me of the Newt the other night, during his victory speech in S Carolina: “We fought and won WWII in three years”.

  93. Defence of the West from what? At $687*10^9 it must be pretty damn big.

  94. Anyway, I’m off-topic, so I’ll desist.

  95. “Defence of the West from what?”
    Exactly. The US military budget is all about aggression. Grab whatever you can, wherever you can, and to hell with the begrudgers. But Ben Franklin will still whine “Who’s been carrying your load?”

  96. Right, back to Scotland! A topic very interesting to me, naturally.

  97. Defence of the West from what?
    From Americans, cuz no one else is bent on Empireing around.
    Think about it, US lives off the business of printing money, why should it;s administration, ought not be set up so that the dollars are recirculated back into the accounts of Oligarchs who own the political apparatchiks masquerading as the political leadership in the other occupied territories (Capitol Hill) ?
    Never mind $687*10^9, Rumsfeld Pentagon could not account for $2*10^12 as per the comptrollers’ accounts on the 10/9/01 (the day before). Corruption at these levels is the legacy of US. Think about this last paragraph we are talking the “good old days” when dollar was not as worthless as now, and gold was actually traded around $300 an ounce.

  98. “I was shot-gunning”
    You couldn`t make it up!!!.
    Ben Franklin, just stick to what you do best…copy and paste posts.

  99. Holy Moly.

    I never (well, it’s a rarity) see citations for the arguments I see here. Is bloviation considered fact in the sub-culture extant?

    Because I hear some pretty important stuff, if it can be documented, that is. And. that doesn’t mean the gas you leak out your arse is somehow scented.

  100. O/T
    “The Only Guilty Marine in the Haditha Massacre Faces Three Months in Jail”
    “In a Camp Pendleton courtroom, a judge finally sentenced the last of the eight Marines accused of murdering two dozen Iraqi civilians in Haditha, ten of whom were women and children.
    “After striking a plea bargain that reduced the charge from murder to “voluntary manslaughter, aggravated assault and dereliction of duty stemming from the November 19, 2005″ event, Staff Sergeant Frank Wuterich pleaded guilty and now “faces a maximum sentence of three months of confinement, forfeiture of two-thirds of his pay for three months and a reduction in rank when he is sentenced on Tuesday,” according to Reuters.
    “Understandably, human rights activists were not pleased with the result. “S[a]vagely murder Iraqi men, women, children and elderly then agree to a plea deal for minimal jail time,” one tweeted after news of Wuterich’s plea. “This is America’s ‘justice’.”


  102. I shouldnt talk about nationalists and unionists, never works out for me. Can the Independent get away with not being corrected on this claim? iirc there is alot of blackening the name and the tactics of the other side in this overall debate. Nationalism with its aggreivable footings in historical losses. Dont listen to me, you need to make the debate as positive as possible, no use sounding bitter.
    Suhayl – i read your carefuly relevantly plugged book review for “Bombay Baby” in the Scotsman concerning Indian Scots, and I voted to watch the muppets remake in the webpoll at the side of the page. -Superb
    Quick ot. Mil spend summary from the sipri records here –
    Military spending trend 2000 to 2010: dollar mean , GDP mean
    Iran $10 billion, GDP 2.5 % to 4 %
    UK $53 billion, 2.5% GDP
    US $375 billion in 2000, steadily rising to 690 billion in 2010, 3% to 4.7% GDP

  103. Ken W,

    I ain’t out to change the minds of nationalists bigots like yourself…Whatever, would make you think that?

  104. Nuid. Haditha. Terrible – little ones shot dead too.
    House #1— 7 killed, 2 injured (but survived), 2 escaped
    1. Abdul Hamid Hassan Ali, 76—grandfather, father and husband. Died with nine rounds in the chest and abdomen.
    2. Khamisa Tuma Ali, 66—wife of Abdul Hamid Hassan Ali
    3. Rashid Abdul Hamid, 30.
    4. Walid Abdul Hamid Hassan, 35.
    5. Jahid Abdul Hamid Hassan, middle-aged man.
    6. Asma Salman Rasif, 32.
    7. Abdullah Walid, 4.
    Injured: Iman, 8, and Abdul Rahman, 5.
    Escaped: Daughter-in-law, Hiba, escaped with 2-month-old Asia
    House #2— 8 killed, 1 survivor: Shot at close range and attacked with grenades
    8. Younis Salim Khafif, 43—husband of Aida Yasin Ahmed, father.
    9. Aida Yasin Ahmed, 41—wife of Younis Salim Khafif, killed trying to shield her youngest daughter Aisha.
    10. Muhammad Younis Salim, 8—son.
    11. Noor Younis Salim, 14—daughter.
    12. Sabaa Younis Salim, 10—daughter.
    13. Zainab Younis Salim, 5—daughter.
    14. Aisha Younis Salim, 3—daughter.
    15. A 1-year-old girl staying with the family.
    Survived: Safa Younis Salim, 13.
    House #3— 4 brothers killed
    16. Jamal Ahmed, 41.
    17. Marwan Ahmed, 28.
    18. Qahtan Ahmed, 24.
    19. Chasib Ahmed, 27.
    Taxi—5 killed: Passengers were students at the Technical Institute in Saqlawiyah
    20. Ahmed Khidher, taxi driver.
    21. Akram Hamid Flayeh.
    22. Khalid Ayada al-Zawi.
    23. Wajdi Ayada al-Zawi.
    24. Mohammed Battal Mahmoud.
    Source: United for Peace and Justice[22]

    Trial 2012
    During the trial Sgt. Sanick Dela Cruz testified that he urinated on the skull of one of the dead Iraqis.[60] He also testified after describing how Wuterich shot the passengers of the car himself from close range ,”Sergeant Wuterich approached me and told me if anyone asks, the Iraqis were running away from the car and the Iraqi army shot them,”.

  105. From medialens
    Oliver Stone on Ron Paul
    Posted by gabriele on January 24, 2012, 8:52 am
    RCM: In Our History you ask if there’s “a potential wild card in an internal economic collapse of the empire”? Is America an empire? And if so, do you foresee the fall of the empire?
    OS: Yes. Yes, both. I don’t think it’s a wild card, I think it’s a given. There’s no way that we can continue this spending spree. In fact, I think in many ways the most interesting candidate – I’d even vote for him if he was running against Obama – is Ron Paul. Because he’s the only one of anybody who’s saying anything intelligent about the future of the world.

  106. Clark, I read that on PRess TV website while ago, could not find the link again. Basically what it said it was expected that by end of 2012, the trade will reach 20 billions.

  107. 24 January 2012 Last updated at 00:36
    Alex Salmond to deliver annual Hugo Young lecture
    Alex Salmond will give a lecture the day before his referendum statement to MSPs
    First Minister Alex Salmond is to argue England will benefit from an independent Scotland.
    Giving the Hugo Young lecture in London, Mr Salmond will say Scotland can be a “beacon for progressive opinion south of the border”.
    He will say Scotland’s current constitutional position means it cannot innovate as much as he would like.
    The SNP leader will return to Scotland on Wednesday to make public his plans for a referendum on independence.
    The lecture is in its eighth year and was set up in honour of Hugo Young – a Guardian columnist who died in 2003.

  108. Cleggover ”It is fantastic news that McDonald’s is creating 2,500 new jobs in the UK – and that over half of these posts will go to young people.’
    Yeah right. Graduates serving burgers and chips and the other junk.
    David Cameron and Nick Clegg served up generous helpings of praise to fast food giant McDonald’s after it pledged to create at least 2,500 new UK jobs this year.–McDonalds.html?ito=feeds-newsxml

  109. Private Eye mentions Alex Salmond and Rupert Murdoch cozying up.
    That can’t be good!

  110. bigbuachaille

    24 Jan, 2012 - 11:22 am

    I wonder how many people are aware of just jhow fervently Westminster is desperately seeking to divide and rule in an attempt to keep hold of the oil. Amendments to the Scotland Bill by Lord Caithness refer to removal of the Northern Isles from the Scottish Referendum, the ownership of the offshore island, Rockall and the final decision on Scottish Independence residing with the Prime Minister of the UK.
    Here are the 3 amendments:
    1. “A vote in a referendum held under subsection (2B) of this section which results in Scotland leaving the United Kingdom shall not be binding on the residents of the Orkney Islands or the Shetland Islands unless a majority of the residents of the Orkney Islands and the Shetland Islands who voted in such a referendum voted that Scotland should leave the United Kingdom.

    2. Rockall is owned by the United Kingdom and, in the event of Scotland leaving the United Kingdom, it shall be owned by the United Kingdom.”

    3. If a referendum held under subsection (2) results in a “yes” vote, the Prime Minister shall cause a further referendum, with the same question, to be held throughout the United Kingdom.”

    These amendments to the Scotland Bill were made by Lord Caithness, hereditary peer and Tory politician.

  111. @Mary, your post reminded me of a young lady whom I met on the train 3 years ago, she had been for an assessment test with DWP for an 18 months fixed term contract. She had a Post Grad degree in History, and said since graduating she had been flippping burgers in Burger King, she also told me there were 700 applicant for the 10 or so posts available, among them engineers, surveryors and many graudates.
    Yes, we can send more of them to McDonalds…

  112. @bigbuachaille
    You could not make it up!
    Complaint about the Earl of Caithness.
    Also see his Wiki page. ;)

  113. Marine gets three months in jail for massacring two dozen civilians
    More than six years after Staff Sergeant Frank Wuterich led a squad of Marines into two Haditha, Iraq homes and massacred two dozen civilians, the American serviceman in charge has reached a plea deal.
    For nine counts of manslaughter, Wuterich will get three months of confinement.
    Photo included; the all American Hero, United States Marine Staff Sgt. Frank Wuterich arrives for his arraignment at Camp Pendleton, California January 9, 2008.
    Saddam was a dictator, he had weapons of mass destruction he was going to nuke us in UK in forty five minutes. Now free Iraqis can enjoy their eternal rest and peace and apple pies and democracy, thanks to United States Marine Staff Sgt. Frank Wuterich.

  114. Mark Golding, there are Free Software (GPL) replacements for some routers’ firmware, reputed to be more secure than the firmware supplied. The Netgear DG834G is a very common router for which free firmware can be downloaded.

  115. “I ain’t out to change the minds of nationalists bigots like yourself…Whatever, would make you that?”

    Mr Murray supports Scottish Independence and you are posting on his blog under an article on that subject. Perhaps you are out to change the mind of “nationalist bigots” like him? Otherwise you are merely trolling.
    When you get the sponge out of your mouth, feel free to come up with some sort of reasoned argument instead of waffling nonsense.

  116. Staff sgt. Wuterich must be watching his back after his three month stint, minus the time knocked off for good behaviour, cause he shows all the signs of brainwashed pathological killer who will do it again. The survivors of Haditha have scorn heaped upon their grief and afaic, have every right for revenging this killing now that its obvious that there is no justice for them to be gotten in courts.

  117. john macadam

    24 Jan, 2012 - 2:50 pm

    just don’t ask the earl of caithness how hisife is doing……..

  118. john macadam

    24 Jan, 2012 - 2:51 pm

    that sd be ‘wife’
    just ruined the point, really

  119. Mark_Golding – o/t, if you want to secure your router further, do these things:
    * Set a complex wifi password
    * Change the default username/password of the router admin screen
    * Use the latest security system it offers, like WPA2.
    * Lock it down to only allow computers with specified MAC addresses to connect (this is super-secure)
    * If you have any always-on computers connected to your router, ensure all their file shares are well-passworded and firewalled.
    Also, remember that whilst activists need to be careful, most unrecognised wifi traffic is either background noise or a cheeky neighbour not wanting to pay for their own internet. My wifi indicator blinks continuously, but since I am well-protected, I don’t worry about it.

  120. I recommend Glenn Greenwald on the subject of American “justice” – regarding three cases (including Haditha) from only the past 24 hours:
    American ‘justice’? Corrupted beyond belief. (Americans? Don’t notice.)
    Meanwhile, as you probably know, the Irish people thought the 1916 rebels were daft — that is, until the British executed 15 who were identified as leaders, in Kilmainham Jail. (I’ve stood on the spot where they died.) No doubt London will do something equally stupid (not equally violent) before the Scottish referendum which will swing the vote for the nationalists. N’est ce pas?
    Just don’t do what we did for god’s sake – pander to Europe. Our government is not only about to pay 1.2 billion Euro owed by a now defunct bank to un-guaranteed European bondholders (with money screwed out of battered Irish taxpayers, naturally), it’s also about to break its neck to ensure the Irish don’t get a referendum on the upcoming treaty which will effectively remove our remaining sovereignty. Talk about doffing your cap. This is not what the men of 1916 fought and died for. (And while they moan on Twitter, Irish people are NOT out on the streets, not in Greek numbers anyway.)
    “Zombie banks are dragging Ireland into the ground”
    [I disagree with the title – the current Irish government hasn’t got the balls to say “F*ck off”.]

  121. Wonder what happened to Larry from St Louis/Yugostiglitz… perhaps he got eaten by the Wicked Witch of the West!
    Are you consumed, or consumer? That is the question.

  122. ‘Larry from St Louis’
    Every time he disappears, you start calling for him, Suhayl. I don’t get it.

  123. Yes John Macadam I see that his first wife’s parents were unhappy with the findings of the inquest into her death. The coroner seems to have been protecting him as mention of his infidelity was not allowed.
    Incidentally the coroner mentioned in the first link is Nicholas Gardiner, the same coroner who opened the inquest into Dr Kelly’s death. This inquest was never held as it was opened and adjourned on the same day followed immediately by the Hutton Inquiry which was set up by Falconer. {}

  124. > “Suhayl. I don’t get it.”
    I think i understand – Colouring in the cartoons. An artist would be remiss to ignore word and tint.

  125. Well, we now have an honourable, pink, rational and very welcome ghostly visitation from the long-deceased Binyamin Franklin. So, I was wondering where his compatriots with the other amusing pseudonyms had gone, it’s been so long…
    Perhaps there has been some Amelia Earheart event over the Pacific. Captain Noonan, Daniel Boone an’ all that final frontier business. One cannot help feeling that Craig’s website is the current final frontier – or one of a number of such liminal regions.
    Or perhaps they are still with us, closer than skin to bone, as Madame Blavatsky might have intoned. Can’t you feel it? Yes, I’m sure I feel a Larry in the house! Is there a Larry in the house?
    Ah, Nuid, for a bit of ghostly fun and hot jazz to brighten up the foggy January evenings! Wouldn’t you agree, Benny?

  126. daniel margrain

    24 Jan, 2012 - 8:22 pm

    Ken W,

    When you, as a nationalist bigot, has ANYTHING at all, get back to ME.

    Thank you.

  127. Suhayl,
    1932: Earhart landed in a field at Culmore, north of Derry. She had, of course, intended to fly to Paris.
    My uncle, who died a few years ago aged 91, saw Earheart crossing the coast of Ireland at low altitude, as he was standing in a field in west Donegal. He waved to her. He realised who she was later, when her flight was reported in the local paper.
    I’ll go with the ghostly fun and hot jazz – I hate this time of the year!

  128. daniel margrain

    24 Jan, 2012 - 8:32 pm

    To avoid any confusion, John Stack’s contribution at post 12 is the kind of petty nationalist bigotry that I’m talking about.

  129. Nuid – wow, what a wonderful story!
    Amy Johnson was the other one, possibly shot down by her own side, by mistake over the Thames.

  130. @daniel – I’m not all that keen on patriotic speeches of the kind that you’re referring to, but to be honest I didn’t find it bigoted. Bigotry requires for there to be negative discrimination, and I didn’t see any of that.
    I’d quite like to see Scotland get its independence without any ‘rousing patriotism’ – but as an Englishment I’d quite like to see Scotland get enough space to form decent, progressive governance. We’ll kick the Tories out in the rest of the union soon enough, one hopes!

  131. @Suhayl – are you having a seance for the spirit of Larry? Fun!
    I’ll get the kettle on and join you.

  132. bigbuachaille

    25 Jan, 2012 - 11:52 am

    I wonder if you are aware of developments within BBC Radio Scotland’s programming. “Newsweek Scotland”, which has been running for 30 years has been axed. The programme offered (must use past tense now) informative debate, invited internationally acknowlewdged experts and addressed in depth matters which concern Scotland, at this interesting point in her development. The programme cannot be said to have been financially profligate. The blog by the presenter, Derek Bateman, testifies to the shock, anger, amazement of many listeners as to why this invaluable source of information should have been removed. Questions as to the BBC’s motives have been raised in the Scottish Parliament and there is a Facebook campaign to support retention of the programme. Some have argued that allegations of bias and partiality might reasonbaly be made. BBC Scotland has proposed replacement by a Saturday version of the daily morning news programme. Such a news programme will, of necessity, offer no room for extended analysis and in-depth debate. A read through the various blogs will give you a flavour of the subjects which Mr Bateman brought to our attention with in-depth analysis. I wonder if you have any views on this strange example of programming. Here is the link to the last of the blogs:

  133. Daniel
    “To avoid any confusion, John Stack’s contribution at post 12 is the kind of petty nationalist bigotry that I’m talking about.”
    Well thats a relief, thanks for the clarification. It just looks like vague romantic twaddle to me. As others have pointed out “true Scot” comes across much like the daily Record’s daft car sticker campaign.

    I wouldn’t take his opinions as representative in any way though, as you appear to do.
    The people of Scotland will be doing the voting, that is everyone living there who are registered to vote irrespective of place of birth or whatever a “true Scot” might be. As far as I know the only people attempting to make an semi-ethnic definition of what a Scot is by attaching place-of-birth rights to the vote are the Labour party in an amendment to the Scotland bill. The SNP oppose this idea, as indeed do all those I have spoken to. Scotland has never been an ethnic polity: never will be. William McIlvanney once described Scotland, to rousing cheers, as “a mongrel nation”. That will not change.

  134. A bland ITV news report on the “referendum consultation” just now, ended with a generic mention of haggis and whisky on Burns night, and was immediately followed by a 10 second mention of british soldiers rowing across an ocean for charity, accompanied by a yacht advertising “Tallisker” along its length. Not sure if accidental or intentional tv dinner mind management – beware the spin-nacles.

  135. Ken

    Instinctively, I find patriotic appeals to nationalism to be an unattractive proposition – ‘the last refuge of the scoundel’, if you like. Salmond’s appeal to nationalist sentiment is disengenuous as it is ugly as he is well aware that Devolution Max, not full independence, is in Scotland’s best interest. This is what the Scots will vote for. They are not keen on biting the hand that feeds them. Salmond knows it too, which is why he is such a canny operator. All we need now is Devolution Max for the English.

  136. jon

    Devolution Max is the way to go. It just doesn’t make any sense to me to break up this already small nation of ours for the reasons I outlined. I am almost certain that the Catholic minority on the west coast will not be as as sanguine as you are about the break up of the union. If you think that sectarian nationalist Scots are not bigoted then you are wrong. I’ve met enough of them in my time to know that John Stack is one of them.

  137. Daniel, your sentence: “This is what the Scots will vote for. They are not keen on biting the hand that feeds them.”

    If you are well read then you will know that Scotland pays in more to the UK government than it gets back and you are therefore telling porky pies. If on the other hand you are merely ignorant you should look up Government Expenditure and Revenues in Scotland (GERS) in google.

    I must say though, you really should look at that sentence again, and then look in the mirror, before spouting on about ugly prejudice: you appear to be full of it yourself.

  138. The rationale being that the Scots will not vote for full independence?????….Hmmm, yep, kinda makes sense….Lol.. Everybody knows that Scotland is disproportionately subsidized by England….The Scots certainly know it which is precisely why they will vote in favour of Devolution Max. Salmond knows that maintaining the status-quo with one hand while increasing local autonomy with the other, is sure fire way of fleecing ever more sums from the Westminster coffers. Oh, and direct your slurs elsewhere.

  139. “Scotland has never been an ethnic polity: never will be. William McIlvanney once described Scotland, to rousing cheers, as “a mongrel nation”. That will not change.”

    Excuse me, but I’m not convinced, neither are the minority of Catholic Scots I talk to. You may me blind to Scottish bigotry, but I have first hand experience of it when I lived in Scotland, as have many other English folk currently living their. Nationalism is ugly, as are its potential consequences.

  140. Daniel:
    ” Everybody knows that Scotland is disproportionately subsidized by England”

    Well no Everybody doesn’t know that at all: only stupid people who refuse to look further than the Daily Mail are of that opinion. Did you read what I said? Can you Google GERS? What does it say?

    Dont tell me, just chew on it, or go back to your sponge.

  141. Not a Daily Mail reader. I hate it. Your point is a red-herring since full independence implies no UK subsidy. Are you seriously suggesting that Scots would prefer a non-subsidized Scotland given that the reduction in tax revenues acruing would inevitably disadvantage Scotland?

    The notion that so-called Scottish oil will necessarily buttress this which is usually the counter argument is a fallacy since ownership is a legal matter as yet unsettled. We then potentially get into the issue of who legally benefits from say, “English” coal. The constitutional ramifications resulting from independence are thus a minefield. Salmond knows full independence is a non-starter which is why the evolution Max third option was introduced.

  142. @Daniel, interesting. As an English person I have experienced minor anti-English prejudice, strangely from the extended family of a close Scottish friend at his wedding, at which I wore a kilt in his clan’s tartan. I was proud to be asked – despite what the sporran was made of! – and went ahead. But I attracted resentment from some quarters because of something the English did to the Scots before I was born, and I felt a bit silly (though intrigued), having to explain that I wasn’t responsible for it.
    If the people in Scotland go for Devo Max in a well-informed vote, then that’s fine with me. But I don’t have enough *reliable* information to hand to take your word for it that Scots would be financially disadvantaged by full independence. If I lived in Scotland, I’d read up on it a great deal more, but I’m still inclined towards full independence so they can have a proper crack at it.
    If a three-question vote was to be held, I wonder what would happen if 30% each went for full and max, and 40% for the status quo? Would that be a win for the union or would another vote be held for devolution of one kind or the other?

  143. Am I the first to see the Spanish government deny this story put about by the UK government. Is the UK Government deliberately deceiving the voters of Scotland.
    As to subsidy. Of course we’re subsidised. England subsidises Scotland. England subsidises Europe. England subsidises…. you get the picture. Nobody in Scotland ever paid one penny of tax, and every penny of tax raised in Scotland was wholly spent in Scotland. Not one penny went to the London Underground, or MoD HQ in London, or UK bases in the south of England, or all those lovely embassies abroad. All that was paid for only by the English who award their state employees a London Living allowance from their own money just for living in their own country

  144. On subsidy, I should mention again that age-old conundrum – mentioned partly in jest! If English conservatives feel that Scotland is a disproportionate cost to the Union, why are they so opposed to its independence?

  145. jon,

    I think the tories position is that a ‘united’ kingdom would be beneficial to the people of the UK as a whole, not least in terms of the more preferable negotiating and decision-making position it would be able command within the context of the EU. They clearly believe that the benefits accrued through the existing arrangements outway the potential costs. The breaking up of already small nations into even smaller ones, appeal to the worst human impulses and to me make no sense particularly during periods of economic crisis. I hate the tories, but on this I agree with them. Maybe Mr Murray is looking for an ambassador role.

  146. John Macadam,

    The people of the Shetlands and the people of Cornwall also pay taxes to the evil English in Westminster, and in time they too will doubtless demand independence? The SNP know very well that full independence is a non-starter which is why their calls for it are disengenuous. They have already admitted, for example, that independence will still involve Scotland being fiscally tied to the Bank Of England. Fiscal autonomy is a pre-requisite for independence. Five and a half million people will not be able to generate sufficient tax revenues to fund this barmy project and if you think that Germany has the appetite to underwrite independence during this period of austerity, think again. I have yet to hear a serious argument from the pro-independence side of the debate.

  147. There is a phrase, ‘No True Scotsman…’ which has come to bear a wider usage as in, for example, “No true Muslim/Christian/Hindu/Jew would do such-and-such so the perpetrators of such-and-such cannot be Christians/Muslims/Jews/Hindus/Whatever”. I knew there was an additional pharse wrt John Stack’s “true Scot” term. Just providing this for everyone’s interest.


  148. Heh, Suhayl – I beat you to it! See my comment at [23 Jan, 2012 – 5:44 pm] – and wasted on everyone ;)

  149. > I think the tories position is that a ‘united’ kingdom would be beneficial to the
    > people of the UK as a whole, not least in terms of the more preferable negotiating
    > and decision-making position
    Daniel thanks, I see what you mean. In the context of the “new political centre” (i.e. all British parties are right-wing free-marketeers of various stripes) that would make sense. But as a Lefty interested in a kinder path, I think the sum of justice is increased if part of the UK can break away and become more progressive. The Scots can thumb their noses at American wars if they wish, they can continue free higher education, and bolster their welfare state if they wish. Salmond recently spoke of a deliberately progressive path for Scotland, which (a) may have scared the bejeesus out of Westminster, and (b) could be infectious when the north of England gets to see how a progressive path makes a fairer society.
    I am not under the illusion that Scotland will be the land of milk and honey if they break away or go for Devo Max – and they will have surely some malicious skulduggery pitted against them. But I think the benefits of trying for this will trump any extra bargaining power that the unbroken UK has, given that England is sticking to the politics of austerity and privilege for the time being.

  150. Thanks very much, Jon, sorry, I missed that! Ah well…

  151. Scotland WAS a Nation State.
    300 years of skilled assimilation techniques by England pulled it into a group called Britain.
    Is anything really gone for ever? Must Balance Sheets, colonists and shallow cynics rule?
    What value Pride? What price a Scottish soul? What is unacceptable or unthinkable?
    Good Proud Englishmen would die for ENGLAND. Scots have the same love for SCOTLAND.
    Those days are gone now, and in the past they must remain, –Who says ??

    For an independent state to exist, like Ireland , compromises will be necessary. It is not possible or desirable to remove emigrants, Colonists, and scared people who now exist in Scotland in large numbers. Many will sacrifice independence to be part of a big picture, like Britain with the USA
    The fear of Protestant Scottish Nationalist control would drive many minorities to feel safer in Governance with outside control. The compromise necessary will have to be a comfortable, better, place for Catholics, Muslims, Colonists, Immigrants, Fearful people, as equal Brothers and Sisters. Why should they accept a change? They have no gut wrenching feeling for a nationalist Protestant State. Their worst nightmare is of everyone forced into Kilts, playing Bagpipes, attending Kirk, eating haggis. Of course this is exaggerated. But……
    A successful, inclusive, Proud, new, Independent Scottish State could provide its own morally strong world view and a local intelligent control.

  152. Good last sentence, John, if I may say! But to whom do you refer when you refer to ‘Colonists’? Do you mean those who serve the interests of empire (previously the British Empire, now the American one), or are you referring to English people who have made Scotland their home? There are abroad range of people as with all groupings. As you’ll know many of those people have been very active in a positive way in Scotland’s communities and hhave contributed hugely to the revitalising of many local economies. They also tend to be progressive, politically (this is broad-brihs, of course). I am aware of the house price problems, though wrt eg. Londoners (for example) buying up houses in rural Scotland. But I do not agree with the xeonphobic pejorative term, ‘Great White Settlers’ that some ascribed to these people.
    Incidentally, this is the first time I have become aware of any issue wrt ‘fear of Protestant Nationalism’ in relation to the SNP. Is that still a perception among some? I always thought the less tolerant Protestants in (at least the West of) Scotland tended to be very much ‘Queen and Country’, Orangeist, working-class Tories and so on. But this clearly is your field, so feel free to expound.
    Again, please understand that I am not attacking you, merely seeking clarification and exegesis.

  153. ‘broad-brush’, I meant to write!

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