Sunday, 28 August 2016

Ammerdown Centre on security

I particularly liked the 'Security for the future' piece.  But it did not mention the militarisation of diplomacy that is a 'new' phrase I heard on Radio 4 earlier this year or, the wisdom of not inciting and not supporting the Arab Spring, rebellion/revolution or democracy or 'freedom', that quickly turns to violence as we have seen with Syria since 2011.  The Jesus/Gandhi way is always best and is effective, eventually.

Wednesday, 17 August 2016

"Labour could face years of oblivion" Halesowen News 11 August 2016

Is not years of oblivion a far far better thing they do than have another right wing, conventional kind of leader that takes the nation into more wars on foreign soil without UN blessing?

Which side does the most aggression and violence?

We are expected and encouraged to loath Islamic State and to support the killing of every member in Syria, Iraq, Libya,Tunisia and elsewhere but, we imprison anyone who, in the UK, openly and eloquently supports IS and refuses to condemn their violence - like Anjem Choudary.

Is this a correct analysis or a correct reading of the situation?

Monday, 1 August 2016

Positive, constructive, helpful suggestions for Arriva Trains

Trains cancelled on the Cambrian Coast Line on Saturday 30 July 2016

  1. I would like a written explanation for the reasons, please.  Was it down to an oversight over maintenance of Network Rail infrastructure?
  2. When the electronic sign at Morfa Mawddach station gives you a phone number to ring, can your employee please have the bus times to hand to give to the stranded passenger.  The man I spoke to, soon after 2 pm last Saturday was clueless and spent so much time going to his supervisor whom I did, eventually, get to speak to but was not much better, that I almost ran out of battery on my mobile phone.  I did exhaust the battery when the number on the bus stop was not available and the recorded message could only give me another number to ring which I was then unable to write down.
  3. Your male employee I rang from Morfa Mawddach station told me that the 1608 train was running from Machynlleth but failed to tell me that there was also the 1805 train, too.  I wrongly assumed that the 1608 was the only train and pedalled furiously the 27 miles via Tywyn and Aberdyfi to Machynlleth.
  4. Can you please ask passengers for mobile phone numbers on the online facility when booking and paying for tickets.  If Arriva Trains had texted me to tell me of the trains cancelled and to tell me that I had to get to Machynlleth, with times of trains from there, I would have cycled a shorter route to get the 1805 train from there.  I would only have had to cycle an additional 17 miles instead of the 34 miles that I actually did, according to Google Maps.  My phone had been switched on throughout my cycle ride from Llanrug, near Caernarfon, that started soon after 0700 hrs.  But no text came through about the train cancellations.
  5. It was only at Machynlleth station that I found that there was an 1805 train to Wolverhampton.  At Machynlleth, your Anthony Hill, the drivers' team manager, was sympathetic, understanding and helpful.  He gave me two complimentary bottles of water that was just what I needed after a fast and long cycle ride in the heat to catch a train.  He said he would mention at his Monday's meeting my suggestion of texting passengers with information over train cancellations and the alternative arrangements made.  Did he do so?

The War Industry is far too dominant and important to our nation

Much higher standard of ethical teaching is required in our churches, schools and colleges/universities.  Teaching against arms exports and our armed forces landing and being based in so many other countries.  Sometimes fighting wars of aggression or, at least, having military bases in countries far from our shores.

Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Is Christian discipleship meant to embrace non-violence, justice and actually doing what Christ taught?

Doing our duty to Queen and Country; doing total discipleship to our God, JC1

Thinking about our nation's recent military interventions in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Syria, is there one verse in one of Paul's letters that has a bearing on those trouble spots?  And another as, perhaps, a slight corrective to that one?  What could I be thinking of?!

What would be the mind of Christ in those situations?

How then does that apply to our own Christian discipleship?  Should it affect how we vote, how we write to or, even visit, our MEPs, MPs and councillors?

Hi Tim,

Thanks for all these thoughts on walks etc - we will look forward to seeing you by 9am Friday - we will bring our own lunch and so be ready for the off.

re: your thought for the day, your question about the 'mind of Christ' is a really good one; unfortunately He doesnt offer any soundbites on Afghanistan, Iraq, the Labour leadership etc!!!! (No soundbites but much teaching in the Gospels, Acts and in Paul's letters, don't you think, Peter?)  So we have to rely on the big picture of scripture as a whole I think.  Both the Old Testament and the gospels were written during tumultuous times politically and socially  from slavery in Egypt, warring nations, constant attempts to stamp out the people of God, the failure of the Jewish kings to meet expectations etc;. In the NT there is the total occupation and dominance of the Roman empire with all the injustice and inhumanity that accompanied it.  The apostle Paul made good use of his Roman citizenship and was not, of course, rebellious or revolutionary.  Unlike our Western governments and the public opinion that allows them to be so.  But only when it comes to weaker countries who can't hit back (apart from with terrorism).

When it comes to Romans 13 v 1-7, my commentary has: "The Christian and the state.  Though the Christian has no right to punish (12 v 19-21), the state does have that right and the Christian must respect it.  Paul's confidence that the Roman state is, on the whole, just and beneficent is matched in 1 Peter 2.13-17; 3.v13."

How is the mind of God and of his Messiah expressed? Constantly reconciliation with God through his Messiah is the theme, BEFORE reconciliation with our neighbour is possible. So the sermon on the mount (which most people take as great advice for life) is all about mourning our sin, hungering for God and His righteousness, seeking peace with God first, and only then can we live in our messy world loving our neighbour in need.

So I cannot expect a world that doesn't live under the lordship of Christ to follow his way any more than the OT Israelites, or NT believers could expect those around them to do. Should those who do live in the lordship of Christ follow His (non-aggression) way, however difficult or costly?  That doesn't mean I shouldn't do 'all the good I can to all the people I can just so long as I can', but I think it suggests that the main witness of Christian believers is to enjoy living under the lordship of Christ.- enjoying his world, his peace, his forgiveness, and do all I can to be reconciled with my 'neighbour'.

This may not be what you wanted to hear, as you are still in'campaigning' mode, but I think our world will remain messy until Christ comes again !!  But our own little, individual world should have the minimum mess (or hypocrisy) in it.

Every blessing Tim, and thanks again for all the prep for our time away.

Peter.

This has been sent only to you, Les but is one reply to what Peter wrote on the back of the sheet I gave you yesterday.

You are right.  It is campaigning but, as I see it, it is also, for me, doing my duty to Queen and Country and discipleship to my God (JC1).  "Give to Caesar those things that are Caesar's and to God those things that are God's."

I think, this kind of patriotism puts Jesus Christ first and is also in line with His Spirit that cannot possibly be about overthrowing foreign governments.  In this century alone, these have been Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and now Syria.  Last decade, our friends and allies (and our fellow believers) in the States had seven countries as part of their Project for the New American Century.  All to be overthrown to become democratic and American compliant.  All contrary to Titus 3 v 1 and Romans 13 - being submissive and obedient to rulers and authorities.  Especially, the Spirit of Jesus cannot be about bringing democracy down the barrel of a gun, as all three main political parties we vote for believe and do.  My pastor, Les Hardwick, told me that the corrective to complying with the wishes of the authorities is the verse in Acts, "Peter and the apostles answered, 'We must obey God rather than men' " Acts 5 v 29.

Therefore, should Christian believers be voting for the main political parties who do war around the world, to try and keep Western compliant governments in power or, use military might to protect their vital strategic interests?  "Not by might, nor by power but by My Spirit says the Lord of hosts" Zechariah 4 v 6.

​Tim

Hi Tim 
Thank you for your e-mail in which you raise some very difficult questions.  In Matthew 24v6 Jesus said "You will hear of wars and rumours of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed.".He also spoke in chapter 25 of the need to look after the poor and hungry v 31 to 46.

The question of voting  has to be answered according to our own conscience accepting that someone else will act differently while following their own conscience. Not voting can open the door to  even worse forms of government     (there was a time when I would not vote.)

In September 2002 (15 February 2003) over one million people marched in London protesting against the war against Iraq, the war still went ahead!  The 1950s,saw many protests against  weapons of mass destruction, nothing has changed.  There seems little we can do! but we can feed the hungry, welcome the stranger, try to overcome poverty and vote for the party which seems most willing to tackle these issues!

Les

Thanks v much for these thoughts.

We need a much higher profile given to non violence, constraint not coercion, a new determination to eschew aggression, power, domination, colonialism, empire building, forcing our ways (and wars) on others.

A new determination to allow religious and political toleration, equality, justice tempered with mercy instead of constant punishment and revenge.  A rejection of hypocrisy in too much unethical foreign policy and the closure of Guantanamo Bay.  A rejection of the all out war on Gaza that our side perpetrated in July and August of 2014.  A rejection of lying that allows some of our political leaders to say, "Of course, I will press the nuclear button" to send much of humanity to kingdom come.  Obscene riches to allow, with Trident, such disgusting behaviour by our leaders and, when poverty and inequality is so rife too!

"What we sow today we will reap tomorrow".  Mayhem, instability, civil war in the Middle East is now spreading, with revenge attacks, to our own Western nations that are bombing, missiling Syria and Iraq - and, for many more years to come.  Nearly all the politicians we vote for have unleashed the dogs of war, opened the Pandora's Box, well and truly stirred up a hornet's nest of anger and hatred against Israel and the West.

I must come round today to get the meter reading that Places for People want today.

Every blessing

Tim

Friday, 4 March 2016

Condemning and understanding

CONDEMN A LOT MORE AND UNDERSTAND A LOT LESS


We had decades of child sex abuse and immorality by Jimmy Savile.  No-one persisted with their complaints to ever ensure that the man was stopped.  I think, the pendulum then swung in the opposite direction and, in recent years, we have seen celebrities, establishment figures even in their 90s and the dead, too accused of sex abuse from decades ago.  Even the demented, the dying and the dead are all eligible for investigation into their sex crimes in their youth and, then prosecution of some kind.


How can you get to the truth of the accusations when not just years but decades has elapsed since the alleged incidents?  Do you not get a mixture of mischief makers, misremembering, exaggeration, fantasists and, of course, genuine complaints.  But is it not one person’s word against another person’s?  How do you get justice done for the complainant/victim/survivor and the accused when you have to decide who to believe from not an ounce of evidence to weigh in the scales of justice?


It had to be a difficult judgement over the balance of probability when it came to long dead Bishop George Bell.  The Church of England believed the complainant/victim/survivor and paid her £15,000.  Peter Hitchens was not exactly thrilled!  I suppose the Anglicans felt that they had to give the benefit of the doubt to the complainant, in the present atmosphere.  An atmosphere of being seen to be strong in finding people guilty and punishing hard.  If you give the benefit of the doubt to the accused, you are seen as being a namby pandy, wishy washy, a weak, pathetic liberal.  Only might and strength are respected between peoples and, on the world stage between nations.


It seems to me, as though decision makers and the Police are over-compensating for their careless and unbelieving attitude for decades by going overboard now - since the Savile abuses came to light.  From under-reaction to over-reaction.  We never seem to be able to get things right and to act proportionately and sensibly.  But, then, how can you possibly tell who is telling the truth when decades have passed and there is no evidence?  Is justice pot luck?


Does time temper justice if justice tempered with mercy no longer does?


Should there be a statute of limitation, as some countries have?


Is there ever a danger of a witch hunt?  Have the Savile abuses and inaction awoken memories and anger in those who have been sexually abused by him and many others?  Understandably, they now want something done to assuage their feelings and to give them closure.


Sex abuse victims are now given full attention.  Men are under suspicion more than ever before of predatory behaviour or luring girls and women.  Yet, from what I see, the foreign victims of UK wars of (often) aggression in our 102 consecutive years of war in foreign lands, get little attention.  We do all we can to keep these refugees out, in fact and to forget the whole ghastly business of migrants fleeing war, poverty and environmental degradation.  We convince ourselves that all that is nothing to do with us because we are in no way responsible!  We have been groomed to accept that and, that our aggression is sadly essential in a fallen and failed world but, anyway, we are the good guys getting rid of Communists, evil dictators, jihadists and extremists.  We are the knights in shining armour and the millions of victims of our aggression have to put up with it for the greater good.  We, certainly, have no responsibility for them.


Over the Adam Johnson case, I heard on the ‘Jeremy Vine Show’, one caller talking of national hysteria over sexual activity between young people.  Another caller mentioned decision makers wanting to be seen doing much better on sex abuse cases than they did over Savile (my over-compensating pendulum swing) .


Is not uncovering a cover up or, exposing abuse or, misuse of public money or, malpractice or maladministration or any wrong-doing by others an honourable endeavour?


Hence, since the 1980s, I have been doing what I regard as exposing misdeeds and uncovering dereliction of duty.  From the KBH motorway bypass alongside a fast rural trunk road and main line railway to today.  Today, thirty years on, I am trying to get the trains back on that same line further north that is not used.  It would bypass Brum and take some road and rail congestion out of their Grand Central Shopping Centre and basement station, as well as our Black Country.


Hence, my writing exposes:

  • Idiocy in dismantling first the tram network and then the rail network, failure to mothball the rail lines and, failure to correct their stupidity in 50 years.
  • Failed to build the W approach tunnels when Westside was being built in the 1990s.
  • Failed to build the E approach tunnels when the Bull Ring was being rebuilt in the next decade.
  • After 50 years, 78 Km of unused or goods only, double track rail lines alongside or near congested roads in the Black Country and Birmingham.
  • Further 58 Km from Walsall to Derby via Lichfield is still not available for passenger trains.
  • 2 important rail curves still not built - after 50 years.
  • Failed to link the Merry Hill monorail to the main line railway and to open it at the same time.
  • £750 m (all rail money?) for Grand Central Shopping Centre with the main line station tagged along as an afterthought and stuck in the basement.
  • Now, a plan for, possibly, transport money going for subsidising the M6 Toll to further reduce the amount of money for urban Beeching rail reversals in the Black Country and Brum.
  • The W Midlands Combined Authority remains corruptly biased towards road schemes; secondly, towards super expensive tram extensions in Birmingham city centre; thirdly, £12 m for a second rapid transit mode to duplicate the first, trams.  What little money is left over may then go to Brum rail schemes.
  • Beeching rail reversals continue to be the forgotten, the sad Cinderella of the Midlands, as traffic choked roads and rail lines get ever worse as the populations rises.

Tuesday, 1 March 2016

Corrupt transport practices

This is a scandal, a disgrace and has gone on for decades.
  • 78 Km of unused or goods only, double track rail lines alongside/near congested roads in the Black Country and Birmingham.
  • Further 58 Km from Walsall to Derby via Lichfield is still not available for passenger trains.
  • 2 important rail curves still not built - after 50 years.
  • £750 m (all rail money?) for Grand Central Shopping Centre with the main line station tagged along as an afterthought and stuck in the basement.
  • Now, plan for transport money going for subsidising M6 Toll to further reduce the amount of money for urban Beeching rail reversals in the Black Country and Brum.
  • The W Midlands Combined Authority remains corruptly biased towards road schemes; secondly, towards super expensive tram extensions in Birmingham city centre; thirdly, £12 m for a second rapid transit mode to duplicate the first, trams. What little money is left over may then go to Brum rail schemes 
  • Beeching rail reversals continue to be sidelined in the Midlands.
YOU ONLY GET WHAT YOU ASK FOR!

THANKS to all those who saw the forgotten railway on Sunday, 21 Feb.  We are forbidden, even after 50 years, to have our trains back.  Don't stand for it!

If you think that every mile should be available for us to travel on by diesel train (in the first instance) and from Stourbridge to Walsall (later to Lichfield and Derby) please say so to:

Patrick McLoughlin, Secretary of State for Transport                     patrick.mcloughlin@dft.gsi.gov.uk
​Claire Perry​,  Rail Minister claire.perry@dft.gsi.gov.uk  
Cllr Bob Sleigh, Chair of the W Mids Combined Authority      rsleigh@solihull.gov.uk
Cllr Darren Cooper, Vice Chair                                        darren_cooper@sandwell.gov.uk
James Aspinall, Managing Director, Centro                   jamesaspinall@centro.org.uk
Laura Shoaf, W Mids Integrated Transport Authority                     laurashoaf@wmita.org.uk
Stuart Everton, Black Country Director of Transport             stuart.everton@wolverhampton.gov.uk

Don't forget to remind them that they do have to write an unbeatable business case first!!

Don't forget to ask them to all go down to London and pay a visit to our Patrick and Claire for them to agree the transfer of funds from the two short sections for electric trams to be used instead for the full 21 Km for diesel trains.  They have enough money in the bank already (£207 m when they only need £72 m).

THANKS V MUCH!  They must be very fed up hearing from me.  One person can easily be ignored, as I am.  Put all 7 in the one e-mail, if you like.  Think up your own cheeky or attention grabbing subject field.


THE PLANNED BREAK UP OF THIS MAIN LINE RAILWAY IS PERMANENT AND A DISGRACE:


The UK’s only unused, major, North-South main line railway is to be sectioned up into:
from south to north, we have planned,​ in order,
  6 Km: daily, 25 waggon goods trains from Port Talbot to Round Oak, via Stourbridge Jct
  4 Km: Light Rail Metro trams (£310 m for 12 Km, inclu 4 Km of road running)
  2 Km: Very Light Rail shuttle trams, through Dudley Tunnel to Cinder Bank road
  4 Km: Light Rail Metro trams (£310 m for 12 Km, inclu 4 Km of road running)
  3 Km: Empty, private space of linear wilderness of shrubs, trees, Himalayan Balsam (an illegal plant)
  2 Km: of passenger trains - Bescot to Walsall
TOTAL: 21 Km   (approx distances)

This is 21 Km of a 74 Km main line railway between Stourbridge Jct and Derby through the increasingly densely populated and road/rail congested Black Country - the boroughs of Dudley, Sandwell and Walsall, with a population of a million.  Diesels and four rebuilt stations is £72 million (based on last year’s rural Beeching reinstatement in Scotland at £6 m per Km).
My reasons​ for wanting the trains back on every kilometre (​at a quarter of the price​ of trams on 8 Km, plus road running on 4 Km)​ instead of trams on 8 Km of the main line railway​:
  1. It is the UK's last remaining, easily reinstated north-south main line railway between Stourbridge and Derby.  Therefore, the most important unused rail line.
  2. The only one between train congested Grand Central Shopping Centre/basement station and the Hereford to Shrewsbury Line
  3. 74 Km between the two towns of Stourbridge and Derby.
  4. 21 Km between Stourbridge and Walsall that urgently needs to be reinstated first.
  5. This would be only the 3rd Beeching reversal in 50 years in the Black Country and Brum.
  6. Only 12 Km needs to have the track relaid and four stations rebuilt to give everyone 21 Km of passenger line, once more.
  7. COST: 12 Km x £6 m per Km = £72 million, including the stations (based on Beeching rural rail reversal in Scotland last year).
  8. It reduces chronic and worsening road and rail congestion in the Black Country and Brum.
  9. Quicker, simpler, cheaper and easier to achieve than 12 Km of road and rail running trams that the councillors and Centro officers have failed to achieve in 35 years of trying.
  10. If they were ever to succeed, it would destroy for an eternity and beyond, the possibility of passenger trains from London Paddington and the North being seen again in the Black Country!

Friday, 26 February 2016

Robin Yassin-Kassab

Dear Adrian

You invited Robin to speak at last year's book festival.  He was a powerful, persuasive, oratorical speaker that made me feel uncomfortable.  He was very different from Frank Gardner's measured tones, who was on the same platform.  Frank could see all sides of the problem and spoke with quiet authority.  Robin, at one point, got carried away into a rabble rousing piece of eloquence that drew great applause!  I did not join in.

At the end of the festival, in the tent outside the front entrance to the County Buildings, there were slogans posted on two or three boards and all written by your speakers.  One, posted by Robin, had "To be rid of IS, you have to be rid of Assad" (or words to that effect, I believe.  It could have been the other way round).  In other words, Robin was espousing the violent and undemocratic overthrow of a UN recognised and legitimate government in Syria.

My friend and host with whom I was staying, Mike Clayton when I told him commented, "I would prefer the festival not to get into politics."  For me, politics is all about morality, law and order and keeping within the socially accepted bounds.  I felt, Robin overstepped the mark in supporting violent rebellion against the government in Syria.  On the other hand, we cannot of course stifle free speech.  And, of course, the West for five years has and still does support the removal of Assad by force.  I just felt that Robin went too far.

I would be glad to read your perspective on Robin's contribution as to whether it was acceptable.

I would love to hear again, what exactly he did say.  But only you have access to the archive!

With best wishes

"They (Russians and Iranians and 'held by all sides') fear the collapse of another state in Damascus ... they (all sides) don't need another collapsed state." 

Lyse Doucet OBE, a Canadian journalist who is the BBC's Chief International Correspondent on Sunday 28 Feb 2016 on 'Broadcasting House', Radio 4.

'Robin has played his so sincere but ignoble contribution in supporting the overthrow of a legitimate government to bring about yet another collapsed state.'  My conclusion from reading his blog and hearing him speak at Wigtown last year.

Dear Adrian

Thanks v much for your thoughtful and excellent comments.

Robin's trenchant support for the Syrian rebels, although in line with US, UK, NATO five year foreign policy, has brought about another failed state in the Meddle East and hordes of refugees fleeing the mess that our employment in armaments, arms exports, our taxes and our foreign policy has contributed to.

I now think, the long standing support for the overthrow of UN recognised but unsavoury governments from our Western point of view, should no longer be given a voice unless there is an equally strong, eloquent and oratorical speech giving the other side of the case.  The latter was lacking when it came to Robin's oratory.  My feeble effort in a brief question was easily flattened by Robin.  When I tried to make a point to him, afterwards I got such an eloquent ear bashing that I switched off and missed his over emphatic answer, completely.  I am intellectually slower than him and so I could not keep up with his speed of speech!  I am now returning to read his blog to understand why getting rid of Assad is so important to him, even though the consequences are so horrifying.

I much look forward to hearing Robin again this autumn at the festival.  But should he not be in debate with another eloquent politician like George Galloway, Adrian?  That would be another full house.  The clash of the titans!

All the best

Thursday, 11 February 2016

Are we white Westerners in any way responsible for instability, turmoil and warfare in the Middle East?

From our track record of warfare, around the globe, in every single year since, at least 1914, we are probably killing more humans in Syria and Iraq than Islamic State is.  Did we stir things up in the region in the first place, over ten decades of cheeky, oil motivated, military intervention in the Middle East?  Especially, since the end of our war in Afghanistan on 31 December 2014, the end of our warfare in Iraq and our support for rebellion called the Arab Spring?

Unlike Western behaviour in their region, at least Islamic State with their conquests, give the inhabitants the choice of staying put and remaining Muslims if they convert to their fundamental interpretation of Islam or, converting to Islam if not Muslims or, paying taxes to Islamic State or, moving out.  The Western way was to bring God, guns and germs to the original inhabitants in the case of our North American conquests of the 17th and 18th centuries.

Killing the adherents of Islamic State in an attempt to exterminate the lot of them, seems to me to be a rather tall order.  Indeed, futile.  Far better to stop our violence and aggression and to welcome those fleeing Islamic State and Western/Russian air strikes.  At least, we can then be sure that all the refugees are fleeing Islamic State and not Western/Russian bombs.

Western policy is to remove the legitimate government in Syria and to extinguish Islamic State.  Russia policy is to support the Syrian government.  You could argue that we, once more, are over throwing a government down the barrel of a gun and the communist/capitalist Russia are upholding the lawful government.

Thursday, 21 January 2016

Fortress Europe and Fighting Europe

My thoughts after reading 'Fight for the heart of Europe' in 'New Internationalist', Jan/Feb 2016


My very biased, unbalanced, self critical and jaundiced view of what the rich and powerful nations do to the weak, poor and defenceless nations that we can attack without fear of them attacking us.  I know they are also escaping Islamic State but, I think, their thousand of fighters is the whirlwind from NATO sowing the wind over 100 years of drawing straight line boundaries and overthrowing governments in the Meddle East to get the 'right' governments that toe the American/Western line.
​​
Migrant rush to N Europe to escape American, European (and now Russian since Sept 2015) death from the air, only to face death from the sea that the European governments allow.  Very nasty behaviour.
or,
We have a second go at wiping them out by refusing to give them safe passage from our fire and flame from the air.  Very immoral.
or,
Fugitives from American and European rocket fire flee to our shores to be on the safe side of the attackers, instead of remaining on the dangerous ​side of the attacked.  Very sensible.

Never before has there been such a chaotic, disorganised, free for all to get away from wars that we have initiated or revolutions (Arab Spring and regime changes) that we support.  We end up killing people with our direct attacks in the Meddle East.  Those that escape our drones and precision air strikes then have to run the gauntlet of death by drowning or hypothermia in the Med.

We do nothing or very little to stop the desperate from dying because too many are already arriving successfully to take our jobs, our green belt with their housing and our NHS beds.  The cheek of it!  But this is a most dishonourable and immoral stance, especially when we are largely responsible for the wars they are fleeing from.  And wars, in every single year since 1914, has been a natural and normal part of our foreign policy around the globe - to this day.

Thursday, 14 January 2016

Project for the New American Century

Written 13 November 2013 from internet search:-
Wes Clark, former NATO Supreme Commander, 4 star General, US Army (retd) said:
He believes NATO should have attacked Afghanistan.  It was not to be one of the seven countries to be attacked in five years as part of the Project for the New American Century to destabilise the Middle East.

7 countries: Syria, Iran, Iraq, Somalia, Libya, Lebanon and Sudan.
1991 Desert Storm to oust Saddam from Kuwait.
"The purpose of the military is to start wars."
"The purpose of government is to start wars, change governments and to destabilise the Middle East.  Not to deter conflict but to invade countries and to have a Pentagon hit list."
No peacekeeping, no nation building.

Project for New American Century was initiated by Richard Perl, Paul Wolfowitz, Donald Rumpsfeld, Dick Cheney.

March 1991 Shia uprising.  Where?

SELF:  I do find it suspicious that it is always the Christian West that is so good and perfect (except for Hitler) and the Muslim Arabs (except our valuable ally that uses beheading, Saudi Arabia) are always so wicked when they use violence against us (especially beheadings).  Only we are the ones who are allowed to use violence/terrorism and to kill in order to stop the killing of our own.

from Wikipedia:
Wolfowitz Doctrine is an unofficial name given to the initial version of the Defense Planning Guidance for the 1994–99 fiscal years (dated February 18, 1992) authored by Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Paul Wolfowitz and his deputy Scooter Libby. Not intended for public release, it was leaked to the New York Times on March 7, 1992,[1] and sparked a public controversy about U.S. foreign and defense policy. The document was widely criticized as imperialist as the document outlined a policy of unilateralism and pre-emptive military action to suppress potential threats from other nations and prevent any other nation from rising to superpower status.
Such was the outcry that the document was hastily re-written under the close supervision of U.S. Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Colin Powell before being officially released on April 16, 1992. Many of its tenets re-emerged in the Bush Doctrine,[2]which was described by Senator Edward M. Kennedy as "a call for 21st century American imperialism that no other nation can or should accept."[3]

Here is unilateralism related to attack or pre-emptive military action.  Very much more of this kind of unilateralism than my kind which is to give up the most immoral, civilian wipe out of total destruction that is nuclear weapons.

Attack unilateralists are the problem.

God, the Universe and Earth

I think it must be a sheer fluke that in an eternal, infinite universe, planet Earth seems to be the only body in Space that has life.  Why did God do it only once and on such a small, insignificant sphere in the universe?  The earth is a speck in God's universe.

Arab Spring

Written on 28 November 2014:
3.2 million refugees have fled Syria.  UN has asked Western governments to accept 100,000 of the most vulnerable.  In Jan 2014, the govt U-turned and said they would admit 500 Syrian refugees.  Only 100 have arrived under its Vulnerable Persons Relocation Scheme.

The UK and other Western nations fully supported and egged on the Arab uprisings in recent years.  However, we don't want to take the refugees from all those uprisings that we love to see and fuel with our British air strikes and weapons that bring them freedom and democracy down the barrel of a gun.

Sunday, 27 December 2015

No air strikes on Syria because:

Over the decades, NATO air strikes have always killed more innocents than fighters.  We end up doing more harm than good and making more enemies than friends.  Totally counter productive and thoroughly evil!

That should be the only argument (the killing of civilians) to stop the Western bombing (and now Russian air strikes, too) of even Iraq.

Aha, aha!  But UN has said to take “ 'all necessary measures'  to prevent and suppress its terrorist acts on territory under its control in Syria and Iraq."  That was the 15 members of the Security Council.  It was not the more than 190 members of the General Assembly of all the nations.

Bombing will not get rid of Islamic State.  They are bigger and stronger than ever after 18 months or so of such barbarity.

Military meddling in yet another Muslim majority country follows on from Egypt, Iran, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya - and, now Syria. 

We have given ourselves permission to bomb yet another country.  It continues our disastrous and aggressive foreign policy that has turned parts of the Meddle East into a bombing ground, a killing field and well over a million refugees fleeing from the Western fire and flames from the air.

Al Qaeda enraged the US/UK/French bull by 9/11.  Al Qaeda poked the snake and got just the reaction they wanted.  Bombing in far off countries is not effective.

Is this poetic justice?  We must be to blame for the mayhem, murder and mass migration to some of the countries striking the Muslims.  "12 million displaced people of Syria." (John Finnemore on the 'Now Show' 18 Dec 2015)  And, we magnificent, so magnanimous Brits take 20,000 fleeing from our bombing and over all of five years, too.  Never mind Germany taking one million in this year alone.
The opening of the debate over whether Britain should bomb Isis targets in Syria may have been uninspiring but it later picked up and the backbench contributions have generally been impressive. Here are 10 of the best.

Benn:
Benn’s speech was hotly anticipated, as he would be speaking in opposition to his leader, Jeremy Corbyn. He did not disappoint, and it was an electric moment.

Benn began by saying that although he would vote differently from Corbyn, he was proud to be in the same party as him. He says Corbyn is not a terrorist sympathiser, referring to remarks made by David Cameron on Tuesday “He is an honest, a principled, a decent and a good man,” he said.

Here is the final section of the speech, which was greeted by (a very unusual) round of applause in the chamber.
Mr Speaker, I hope the House will bear with me if I direct my closing remarks to my Labour friends and colleagues on this side of the house. As a party, we have always been defined by our internationalism. We believe we have a responsibility, one to another. We never have and we never should walk by on the other side of the road.
And we are here faced by fascists. Not just their calculated brutality, but their belief that they are superior to every single one of us in this chamber tonight and all of the people we represent. They hold us in contempt. They hold our values in contempt. They hold our belief in tolerance and decency in contempt. They hold our democracy – the means by which we will make our decision tonight – in contempt.
And what we know about fascists is that they need to be defeated and it is why, as we have heard tonight, socialists and trade unionists were just one part of the international brigade in the 1930s to fight against Franco. It’s why this entire House stood up against Hitler and Mussolini. It’s why our party has always stood up against the denial of human rights and for justice and my view, Mr Speaker, is that we must now confront this evil. It is now time for us to do our bit in Syria and that is why I ask my colleagues to vote in favour of this motion tonight.
Farron:
In a debate that has involved a lot of dry discussion about strategy and the composition of opposition forces in Syria, Farron’s speech stood out because it was unashamedly emotional and passionate.
“The spectre of the Iraq war in 2003 hangs over this house and hangs over the whole debate that we’re having in this country,” he said. The late former Lib Dem leader Charles Kennedy had called for intervention in Bosnia and opposed the “counterproductive and illegal” Iraq war – both principled stances, Farron said. “I am proud of Charles on both counts.”
He said his decision – the toughest he has ever made – was influenced by his experience of visiting the refugee camps on the Greek island of Lesbos.
I can give you anecdote after anecdote that would break your heart but one in particular is a seven-year-old lad being lifted from a dinghy on the beach at Lesbos and my Arabic interpreter said to me: ‘That lad has just said to his dad: “Daddy, are Isil here?”’
I cannot stand in this house and castigate the prime minister for not taking enough refugees and for Britain not standing tall as it should do in the world and opening its arms to the desperate like we have done so proudly for many, many decades and throughout our history, if we do not also do everything in our power to eradicate that which is the source of those people fleeing from that terror.

Margaret Beckett, former Labour cabinet minister
Beckett’s speech was impressive for opposite reasons; while Farron appealed to the heart, she calmly and rationally challenged the arguments against airstrikes, speaking with the authority her experience gives her.
A former Labour deputy leader, she was briefly foreign secretary at the end of Tony Blair’s time in office. Until the debate, it was not known how she was going to vote.
She insisted it was wrong to do nothing.
Some say simply that innocent people are more likely to be killed. Military action does create casualties, however much we try to minimise them. So should we on those grounds abandon action in Iraq, even though undertaken at the request of Iraq’s government and it does seem to be making a difference? Should we take no further action against Daesh, who are themselves, killing innocent people and striving to kill more every day of the week? Or should we simply leave it to others?
She said bombing could make an impact.
There are those not opposed in principle to action who doubt the efficacy of what is proposed. A coalition action that rests wholly on bombing, they say, will have little effect. Well, tell that to the Kosovans. Don’t forget, if there had been no bombing in Kosovo perhaps a million Albanian Muslim refugees would have been seeking refuge in Europe.
She also said the UN had urged states to combat Isis “by all means”.
And she said it was important to back the French.
Moreover, our French allies have asked us for such support, and I invite the house to consider how we would feel, and what we would say, if what took place in Paris had happened in London, if we had explicitly asked France for support and France had refused.

Sir Gerald Kaufmann, Labour MP

Another Labour veteran, Kaufman struck a note of moral certainty as he explained why he was voting against expanding airstrikes into Syria.


He said Isis did not represent Islam and people were right to loathe it, but that was not the issue. Instead, the issue was what could be done to get rid of it, and he said he was not convinced by the government’s case. He said bombing would lead to the killing of innocent civilians.
The issue today is about what practical action can result in some way in damaging Daesh, in stopping their atrocities. If what the government were proposing today would in any way, not even get rid of Daesh but weaken them in a significant way ... I wouldn’t have any difficulty in voting for this motion. 
But there is absolutely no evidence of any kind that bombing Daesh, bombing Raqqa, will result in an upsurge of other people in the region to get rid of them. What it would do, it might cause some damage – it won’t undermine them. What it will undoubtedly do, despite the assurances of the prime minister, is it will kill innocent civilians.
I am not going to be a party to killing innocent civilians for what will simply be a gesture.

Alan Johnson, former Labour home secretary

Johnson was straightforward and unpretentious as he set out his reasons for voting with the government. His speech also included a sharp dig at Labour’s anti-war MPs.

The former home secretary said he backed airstrikes because he thought they would allow Britain to attack the Isis unit organising attacks abroad.
I believe Isis/Daesh poses a real and present danger to British citizens and that its dedicated external operations unit is based not in Iraq, where the RAF is already fully engaged, but in Syria. This external operations unit is responsible for killing 30 British holidaymakers on a beach in Sousse and a British rock fan who perished along with 129 others in the Paris atrocity a few weeks ago.
It is true that this unit could have moved out of Raqqa, but that is not what the intelligence services believe. In fact, just as al-Qaida needed the safe haven they created for themselves in Afghanistan to plan 9/11 and other atrocities, so [Isis] need their self-declared caliphate to finance, train, organise and recruit to their wicked cause.
He admitted it was a difficult decision and took a swipe at the Corbyn followers who have been attacking Labour MPs over this issue.
Is it a just cause, is the proposed action a last resort, is it proportionate, does it have a reasonable prospect of success, does it have broad regional support, does it have a clear legal base? I think it meets all of those criteria.
I find this decision as difficult as anyone to make, I wish I had frankly the self-righteous certitude of the finger-jabbing representatives of our new and kinder type of politics, who will no doubt soon be contacting those of us who support this motion tonight, but I believe that Isil/ Daesh has to be confronted and destroyed if we are to properly defend our country and our way of life and I believe that this motion provides the best way to achieve this objective.

Alex Salmond, former SNP leader

Salmond spoke against airstrikes with his customary force and clarity, and was more effective than Jeremy Corbyn at setting out alternatives.
He said the UK makes up 10% of the current flights in Iraq and will not make any conceivable difference in Syria, where there are “too many planes already chasing too many targets”. He said we spent 13 times as much bombing Libya as was spent on reconstruction.
He called on the government to instead focus on “interrupting and dislocating the internet strategy which they pursue”.
For one of our fast, smart bombs, we could have a whole squadron of people taking down [Isis’s] websites and stopping the communication and contaminating the minds of young people across Europe and the world. And here I very much agree with the leader of the Labour party about the interruption of the financial resources without which this evil cult could not function... Finally I would say this: we are being asked to intervene in a bloody civil war of huge complexity, we are being asked to do it without an exit strategy and no reasonable means of saying we are going to make a difference. We should not give the prime minister that permission.

John Woodcock, Labour MP

One of the most hawkish MPs on the Labour benches, Woodcock’s speech was notable for the bravery/recklessness/disloyalty (choose according to your preferences) with which he attacked his own party.
I will do everything I can to stop my party becoming essentially the cheerleader, the vanguard for a sort of angry, intolerant pacificism which sets a myriad of conditions which they know will never be met, and will ultimately say no to any military intervention. I think that some of the people on the front bench now, and the people heckling behind me, need to think very carefully about the way in which they have conducted themselves over recent weeks. And we need to do better than this to be a credible official opposition.

Shabana Mahmood, Labour MP

She said she knows how hard it is to vote in favour and against military action, and that it is impossible to say in hindsight that a decision was 100% right or 100% wrong.Mahmood, MP for Birmingham Ladywood and former shadow chief secretary to the Treasury, said she will vote against the government. But her speech included a subtle rebuke to some of her anti-war colleagues, including perhaps Corbyn himself, who have suggested that they can avoid blame by voting against airstrikes.
She said she is a Sunni Muslim and that Isis is not representative of her faith. “In Isil, I am well aware that a Muslim like myself would be killed. So please believe me when I say that I do not simply want to see Isil defeated, I want them eradicated ... But I believe that the action proposed will not work.”
But, she said, that her instinct tells her that military action will not make the UK more of a threat. She concludes:
There has been some suggestion in the last day or so that when the time for apportioning blame comes, those who have voted in favour will have to step forward and there will be nowhere to hide. If you vote against, as I will, the implication is that you can avoid the blame. To those who think this way, let me say this: if only the world were that simple. There are consequences and innocent people will die through action and in-action. Whatever we do tonight we will all bear a measure of responsibility.

Jim Dowd, Labour MP

Dowd gave a pro-airstrikes speech striking for what it said about his own side but, unlike Woodcock and Johnson , he managed to berate his anti-war colleagues with jokes and good humour.
I will certainly not be voting for the amendment for a number of reasons, not the least of which is the weasel words and the sophistry it employs in saying ‘the case has not been made’. That’s the kind of thing the Liberals used to say before 2010 when they had to face up to responsibility.
He also criticised those opposing airstrikes for thinking they were morally superior.
It is almost the impression that those who say the case has not been made have a higher moral standard, a transcendent judgment superior to those who disagree with them.

Andrew Tyrie, Conservative MP

Calmly, forensically and without rancour, Tyrie gave a speech explaining why he could not support the government which contained one of the most comprehensive critique’s of Cameron’s case heard all day.
Tyrie said that the west has been intervening in the Middle East for more than a decade, and it has brought down odious dictators. He said, however, that acting as a reflex is not enough. Military action can be effective, but military action without an effective strategy is “folly”, he said, and that is why he will not be supporting the government .
The ruling out of western ground forces is very significant. It tells us that, after Iraq and Afghanistan, the west appears to lack the will, and perhaps the military strength, to commit the resources that might be needed to construct a new order from the shaken kaleidoscope of Syria. As in Libya, it would be relatively easy to remove a brutal dictator from the air, and perhaps also to suppress Isil, but it would be extremely difficult to construct a regime more favourable to our long-term interests.
We do not need to look into a crystal ball to see that; we can read the book. The result of over a decade of intervention in the Middle East has been not the creation of a regional order more attuned to western values and interests, but the destruction of an existing order of dictatorships that, however odious, was at least effective in supressing the sectarian conflicts and resulting terrorism that have taken root in the middle east. Regime change in Iraq brought anarchy and terrible suffering. It has also made us less safe.
Above all, it has created the conditions for the growth of militant extremism. We should be under no illusions: today’s vote is not a small step. Once we have deployed military forces in Syria, we will be militarily, politically and morally deeply engaged in that country, and probably for many years to come. That is why the government’s description of the extension of bombing to Syria as merely an extension of what we were already doing in Iraq is misplaced. We simply have not heard enough from the government about exactly what the reconstruction will mean.
The timing of this vote has everything to do with the opportunity to secure a majority provided by the shocking attacks in Paris. Everybody feels a bond with the French, but an emotional reflex is not enough. Military action might be effective at some point, but military action without a political strategy is folly. We have yet to hear that strategy, so I cannot support the government’s motion tonight.