Arms manufacturing monolith BAE Systems has decided to improve its whale-hugging credentials by developing a range of next-generation, environmentally-friendly weapons designed to be friendlier to Mother Earth.
Included in the list of tree-hugging hardware is the “lead-free” bullet, offering clear advantages over the traditional variety which “can harm the environment and pose a risk to people”.
Let’s kill people, but careful about the birds and bees!
If you want to know more about the guy the Pope quoted, read this.
Summary: Manuel II Paleologus fought the Ottoman Turks for the fragments of Byzantium. So, by citing him, the pope is evoking the the threat of a Turkish takeover of Christendom in a not-so-subtle way.
While History does repeat itself, it never repeats itself in the same way, and I don’t think the U.S. occupation of Iraq can be directly compared to that of the British in 1920-1921. But it’s interesting and useful to see what they went through. You wonder if anyone from the Bush administration ever bothered reading any of this material. I doubt it. Interestingly, the last piece I include gives a very clear warning about outside nations invading the region. ”Every child at school has heard of Babylon and its tragic fate; and the mounds of rubble which are all that now recall the vanished glories of the Babylonian empire may still serve to remind our rulers that every Power which has sought to control these dismal lands has met with ultimate disaster.”
16 Aug 1920
Bad to Worse in Mesopotamia
A telegram from Baghdad says that the situation in Mesopotamia is becoming worse. . . . [R]ebels are trying to encircle the town. The railway has been cut in several places. It is evident from this message that the trouble in Mesopotamia is far more widespread than previously reported. . . . The outbreaks now reported show that on the west, the north, and the north-east of Baghdad, a state of insecurity prevails. . . . The railway from Baghdad to Fallujah has been cut and the staff on the railway station kidnapped.
20 Aug 1920
The weekly “Notes on Military Operations” show the very widespread character of the troubles, which extend to nearly every part of the country. . . . A rising took place near Baquba [30 miles north of Baghdad], the junction of the railway to Persia. The line was cut and the British administration compelled to withdraw. A column was sent out to deal with the disturbance, but failed to suppress it.
23 Aug 1920
Mesopotamia. A Serious War Before Us. Causes of the Trouble.
[One can] see not only the struggle round Baghdad but some of the issues flowing from it to Jerusalem, Damascus, Delhi, Tehran. . . . Baghdad is already half-isolated. . . . Ramadi and Fallujah have garrisons cut off from Baghdad. . . . [T]he troops suffer the torture of an Inferno, and heavy reinforcements are required. . . . We are engaged in a war as expensive as and more exhausting than the South African War. . . . Whatever the ultimate limits of Mesopotamia may be, no escape existed from the duty of maintaining the military occupation. . . . That proved to be an intolerable financial burden, but the event proves that we attempted it with too few rather than too many troops, and the cheap policy of policing by local levies has proved unsuccessful. . . . The causes of the trouble are patent enough on the spot. They are, in the first place, a powerful intrigue from Syria.
31 Aug 1920
Bad News from Mesopotamia. Jihad Preached. Trouble Spreading in the South.
3 Sep 1920
Holy War in Mesopotamia. Fanatics Stirring Up the Arabs.
The Muntaflk Arabs, to whom political catch-words failed to appeal, have been aroused by active preaching of a Jihad on the part of fanatics from Najaf and Karballah; the leading sheik in the district, despite his unwavering friendship for us, has been unable to hold his men back., and the withdrawal of the British political officers at the last moment by air alone saved them from being murdered. . . . North of Baghdad, Samarra was attacked by insurgents.
8 Sep 1920
What Is Happening in Mesopotamia? (Editorial)
We must protest once more against the extremely patchy and inadequate bulletins issued by the War Office regarding the operations in Mesopotamia. The nation finds itself involved in a serious war [in Iraq], and the ration strength of our forces . . . must by now greatly exceed 100,00 men. The War Office rarely gives any clear idea of the situation, and sometimes leaves us almost entirely in the dark. . . . For example, not one word has been spoken officially about the recent executions in Baghdad.
14 Sep 1920
Armoured Cars For Mesopotamia.
18 Sep 1920
Improvement in Mesopotamia.
20 Sep 1920
Progress in Mesopotamia
12 Oct 1920
Arab Opposition in Mesopotamia. Strong Force Near Hillah.
6 Nov 1920
Our Mistakes in Mesopotamia. Withdrawal Urged. How To Protect the Oil Industry.
9 Nov 1920
Britain’s Foes in Mesopotamia. Feudalists and Fanatics.
[M]any minor sheiks . . . formed the idea that the British meant to leave the country to anarchy. This idea was fomented by Syrian agents with money to spend, and by a few self-seeking extremists in Baghdad.
11 Dec 1920
Our Costly Adventure in Mesopotamia.
2 Feb 1921
Baghdad or Basra. Facing Facts in Mesopotamia. The Dilemma. Retirement Or Further Loss.
Eliminating all questions of Imperial security, prestige, or mandatory civilizing mission, undoubtedly Mesopotamia is at present a bad investment for the British taxpayer. The present, nominal estimated ordinary expenditure is 25 million pounds a year; actually, it is far greater. . . . How can we most safely cut the losses? Suppose we begin by evacuating down to Basra this year.
4 Feb 1921
Mandates and Oil. No Open Door in Mesopotamia. American Point Of View
An examination of the unofficial text of the draft arrangement whereby Great Britain holds the Mesopotamia mandate has led the [U.S.] State Department to make known its continued dissatisfaction with a situation under which Americans are held to be debarred from the participation in the exploration of the oil fields, which are considered as the fruits of victory.
12 April 1921
Mesopotamia. Task Of Withdrawal.
[E]ven if the evacuation of Mesopotamia is begun immediately, considered as a technical staff problem it is impossible to complete it under 12 months.
18 July 1921
Mr. Churchill got to the root of the Mesopotamia issue when he said, on June 14, that our `obligation’ there is not `unlimited,’ that a point might be reached when no more sacrifices could be demanded from British taxpayers, and that the time might come when `the conditions of our finance or our military resources were such that we could do no more’ for Mesopotamia. In our view, the point defined by Mr. Churchill was reached long ago. . . . Every child at school has heard of Babylon and its tragic fate; and the mounds of rubble which are all that now recall the vanished glories of the Babylonian empire may still serve to remind our rulers that every Power which has sought to control these dismal lands has met with ultimate disaster.
A detainee in an outdoor solitary confinement cell talks with a military policeman at the Abu Ghraib prison on the outskirts of Baghdad, Iraq in this June 22, 2004 file photo. When the Americans formally turned over Abu Ghraib prison to Iraqi control on Sept. 2,2006 it was empty but its 3,000 prisoners remained in U.S. custody, shifted to Camp Cropper. (AP Photo/John Moore, File)
In the few short years since the first shackled Afghan shuffled off to Guantanamo, the U.S. military has created a global network of overseas prisons, its islands of high security keeping 14,000 detainees beyond the reach of established law.
Disclosures of torture and long-term arbitrary detentions have won rebuke from leading voices including the U.N. secretary-general and the U.S. Supreme Court. But the bitterest words come from inside the system, the size of several major U.S. penitentiaries.
“It was hard to believe I’d get out,” Baghdad shopkeeper Amjad Qassim al-Aliyawi told The Associated Press after his release — without charge — last month. “I lived with the Americans for one year and eight months as if I was living in hell.”
Captured on battlefields, pulled from beds at midnight, grabbed off streets as suspected insurgents, tens of thousands now have passed through U.S. detention, the vast majority in Iraq.
Many say they were caught up in U.S. military sweeps, often interrogated around the clock, then released months or years later without apology, compensation or any word on why they were taken. Seventy to 90 percent of the Iraq detentions in 2003 were “mistakes,” U.S. officers once told the international Red Cross.
The U.S. military in
Iraq has imprisoned an Associated Press photographer for five months, accusing him of being a security threat but never filing charges or permitting a public hearing.
Military officials said Bilal Hussein, an Iraqi citizen, was being held for “imperative reasons of security” under United Nations resolutions. AP executives said the news cooperative’s review of Hussein’s work did not find anything to indicate inappropriate contact with insurgents, and any evidence against him should be brought to the Iraqi criminal justice system.
Hussein, 35, is a native of Fallujah who began work for the AP in September 2004. He photographed events in Fallujah and Ramadi until he was detained on April 12 of this year.
“We want the rule of law to prevail. He either needs to be charged or released. Indefinite detention is not acceptable,” said Tom Curley, AP’s president and chief executive officer. “We’ve come to the conclusion that this is unacceptable under Iraqi law, or Geneva Conventions, or any military procedure.”
Big Brother is not only watching you – now he’s barking orders too. Britain’s first ‘talking’ CCTV cameras have arrived, publicly berating bad behaviour and shaming offenders into acting more responsibly.
The system allows control room operators who spot any anti-social acts – from dropping litter to late-night brawls – to send out a verbal warning: ‘We are watching you’.
Middlesbrough has fitted loudspeakers on seven of its 158 cameras in an experiment already being hailed as a success. Jack Bonner, who manages the system, said: ‘It is one hell of a deterrent. It’s one thing to know that there are CCTV cameras about, but it’s quite another when they loudly point out what you have just done wrong.
‘Most people are so ashamed and embarrassed at being caught they quickly slink off without further trouble.