The Nether-World

May 28, 2007

Ihre Papieren, Bitte!

Filed under: Bliar, Civil Liberties, John Reid — netherworld @ 7:27 am

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Courtesy of Beau Bo D’Or

Warning: Swear blogging alert

So, here I am trying to recover from this awful flu bug which has incapacitated me somewhat, and thinking that as it’s a bank holiday weekend it might just be possible to get through it without without Blair or any of his minions managing to enrage me to the point where I have to write something. Fat chance! Anyway, this has pissed me off enough to go into swear blogging mode so apologies for the language, normal service will resume once I calm down.

Before we have digested John Reid’s latest attack on the European convention on human rights (ECHR) the stupid cunt has to go even further and try to bring back the racist Sus law. It didn’t work then why should it work now?

And as if that wasn’t bad enough, Blair has to put his ten pence worth in, turning my incandescence into apoplexy. Look guys, I’m not feeling well and it’s supposed to be a holiday. Is it really too much to ask for both of you political has-beens to shut the fuck up at least until Tuesday? Apparently it is. It’s hard to know where to start, but seeing as the return of the Sus law has been covered very well here, here, and here we may as well move on to the insane rantings of Blair. Before we do though I’d just like to repeat an important point that Devil’s Kitchen rightly makes:

Er… Does anyone remember that Identity Cards were not going to be compulsory to carry? You know, various Home office ministers pooh-poohed the idea that Britain was going to become some kind of jack-booted, totalitarian police state because you wouldn’t actually have to carry your ID Card with you?

I think this is what DK is referring to:

The bill made no difference to police stop and search powers, he [Charles Clarke] said, and there would be no requirement for people to carry ID cards at all times.

Right, moving on to Blair:

The absconding of three people on control orders because of suspicion of their involvement in terrorism has, once again, thrown into sharp relief the debate about terrorism and civil liberty. Within the next few weeks we will publish new proposals on anti-terror laws. Our aim is to reach a consensus across the main political parties.

Well, if they had been tried for their alleged connections with terrorism using phone tap and other currently disallowed evidence, they would, if found guilty, be behind bars now. The debate about terrorism and civil liberty exists because you are doing the terrorist’s job for them by removing the civil liberties we want to defend. Your aim is to push through even more Draconian legislation with the minimum of debate as usual using a relatively minor event as an excuse.

But at the heart of these new proposals will lie the same debate: the balance between protecting the safety of the public and the rights of the individual suspected of being involved with terrorism.

And where exactly is the “balance” here if everyone is now a suspect?

First let us clear away some of the absurd criticism of the police and security service over the three individuals who absconded.

As far as I’m aware no one is criticising the police and security services over this incident. The criticism has been leveled at you and your government for these ridiculous control orders.

After September 11, 2001, in common with many other nations, we passed new antiterror laws. In the aftermath of such an outrage it was relatively easy to do. We gave ourselves the ability, in exceptional circumstances, to detain foreign nationals who we believed were plotting terrorism but against whom there was insufficient evidence to prosecute. It was an important power. They were, of course, free to leave Britain. But we wouldn’t let them be free here. The ability to detain foreign nationals gave our services the ability to focus even more resources on the surveillance of British nationals who were a threat. It also sent out a strong signal of intent.

It sent out a strong signal of shoddy law making. If there was insufficient evidence to prosecute foreign nationals then there was no need to incarcerate them without trial, and when that was declared illegal to put them under house arrest. If there was a justifiable suspicion of malicious intent then they should have been kept under surveillance until there was sufficient evidence to prosecute.

In December 2004 these laws were struck down by the courts. In his famous judgment Lord Hoffmann said there was a greater risk to Britain through the abrogation of the foreign suspect’s civil liberties than through terrorism.

That’s right, a judge with a far better knowledge of the law than you possess realised that indefinitely imprisoning people without trial is fundamentally wrong in a free society. Not too complicated is it?

So we were forced to opt for the much milder remedy of control orders, applicable to both foreign and British nationals. These do not involve detention. They impose some limits on the individual’s freedom. They are better than nothing and have utility – because otherwise the individuals would have to be subject to even more intensive surveillance.

You were forced to do no such thing. You had the option to attempt a prosecution using phone tap and other surveillance evidence as other countries do. You just didn’t like the humiliation of a judge telling you you were wrong so you appealed the judgement and lost that too. The control orders were your sour grapes.

They were, however, much weaker than we wanted, perpetually diluted by opposition amendments, constantly attacked on civil liberty grounds.

Yes, there is a good reason they were attacked on civil liberty grounds. House arrest is still a form of imprisonment and there was still no trial to justify such an action. Are we learning yet? Obviously not.

In addition, after September 11, and again after July 7, we have tried continually to deport foreign nationals who were either engaged in or inciting extremism. Again and again in court judgments we were forced to keep them here. The important point is that although of the hundreds we keep under surveillance, many are UK citizens – as with these three individuals – many are not and in any event their influence and the ideas they import from abroad have a significant and radicalising effect. And, of course, we lost the crucial vote on 90 days’ precharge detention, despite offering a week-by-week court hearing throughout the 90 days.

If inciting extremism is illegal, then those who do it can and should be charged, tried and locked up if found guilty. Simple no? If someone is deemed dangerous or suspicious by the security services then surveillance seems the obvious course of action. I don’t see what difference it makes whether they are foreign nationals or UK citizens (like the July 7 bombers). Yes, you did lose the vote on 90 days detention without trial and you haven’t stopped sulking since. Hopefully, if you try to reintroduce it, you’ll lose the vote again because it’s damaging to civil liberties (even with a week-by-week court hearing) and completely unnecessary as we have seen.

So when there is an outcry about the three absconding, we should remember that consistently over the past few years, and even after July 7, attempts to introduce stronger powers have been knocked back in parliament and in the courts. Indeed recently it was said, again in a court case, that unless the British government could prove that a foreign national suspect would not be at risk of mistreatment in his own country, we were obliged to keep him here.

Er…outcry? The only outcry I heard came from you and that odious thug John Reid. You just don’t get do you Blair? The reason Parliament and the courts knocked back your attempts to introduce stronger powers is because Britain has a strong tradition of protecting civil liberties, and as Prime Minister you have a duty to do that also. Your dismay that the British government should prove that a foreign national suspect would not be at risk of mistreatment in his own country before you deport him is not a great surprise to anyone because we are all too familiar with your ambivalence to torture, whether it’s calling the American Guantanamo gulag an “anomaly” or pretending that extraordinary rendition doesn’t happen. The fact is, you couldn’t give a flying fuck if people are tortured even if they are innocent.

So the fault is not with our services or, in this instance, with the Home Office. We have chosen as a society to put the civil liberties of the suspect, even if a foreign national, first.

Yes, the fault is with the Home Office and you. Who else is at fault if your dodgy legislation fails? As you say, we have chosen as a society to put the civil liberties of the suspect, even if a foreign national, first. This is what makes us different from the terrorists and from the totalitarian regimes that you support. Strange as it may seem to you Mr Blair, that’s how we like it.

I happen to believe this is misguided and wrong. If a foreign national comes here, and may be at risk in his own country, we should treat him well. But if he then abuses our hospitality and threatens us, I feel he should take his chance back in his own home country.

Oh, fuck off! Civil liberties are not “misguided and wrong” you wanker. If foreign nationals abuse our hospitality we can either deport them (if we know they won’t be tortured or worse) or we can imprison them. We just need to prove in a court of law that they have indeed abused our hospitality. I can’t believe I have to explain this to a barrister.

As for British nationals who pose a threat to us, we need to be able to monitor them carefully and limit their activities. It is true that the police and security services can engage in surveillance in any event. But this is incredibly time-consuming and expensive, and even with the huge investment we have made since 2001, they simply cannot do it for all suspects. Over the past five or six years, we have decided as a country that except in the most limited of ways, the threat to our public safety does not justify changing radically the legal basis on which we confront this extremism.

You should monitor anyone, foreign or British, who the security services believe pose a threat to us, and activities shouldn’t be limited unless a good reason to do so can be shown. Time and money shouldn’t be a constraint on justice. What a bloody daft thing to suggest. With that logic you might as well bang everyone up up and dispense with courts all together… Oh, wait a moment… Of course, if your America’s foreign policies didn’t have half the world wanting us dead then maybe, just maybe, we wouldn’t have such a terrorist threat to confront.

Their right to traditional civil liberties comes first. I believe this is a dangerous misjudgment. This extremism, operating the world over, is not like anything we have faced before. It needs to be confronted with every means at our disposal. Tougher laws in themselves help, but just as crucial is the signal they send out: that Britain is an inhospitable place to practise this extremism.

Anyone’s right to civil liberties comes first. What is dangerous is departing from that stance. The tougher laws don’t seem to help. You keep introducing more and more and yet we are constantly being told of ever more numerous heinous plots against us. Saudi Arabia has even more Draconian laws and yet extremism is still practiced. Go figure.

This is part of a bigger picture, in which a considerable part of media and public opinion continues to blame us for causing the extremism.

Hmmm, I wonder why the media and public opinion would think such a thing. Could it be they have a point? Anyway, not all the media do think along those lines. Your masters at The Scum and The Daily Mail certainly don’t.

I was stopped by someone the other week who said it was not surprising there was so much terrorism in the world when we invaded their countries (meaning Afghanistan and Iraq). No wonder Muslims felt angry.

Er, yes…?

When he had finished, I said to him: tell me exactly what they feel angry about. We remove two utterly brutal and dictatorial regimes; we replace them with a United Nations-supervised democratic process and the Muslims in both countries get the chance to vote, which incidentally they take in very large numbers. And the only reason it is difficult still is because other Muslims are using terrorism to try to destroy the fledgling democracy and, in doing so, are killing fellow Muslims.

You remove two utterly brutal and dictatorial regimes. In both countries the civilians are being bombed to smithereens by British and American forces. Iraq has been utterly destroyed and is now in the grip of terrorism that didn’t exist before the illegal invasion. You lied to the world about Iraq’s non-existent WMD because regime change is illegal. The various civil wars are tearing what’s left of Iraq to pieces, you made no plans whatsoever for the aftermath of the illegal invasion. There are two million refugees and a further two million internally displaced people and over 600,000 dead. The country is now divided along sectarian lines with a government that seems almost as brutal as Saddam’s…but at least they got to vote for the candidates you put forward – Whoop di doo!! And you wonder why Muslims feel angry? You deluded idiot. Oh, and you are losing in Afghanistan too.

What’s more, British troops are risking their lives trying to prevent the killing. Why should anyone feel angry about us? Why aren’t’t they angry about the people doing the killing? The odd thing about the conversation is that I could tell it was the first time he had even heard the alternative argument.

Words fail me. So, the British army aren’t doing any of the killing, is that what you’re saying? Have you asked the family of Baha Musa why they might be angry? You might, by luck or design, managed to have a conversation with someone who perhaps wasn’t as well informed as he might be, but I bet there are opponents of your policies who could wipe the floor with you.

This extremism can be defeated. But it will be defeated only by recognising that we have not created it; it cannot be negotiated with; pandering to its sense of grievance will only encourage it; and only by confronting it, the methods and the ideas, will we win.

I think one way of defeating this extremism is by recognising that we have at the very least contributed to causing it, whether in Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Palestine or Lebanon. I don’t know whether or not it can be negotiated with but we have to acknowledge that there are legitimate grievances that need to be addressed even if we rightly condemn and try to counter the violence, because by dismissing the grievances you are provoking further extremism. Your confrontational attitude has made things worse not better and you seem to have run out of ideas (I’m not sure you had any to begin with). Fortunately for all of us, both here and abroad, you will be out of office soon and we can only hope that your successor is a bit more pragmatic (a forlorn hope I fear). The continuation of your policies will lead to even more defeat. Your conviction that your bankrupt policies will lead to victory remind me of the claptrap Mussolini came out with during the second world war… Vincere e vinceremo! (To win and we will win!). Well, we all know what happened to him. Here’s a reminder. What isn’t widely known is that when the bodies were taken down the children of Milan were invited to piss on the corpses (I cite my father as a source for that nugget). You Mr Blair deserve nothing less for your crimes.

*UPDATE*

More bloggage on this from Not Saussure and Obsolete

 

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May 15, 2007

Taking Liberties

Filed under: 7/7, Bliar, Civil Liberties, Protest, Terrorism, Torture — netherworld @ 4:35 pm

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This film is at the top of my ‘must see’ list. As the title suggests, Taking Liberties is about the attack on civil liberties that Britain has experienced since 1997 when Tony Blair came to power. Other than the various plugs for it I’ve seen on numerous blogs of all political persuasions and, of course, the information on the film’s website along with the trailer, I don’t know that much about it but it certainly seems to be a very interesting documentary and a fitting tribute to the Blair years. The film covers the following topics:

Tim Ireland over at Bloggerheads has seen the press screening and has written a positive review. Here is the trailer on YouTube:

Taking Liberties will be in cinemas from June 8. It is very unlikely to get anything like the same publicity that Hollywood bockbusters get and it will only be shown in a few selected cinemas so check the website’s cinema listings to find out where it is showing.

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May 10, 2007

A Date For Your Diary: June 27

Filed under: Bliar, Nu Labour, UK Politics — netherworld @ 5:56 pm

So we now know that Tony Blair will quit as Prime Minister on June 27. There are now just seven more weeks of him to put up with before we can celebrate his leaving with a party. The avalanche of political obituaries has already started with the BBC coverage being embarrassingly gushing. As promised, I have written one too. It can be found on Blairwatch. It’s rather long but I wanted to cover as much as possible of the last ten years of disappointment, scandal and mayhem. Chicken Yogurt has a fitting tribute to Blair as does Paul Linford. Anyway, now that the serious stuff is out of the way. A rather shorter and more humorous tribute to the Blair years can be found here.

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Tony Blair Will Announce His Resignation Today

Filed under: Bliar, Protest — netherworld @ 1:03 am

Well, hooray! I’ll have more to say about Blair’s time in office later over at Blairwatch, but for anyone in London who wants to express their gratitude to Tony for ten years of wars, corruption, sleaze and the erosion of civil liberties and democracy, the Stop The War Coalition is providing an opportunity.

Thursday 10 May Downing Street
3.30 to 5.00 pm: Symbolic protest when Tony Blair resigns
(Please note time change)

Tony Blair is resigning early and in disgrace due to his support for the Bush wars. He will announce his resignation on Thursday 10 May. We are asking for as many people as possible to come to Downing Street from 3.30 to 5.00 pm for a symbolic protest in memory of the thousands who have died as a result of his war policies. Please bring old shoes to lay at Downing Street. Local Stop the War groups are asked to bring their banners.

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May 5, 2007

Blair Deluded As Ever

Filed under: Bliar, Nu Labour, UK Politics — netherworld @ 1:57 am

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Okay, so I’m nowhere near as proficient with Photoshop as geniuses like Beau Bo D’Or, but after listening to Blair try to dress up Labour’s disastrous results in the latest elections as some kind of victory, I couldn’t resist this rather obvious gag. The spin coming from New Labour is hilarious. Of course, this sketch also comes to mind.

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May 2, 2007

Blair: The Final Days

Filed under: Bliar, Nu Labour — netherworld @ 4:02 pm

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courtesy of Beau Bo D’Or

You can really feel the end of the Blair era approaching now. The newspapers are full of stories about Blair’s legacy and his likely successor, Gordon Brown, is getting plenty of media attention. Not so for those who dare to think that there should be a proper contest and who actually offer an alternative to the policy of the last ten years (or is it 28 years?). Previously loyal politicians are distancing themselves from Blair with some truly hilarious hypocrisy like this:

Blair was too focused on spin, says Mandelson

Buff Hoon also came out with a classic in reference to Iraq:

we didn’t plan for the right sort of aftermath

Sounds a bit like “the wrong kind of snow” doesn’t it? No doubt there will be plenty of political obituaries for Blair in the coming weeks and I may well write one myself. For the moment though, a little light relief seems in order as we get demob happy. From Eclectech (via Bloggerheads) comes this rather good animated piece with a soundtrack by Phil Alexander.

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Click on graphic to enter the site and play the video

Of course when the happy day of Blair’s departure actually arrives, a small celebration is called for at this location.

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April 28, 2007

Blair’s Delayed Departure Explained

Filed under: Bliar, Nu Labour, UK Politics — netherworld @ 2:41 pm

It all makes sense now

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With thanks to Beau Bo D’Or

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Blair’s Legacy

Filed under: Bliar, Nu Labour, UK Politics — netherworld @ 1:57 pm

The closer we get to the moment when Blair finally throws in the towel, the more we hear about his legacy. Many people will obviously think his legacy will be Iraq, the cash for peerages scandal, the loss of so many civil liberties, the out-of-control surveillance society, the pensions scandal, his subservience to George Bush, the widening gap between rich and poor, the freezing of social mobility and the creeping privatisation of our public services.

Blair, of course, has other ideas, and in an effort to divert attention from his numerous failures which will be highlighted during next week’s elections, he has compiled his own 22 page dossier (yup, another dodgy dossier) of what he wants his legacy to be and distributed it among all Labour MPs. Needless to say it’s mostly garbage. It still links Saddam Hussein to 9/11.

“9/11 fundamentally changed the world,” he said. “We are still dealing with its impact, most obviously, in both Afghanistan and Iraq.”

Well, we can’t argue that 9/11 didn’t change the world but when it was used as a shoddy pretext for the illegal invasion of Iraq coupled with a load of nonsense about WMD pushed by Bush and Blair, his statement is as ridiculous as those still made by Dick Cheney. It gets worse:

“Our influence and access across the globe has increased with Britain helping to set the agenda rather than follow it,”

Yeah, right! Another depressing part for me was a bit about what his successors will inherit.

 

In an early contribution to the political obituaries that will mark his resignation, the prime minister said New Labour had created “the governing idea of British politics“, which all opposition parties had had to adopt in its wake.

Oh please God, no… How arrogant! Blair’s legacy will be what people remember, not what he tells them it is. Blair isn’t the first to do this obviously. Kings, emperors, and dictators have been doing this since the beginning of civilisation. Usually in these cases, however, the legacy is presented after the real, not the political death of the ruler in the form of an obituary or a commemorative monument. I wonder if Blair will be merely content to hand out a list for his loyal acolytes to recite on cue and, of course, the medal he hasn’t been able to collect from Bush, or whether he’s wishing for something more substantial like, say, the Res Gestae Divi Augusti that the emperor Augustus had emblazoned on various monuments around the Roman empire. At least Augustus achieved the things he boasted about.

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April 5, 2007

Common Sense Prevails – For Now

Filed under: Bliar, Iran — netherworld @ 2:49 pm

Thankfully, the crisis over the sailors and marines captured by the Iranians seems to be over and they are now home. In the end common sense prevailed and both sides sought to de-escalate the crisis before it evolved into something more frightening. There are lessons to be learned from this story, the main one being that dialogue and diplomacy are far more effective than hysteria and threats. This crisis ended despite Tony Blair not because of him. Blair’s intervention provoked the Iranians into changing their minds about releasing Faye Turney and to consider putting all the captives on trial. It may have ended sooner than it did if he hadn’t gone crying off to the UN. The Security Council seems to have realised how unhelpful this tactic of Blair’s was and watered down its statement. Even the European Union, which was far more supportive, balked at the prospect of imposing further sanctions on Iran as Britain hoped for.

The propaganda put out by Britain failed dismally too. It was just too difficult to portray the captives as being humiliated when they were shown to be healthy, eating well and relaxed even though there was obviously a degree of stress and the confessions and letters were extremely unlikely to have been voluntary. No matter how it is spun, there is clear contrast between the pictures we saw of the British personnel and the now infamous pictures we’ve seen of prisoners of the Americans, be it Abu Ghraib or Guantanamo.

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Compare and contrast

Blair’s statement on hearing the news of the release of the captives showed that his policies had failed and he had to resort to lies (as usual) saying that there were no negotiations.

“Throughout we have taken a measured approach – firm but calm, not negotiating, but not confronting either.”

That simply isn’t true. There were obviously plenty of negotiations going on behind the scenes. These negotiations led to the release of one of the Iranians captured by the Americans and an agreement to allow consular access to the others (it will be interesting to learn how they are being treated). So much for Bush’s no “quid pro quos”. The rhetoric was obviously toned down on both sides too. After returning from the Iranian new year holiday, cooler heads decided to end this crisis swiftly and President Ahmadinejad was instructed to release the captives, which he did with a theatrical touch at yesterday’s press conference and succeeded in surprising everybody concerned. Margaret Beckett expressing “regret” for the incident obviously helped a bit too.

Some sterling work was done by Craig Murray in pointing out that both the British and the Iranians were both wrong in their assertions that they were able to definitively tell in whose waters the sailors were in and getting the media to accept this point. It now seems likely that there will be some bilateral talks between Britain and Iran to prevent a similar incident.

As to the question of who came out best from the diplomatic wrangling, I’d say that both sides won because conflict was averted (for now). Hardliners on both sides will not be pleased, however. It does seem though that Iran comes out better from this saga at the moment. Blair has a new problem now. As long as British military personnel were held by the Iranians, he could manipulate public opinion to supporting war with Iran. Unfortunately, the Iranians had the temerity to spoil his plans by treating the captives humanely and then releasing them. So Blair has to switch to plan B and subtlety accuse the Iranian regime of being responsible for the deaths of four British soldiers in Iraq while pretending that he is doing no such thing.

“Now it’s far too early to say that the particular terrorist act that killed our forces was an act committed by terrorists who were backed by any elements of the Iranian regime, so I make no allegation in respect of that particular incident.

“But the general picture, as I have said before, is there are elements at least of the Iranian regime that are backing, financing, arming, terrorism in Iraq.”

Subtle as a brick! He’ll make as much political capital as he can out of this but I bet he won’t go to the funerals of any of the dead soldiers. Tony needn’t worry, he’ll probably get his war. There will no doubt be more provocations of the Iranians and America is sending yet another aircraft carrier, USS Nimitz to the Persian Gulf, apparently to relieve USS Eisenhower. We shall have to see. Common sense may have averted war for now but it is a rare commodity in Downing Street and the White House.

It is an interesting coincidence that this saga happened at about the same time as David Hicks is about released from Guantanamo to Australian custody to serve nine months for “providing material support to terrorism” provided that he

… agreed to several conditions including withdrawing allegations he had been abused by US authorities, before or after his transfer to the Guantanamo prison in 2002.

Also the release of British resident, Bisher al-Rawi from Guantanamo after four years without being charged with anything, much of which was spent in solitary confinement. His friend Jamil al-Banna is still there. His crime seems to be refusing to join MI5 and the British abducted the two men in Gambia on false allegations and handed them over to American ‘Justice’. That Britain is complicit in these crimes is beyond doubt, a point not lost on the Iranians.

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March 22, 2007

Tony Blair And Depleted Uranuim

Filed under: Bliar, Iraq — netherworld @ 7:59 pm

A petition on the Downing Street website which asked the Prime Minister to Ban the use of DU (depleted uranium) weapons in warfare, has now expired. Because I signed this petition, I received an e-mail with a link to the part of the site which has Tony Blair’s reasons for dismissing this petition (along with all the others). This is what he had to say:

The Government considers that the country’s Armed Forces deserve the very best equipment with which to protect themselves and to succeed in conflict. At present, the best anti-tank munition for the Army’s Challenger Main Battle tanks is the 120 mm anti-tank depleted uranium (DU) round. This round will remain part of our arsenal for the foreseeable future because the use of DU is legal and because its use does not present the health risks suggested by a very small minority of scientists.

DU is only weakly radioactive and this is agreed by independent expert groups. Many independent reports have been produced that consider the battlefield effects of using DU munitions. These are available on the World Wide Web and include work by the Royal Society, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the World Health Organisation (WHO). No widespread DU contamination sufficient to impact the health of the general population or deployed personnel has been found in environmental surveys and no traces of DU have been found in urine samples collected from several hundred UK veterans who have served in both Gulf conflicts and the Balkans. In short, contrary to popular belief there is no reliable scientific or medical evidence to link DU with ill-health or with birth defects.

Media reports of DU-induced cancers and birth defects in Iraq have not been substantiated with credible scientific evidence. Many other factors need to be considered as possible causes, for example, some scientists have blamed the former Iraqi Government’s use of chemical weapons on its own citizens.

Really? I suppose you can draw that conclusion if you withhold research into the effects of DU.

A report by the World Health Organisation (WHO) in 2001 said they posed only a small contamination risk.

But a senior UN scientist said research showing how depleted uranium could cause cancer was withheld.

Blair’s statement seems to have been largely lifted from the MOD website. The same website also states that the cleanup of DU contamination in Iraq is being left to the Iraqi government. So why would the US military make tape warning of the effects of depleted uranium and then not show it to troops? UK personnel in Iraq were issued with this Depleted Uranium information card by the MOD:

MOD Card:

“DU Information Card (introduced 03/03) F Med 1018

You have been deployed to a theatre where Depleted Uranium(DU) munitions have been used.

DU is a weakly radioactive heavy metal, which has the potential to cause ill health

You may have been exposed to dust containing DU during your deployment

Further Information

You are eligiable for a urine test to measure uranium.
If you wish to know more about having this test, you should consult your unit medical officer on return to your home base.
Your medical officer can provide information about the health effects of DU.
Information is also available on the MOD web site:

A useful resource on Depleted Uranium munitions an be found at the Campaign against Depleted Uranium. There you can find reports about the effects of DU and links to other sites on the subject.

Just as a reminder of what we are talking about, here is an old video about the effects of Depleted Uranium from the beginning of the Iraq War (warning, this video is highly emotive and has some very disturbing images).

The use of DU munitions, though not illegal under international law, does go against established principles of humanitarian law. Belgium has now banned uranium weapons, the first country to do so. This ban will affect US shipments of uranium ammunition and armour plate via the port of Antwerp. Obviously there is at the very least a question over the safety of the use of DU munitions which was reported on as far back as 2003 if not earlier. To dismiss the call for a ban on these weapons out of hand seems irresponsible in the extreme.

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