Monday, March 27, 2006

Those people will not be bothered by an extra £45 a year.

We had all the song and dance last Wednesday about the Budget increase of Vehicle Excise Duty on Chelsea tractors. The Chancellor made his budget and announced the new rate for the most gas-guzzling cars to be increased from £165 to £210 a year. This increase of £45 a year will not bother motorists who can afford to run these large, powerfull and heavy cars. It is a drop in the ocean of the incomes of these people - they flash their wealth around, another £45 a year is peanuts to them. If anything this increase just adds to the class divisions in this country. This increase has been hyped up by the government as being a Green policy but I do not think it will have any effect on the sale of these types of vehicles. If you can afford to buy and run a Chelsea tractor an extra £45 will never put you off. The type of motorists who buy these cars will continue to use them because of the prescence they hold on the road.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Is this genocide?

I was shocked the other day when I read in my newspaper ...

The US military is investigating two incidents in which American soldiers killed at least 26 Iraqi civilians and then claimed that they were either guerrillas or had died in cross fire.

US troops have been notorious among Iraqis for their willingness to shoot any Iraqi they see in the aftermath of an insurgent attack. But it is only now that convincing and detailed information is becoming available about the killings.

In the most recent incident, in the town of Ishaqi north of Baghdad last week, Iraqi police said that US troops had shot 11 people, including five children, in their home. The local police chief, Colonel Farouq Hussein, said that all the dead had been shot in the head, according to autopsies. "It's a clear and perfect crime," he said. In an incident in the town of Haditha in western Iraq on 19 November last year, US soldiers went on a rampage in a village after a bomb attack and killed at least 15 civilians, according to witnesses and local officials cited by Time magazine in an investigation.

The US military first claimed a roadside bomb had killed a US Marine, Miguel Tarrazas, along with 15 Iraqi civilians caught in the blast. Later, a military statement said "gunmen attacked the convoy with small-arms fire" and in returning fire the Marines killed eight insurgents.

But after Time presented the US military with what Iraqis said had happened, an official investigation found that 15 of the civilians had been deliberately killed by US soldiers.

The bomb attack on the US Humvee took place at 7.15am. Eman Waleed, a nine-year-old child, lived in a house 150 yards from the explosion. "We heard a big noise that woke us all up," she recalled later. "Then we did what we always do when there's an explosion: my father goes in to his room with the Koran and prays the family will be spared harm."

The Marines claim they heard shots coming from the direction of Waleed's house. They burst in to the house and Eman heard shots from her father's room. They then entered the living room, where the rest of the family was gathered. She said: "I couldn't see their faces very well - only their guns sticking in to the doorway. I watched them shoot my grandfather, first in the chest and then in the head. Then they killed my granny."

The US soldiers started shooting in to the corner of the room where Eman and her eight-year-old brother, Abdul Rahman, were cowering. The other adults in the room tried to protect the two children with their bodies and were all shot dead. Eman and her brother were both wounded.

"We were lying there, bleeding and it hurt so much. Afterwards some Iraqi soldiers came. They carried us in their arms. I was crying, shouting, 'why did you do this to our family?' And one Iraqi soldier tells me, 'we didn't do it. The Americans did it'."

End of article:

Time Magazine story

Original Time Magazine story

I was shocked when I read this article. What right has America to adopt this gun-ho mentality? What these American troops have done is plain evil, I would call it genocide. They have been vindictive in simply murdering these innocent civilians, as if to level a score. This is not bringing freedom or liberation to Iraq. It is a brutal invasion of a country and civilisation that was of no threat to the West. With their slick public relations they are manipulating the language of war and making excuses for their murderous invasion. The Americans are making excuses routinely to try and talk down their violence towards civilians, only this time the truth has come out. Shame on America.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

The Road to Guantanamo

I watched this excellent drama documentary on Thursday evening on Channel 4. I am not surprised that this film won the prestigious Silver Bear for Direction for Michael Winterbottom and Mat Whitecross in competition at The 56th Berlin International Film Festival.

The viewer feels like he is watching a holiday video, a bit like Holiday Showdown. It follows the men from Tipton in the West Midlands as they go to Pakistan to visit relatives and holiday with them. As an extra holiday adventure they take a trip into Afghanistan, the culture is different and the scenery rugged driving through the mountains. I was inspired by the road trip through these mountains and the life of ordinary people living their normal lives. This was not a tourist trap holiday but a real, meet the people, experience. The Afghans are so poor, yet so friendly to these young men. Then their holiday video turns into a Holidays from Hell video as war breaks out and they are running for their lives. They witness the shock and horror of war on the civilians. But it gets worse, they are captured by the Northern Alliance and are treated very roughly with other people murdered alongside them. The Northern Alliance then hand the guys over to the Americans who treat them worse than dogs and send them to Cuba.

You see the appalling treatment metered out by the Americans to the civilians they have captured and taken to Guantanamo Bay. The Geneva Convention is not upheld by the Americans and their treatment of the prisoners is disgusting. All the prisoners are held without trial in this hell on earth. Torture is part of the routine and there seems no end in sight. Luckily the guys from Tipton are eventually released and after a debriefing from UK police are sent home without charge.

This drama documentary was a tale of their holiday from hell. I feel really sorry for the guys from Tipton, the civilians murdered in Afghanistan and the prisoners still held without trial in Guantanamo Bay.

Shame on you America for killing civilians in a country that is of no threat to you.

Shame on you America for ignoring basic human rights and the Geneva Convention.

Thank you Michael Winterbottom and Mat Whitecross for bringing this appalling tale into the public domain.

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