The Nether-World

May 15, 2007

Taking Liberties

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


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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April 30, 2007

July 7: The Truth Starts To Emerge

Filed under: 7/7, Terrorism — netherworld @ 8:57 pm

There has been a long gap in any reporting of the London bombings of July 7 2005. One of the reasons for this is the wait for the verdict in another trial which is related to the 7/7 atrocity. The plot was to blow up the Bluewater shopping centre in Kent and the Ministry of Sound nightclub in London (amongst other targets) with ammonium nitrate fertiliser. The plot was foiled in 2004 by the police who had the gang under surveillance.

Five British men with close links to the July 7 bombers were today jailed for life after being found guilty of a plot to set off a wave of fertiliser-based explosions around the country.

The judge, Sir Michael Astill, told the ringleader, Omar Khyam, he would serve a minimum of 20 years in jail. He warned all five they may spend the rest of their lives in prison.

“You have betrayed this country that has given you every opportunity,” he said. “All of you may never be released,” he said, while noting it was not “a foregone conclusion”.

Condemning “preachers of hate who contaminate impressionable young minds”, Sir Michael labelled 25-year-old Khyam, who boasted about links to al-Qaida, “ruthless, devious, artful and dangerous”.

After the verdicts it emerged that police had monitored Khyam repeatedly in the company of two of the July 7 bombers more than a year before the London suicide attacks, but that officers failed to act on the information.

Now that the trial is over some restrictions on reporting have been lifted. What emerges is a recognition that two of the July 7 bombers, Mohammad Sidique Khan (the ringleader) and Shehzad Tanweer were linked to the people behind the Fertiliser Bomb Plot. What is also coming out is that the July 7 bombers (like the fertiliser bomb plotters) had been followed, filmed and bugged by the security services in what is known as Operation Crevice , something that many of us have been saying for some time. The surveillance uncovered links between the gang and Islamist militants abroad, including al-Qaida.

MI5 secretly monitored two of the London 7 July bombers four times before the 2005 attacks, it emerged during the fertiliser bomb plot trial.

Details of how much the security services knew about suicide bombers Mohammad Sidique Khan and Shehzad Tanweer emerged at the trial.

The trial linked the bombers to an international network which was watched a year before the 2005 suicide attacks.

This of course makes a complete mockery of the the statement made by the Home Secretary at the time, Charles Clarke, a day after the London bombings:

“This was a vicious and cynical attack out of the blue in a way that there was no knowledge of beforehand in any respect whatsoever.”

The spinning has now gone up a gear with both MI5 and the Government trying to clarify their positions. MI5 have published their explanation on their website while the government is going out of its way to tell us why we still can’t have a full public inquiry into the atrocity. Instead it is offering us the lame alternative of a parliamentary committee revisiting the case and trying to pass that off as somehow ‘independent’.

This just isn’t good enough. We need a public (or at least independent) inquiry into July 7 if we want to have the best chance of preventing a repeat of that atrocity. Once again I’m calling on everyone to sign this petition calling for such an inquiry. By everyone I mean not just ordinary people but politicians of all parties (the opposition parties are also calling for a public inquiry) and media organisations. If you have a blog, please link to this petition and ask visitors to sign it. Many thanks to those who have already signed. With enough pressure we may eventually be able to force the government to investigate this event properly. As Rachel says:

I do not blame people in the security services for their mistakes and failure to use intelligence. It is failing to admit mistakes and then trying to cover up mistakes which is unforgivable and inexcusable.

Now that the Fertiliser Plot trial is over, the government can no longer hide behind sub judice rules and the excuse that a public or independent inquiry would take up too many resources and prevent further counter-terrorism measures is frankly ludicrous.

Related bloggage

Chicken Yoghurt
Rachel From North London

More as I find it. Previous postings on 7/7 can be found here.

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March 11, 2007

Light Posting

Filed under: Bliar, Democracy, Media, Terrorism, Torture, UK Politics, US Politics — netherworld @ 11:33 am

Apologies for the scarcity of posts here of late. I’ve been a little busy with a few things, but hopefully ‘normal’ service will be resumed sometime soon. In the meantime, here are a couple of things I’ve been writing over at Blairwatch to keep you occupied.

Firstly, it seems that Tony Blair’s statement about him knowing nothing about Extraordinary Rendition and CIA black sites is a load of bollocks (yes, I thought that would surprise you). What seems to be emerging is that he is not only complicit in this programme but actively participating in it. We now learn that that America and Britain asked Poland to host a secret CIA gulag and Blair requested that the Polish Prime Minister to keep this secret from his government. Nice eh?

Secondly, tonight (March 11) the first part of Adam Curtis’ new three-part documentary, “The Trap – What Happened To Our Dream Of Freedom?” is being shown on BBC 2 at 21:00. This will be well worth watching. It is about freedom and how the concept of freedom seems to have changed since the Cold War and how that change came about. As Britain and America go around the world ‘liberating’ oppressed people, and as they try to ‘liberate’ us from the old bureaucracies of the past, they replace what was there before with a strange kind of freedom which bears little resemblance to the freedom we knew before. This series examines how this came to happen and looks at the mechanisms behind this paradox which is, in effect, the losing of our freedom in the name of freedom, replacing it with a new form of social control which entraps us all.

Adam Curtis has generously agreed to do an interview with Blairwatch next week and in order to prepare for it, I managed to get the first two installments of this three part series and I was blown away by what I saw. So I posted a synopsis of the first episode here for those who will be unable to catch the program. I’ll post a synopsis of the second episode once the first has been screened.

Lenin’s Tomb and Ten Percent have also posted stuff about it and from those sites I’ve found reviews of the documentary in The Guardian and Socialist Worker.

Back soon hopefully.

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March 6, 2007

David Hicks

Filed under: Afghanistan, John Reid, Terrorism, Torture — netherworld @ 10:15 pm

Many People may know who David Hicks is. He’s the Australian citizen who was arrested in Afghanistan by the Northern Alliance five years ago and sold to the Americans who have incarcerated him in the Guantanamo Bay gulag where he has been ever since. He is accused of being an “enemy combatant” although he has not, until very recently, been charged with any crime, and after five years all the US government can come up with is ‘providing material support for terrorism‘ a charge that has been tailored to fit his actions and guarantee he will not get a fair trial.

Mr Hicks, whose mother is British, should be entitled to British citizenship and therefore some help from the British Government which did help secure the release of other British citizens. However, despite senior judges ordering the home secretary to grant Mr Hicks citizenship, the Home Secretary John Reid revoked it. Hicks has therefore been abandoned by both the British and Australian governments and left in Guantanamo where he has been abused and tortured. Abuse of the inmates at Guantanamo still continues despite denials and attempted cover-ups by US authorities.

David Hicks is appealing for help through his family, friends and supporters. The following video has more information. It is a speech by Michael Mori, Hicks’ defence attorney with other images added.

Further details can be found at Mask of Anarchy, Ten Percent and Fair Go For David. You can help David Hicks by spreading the word about this injustice.

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February 16, 2007

The Fallout Over Rendition Grows

Filed under: European Politics, Terrorism, Torture — netherworld @ 7:41 pm

Following the vote in the the EU Parliament which saw the approval of the MEPs report into CIA abductions and renditions, Italy, which came in for heavy criticism (as did Britain), is taking some action.

An Italian judge has ordered 26 US citizens – most of them CIA agents – to stand trial over the kidnap of an Egyptian cleric in Milan in 2003.

Osama Mustafa Hassan was allegedly seized by the CIA and flown to Egypt, where he says he was tortured.

Seven Italians were also indicted, including Italy’s ex-military intelligence chief, Nicolo Pollari.

The case would be the first criminal trial over the secret US practice known as “extraordinary rendition”.

Not only will this be the first trial over rendition, it will also be the biggest ever trial of US intelligence agents in an allied country. The trial is due to begin on June 8 and the American suspects are likely to be tried in absentia as they are believed to have fled the country including Robert Seldon Lady, the former station chief of CIA operations in Milan, who has abandoned his Italian villa and says he was over-ruled in his opposition to the Kidnap. He also says (through his lawyer) that he does not recognise the court.

One Italian policeman has already been jailed for 21 months for stopping the cleric in order for the CIA to abduct him. His reduced sentence was part of a plea-bargain. According to him, the CIA said that they were trying to recruit Omar and that the operation had the approval of the US and Italian governments. Nicolo Pollari is trying to hide behind the Italian state secrets act and so is not co-operating with the court apart from insisting that Italian military intelligence did nothing wrong. The Italian government has yet to seek the extradition of the US citizens and it will be interesting to see if it does and what reaction it will get from the US authorities who, as we know, are always keen to uphold the rule of law. Somehow I doubt it will happen. Osama Mustafa Hassan however, despite risking prosecution for terrorism charges, wants to return to Italy as a refugee and testify against Berlusconi and his administration. He was released from Egyptian custody when the authorities there decided they had no reason to hold him.

What is interesting about this case is that it looks like being the first of many prosecutions around Europe. Germany, Spain, Portugal, Switzerland and Romania are all conducting investigations. Unsurprisingly, the UK is not conducting any investigation, but then Tony Blair has yet to acknowledge that there is any such thing as extraordinary rendition.

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January 10, 2007

Why Dame Eliza Manningham-Buller quit MI5

Filed under: 7/7, Terrorism — netherworld @ 3:28 am

News of Dame Eliza Manningham-Buller’s resignation as head of MI5 last month was slipped out quietly on a day, when Tony Blair was being questioned by police over the cash for peerages scandal and when it emerged that the Prime Minister halted the Serious Fraud Squad investigation into the corruption of BAE. In other words the story was buried under a pile of other stories, some of which also needed to be buried. That didn’t stop speculation into Dame Eliza’s surprise resignation, the general consensus being that it was in anticipation of revelations of incompetence over the London Bombings of July 7th 2005.

That speculation was covered in the previous post so I won’t go into the failings of the security services yet again for the moment except to mention that we now know why Dame Eliza Manningham-Buller resigned, and yes, it was incompetence… stunning incompetence. Not only did she fail to prevent a terrorist attack when two of the bombers responsible for the London bombings were under surveillance and had been filmed and bugged, she told senior MPs the day before the attack on July 6th that there was no imminent terrorist threat to London or the rest of the country.

The director-general of the security service MI5 told senior MPs there was no imminent terrorist threat to London or the rest of the country less than 24 hours before the July 7 suicide bombings.

Dame Eliza Manningham-Buller gave the assurance at a private meeting of Labour whips at the Commons on the morning of July 6 2005, the Guardian has learned from a number of those present.

The whips are said to have been confident, on leaving the meeting, that they could brief fellow MPs that the security situation was under control, and are said to have been deeply alarmed by the following day’s events.

Well if that’s not a resigning issue I don’t know what is. Never mind the bollocks we were told about Dame Eliza saying she was going to step down in two years time after a couple years into the job and to a home secretary who was also tainted by the bombings. This story has already been covered over at Blairwatch and very eloquently by Rachel here and here. I mention it mainly as an update to the previous post on Dame Eliza’s resignation and, more importantly, to highlight once again the urgent need for a full public inquiry into the London Bombings. Every month it seems like another reason to hold an inquiry into 7/7 emerges. Well bang on time here it is. Please sign this petition to the Prime Minister which asks for an inquiry.

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December 17, 2006

Dame Eliza Manningham-Buller’s resignation and the July 7 Bombings

Filed under: 7/7, Terrorism — netherworld @ 11:46 pm

With the plethora of news stories released last Thursday, you’d be forgiven for missing the interesting revelation that the head of MI5, Dame Eliza Manningham-Buller is stepping down. So, perhaps not as newsworthy as Blair being questioned by the police or the news that Saudi Arabia can tell the SFO what they can and can’t investigate via an ever compliant (and increasingly corrupt) Tony Blair, but now that we have digested those unpalatable tit-bits, the reasons for Dame Eliza Manningham-Buller’s surprise resignation are starting to look interesting. Two newspapers are now suggesting that she wanted to quit before new details of the July 7 London Bombings come to light in the New year, details which may have led to her being sacked. Here are a couple of snippets, First the Mail:

The head of MI5 has resigned weeks before full details of the role of her agents in a surveillance operation involving two of the July 7 bombers are due to be revealed.

And also The Sunday Times:

Sources said she had decided to quit in anticipation that she might be asked to resign over blunders concerning last year’s July 7 bombings.

However, Dame Eliza is maintaining that she agreed her resignation with former Home Secretary Charles Clarke, who was removed from his post back in May. This is the same Charles Clarke, of course, who trumpeted that the attacks came “out of the blue“, a statement which has already been shown to be completely untrue. So it will be interesting to find out just what these new revelations might be seeing as we’ve already heard about Operation Crevice and that Mohammed Sidique Khan and others had been under observation by the security services and that those security services had allegedly been warned by their American and French counterparts.

Obviously there was an intelligence failure, and it seems that the media know far more than has already been revealed but are prevented from releasing what they know.

The sources said that the agency was bracing itself for detailed disclosures about its intelligence on Mohammad Sidique Khan and Shezhad Tanweer, the two leading bombers who killed 52 people. The Sunday Times and other media are prevented by court orders from making this evidence public.

New information about the attacks trickles out from time to time, but the best way to get to the bottom of all this is to have a full public inquiry, something many of us have been asking for since the bombings but which the Government is still resisting despite an on-going campaign. When the Downing Street Website announced that it would be hosting a petition service last month, I suspended my usual cynicism and created a petition to hold a full public inquiry into 7/7. I still don’t know how close to an inquiry we are or if a petition will help but the petition is still on-line and this might be a good time to add to the pressure for an inquiry.

If you think we should have an inquiry into July 7, please sign the petition.

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December 1, 2006

Four Out of Five Victims of July 7 Still Suffer From Trauma

Filed under: 7/7, Terrorism — netherworld @ 9:53 am

Here is another good reason to have a public inquiry into the 7/7 bombings last year.

More than 80% of the survivors of the July 7 London bombings are still suffering psychological symptoms of post-traumatic stress, according to the first study of the long-term effects of the attacks.

Nearly 18 months after the bombings, health protection officials have released details of the impact on survivors – but they are still searching for up to 3,500 people nearest the four bombs who fled the scenes. Psychologists fear that many are still struggling to come to terms with what they saw.

The research by the Health Protection Agency (HPA) involved questionnaires returned by 158 survivors, with 82% saying they were still experiencing emotional symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder. Some 30% of those injured have hearing problems such as tinnitus and some degree of deafness. But the research also gives the first clear indication that people caught up in the emergency were not exposed to any chemical agents which could harm their health. Asbestos on the trains was not released in the explosions.
Read on

It’s outrageous that the Government still refuses to hold a full public inquiry into this atrocity. Please sign this petition which asks for one.

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