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The painkilling fields: England’s opium poppies that tackle the NHS morphine crisis

Posted on July 17th, 2007 at 22:05 by John Sinteur in category: News

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In Afghanistan, British troops are fighting a ferocious and often lethal war to eradicate the country’s opium poppy crop.

Yet, as our soldiers risk their lives daily, large swathes of the English countryside are being turned over to the very same crop – with the full backing of the Government.

Farmers are cultivating the poppies to combat a critical shortage of morphine in NHS hospitals, and are finding it a lucrative crop.

The world is fucking stupid on an unimaginable level. Destroying poppy crop in Afghanistan while that same poppy crop could very well become the economic reason for farmers there to choose the side of the Western troops.


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Cartoons

Posted on July 17th, 2007 at 18:29 by John Sinteur in category: Cartoon

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The Other Bible

Posted on July 17th, 2007 at 18:18 by John Sinteur in category: Pastafarian News

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From the makers of Exit Mundi: The Other Bible. Fun articles on biblical science and scholarship.

Of course, reading the bible ain’t as easy as it used to be.


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Burn this filth

Posted on July 17th, 2007 at 16:00 by John Sinteur in category: News

[Quote:]

David Axe reports on various American officials moaning that the Dutch Army in Afghanistan is not sufficiently keen on burning the peasants’ crops, specifically the poppy crop. Now, Dave is currently engaged in something like the Four Days’ Fight of the Anglo-Dutch War, when the Royal Navy and Martin Tromp’s fleets got locked into a week-long battle of attrition; slavering soldiers of Orange are scrambling all over his comments threads with cutlasses held between their teeth.

Clearly it’s time to stab him in the back.

TYR can exclusively reveal that the Iraqi insurgency is being funded by the trade in a toxic, explosive, and highly addictive substance that is peddled on Britain’s streets. Junkies, known as “petrol heads”, are willing to spend almost anything to get their hands on their next “tank”. It offers them a passing sense of boundless power and confidence – but the downsides include thousands of people a year being killed and injured, billions of tonnes of CO2 emissions, and our cities filled with toxic, stinking smoke. Millions of Britons are sending vast sums of money to foreign pushers – many of whom are in league with our enemies – enough money to make it a significant contribution to the trade deficit. Even as we speak, oil dealers are selling their wares only a few hundred yards from my keyboard.

So far, absolutely nothing has been done by the military authorities in Iraq to eradicate the fields from which “oil” is extracted, the transport networks used by traffickers to move it, or the vast laboratories which process crude “oil” into the highly refined, crack cocaine-like form in which it is found on the streets. Even Registan.net, part of the neo-con Pajamas Media network, thinks this is insane.

Indeed, there is evidence to suggest that Coalition commanders deliberately altered their dispositions in order to protect these systems. For example, Colonel Tim Collins described in his memoirs how the 1st Battalion, the Royal Irish Regiment, like the other units in the 16th Air Assault Brigade, were specifically tasked to guard an oilfield. Far from blowing it up, though, civilian engineers arrived to check that production would continue!


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He is immortal, and will plague us forever (bookmark this for 2010)

Posted on July 17th, 2007 at 15:55 by John Sinteur in category: News

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The latest issue of the Economist had this to say about the pardon of Scooter Libby:

He is not seeking re-election, his approval ratings can barely go any lower, and any hopes for legacy-polishing bipartisan co-operation with Congress seem to have evaporated. So why should Mr Bush not please his few remaining friends and placate his vice-president by springing the loyal Mr Libby? It makes a kind of sense, but a deeply troubling one. What else, one wonders, might so isolated a president do before he goes?

A scary thought indeed. Which got me to thinking: These guys have push the envelope on so many other things, what’s to say they won’t find a way to stick around?

No, I don’t think they’ll cancel elections, nor do I think they’ll find a loophole in the term limits amendment. (Of course, you never can be sure with these guys.) Rather, I think that these masters of discovering “special executive powers” (or non-executive powers, or whatever it is that Cheney claims to have) will pull a few tricks on us.

Prediction: A few years from now, either Bush or Cheney (OK, Cheney) will claim executive privilege for something done after leaving office.

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It’s an interesting idea, but I’m going to raise the bar. I predict that Dick Cheney’s lawyers will attempt to invoke it in relation to an act performed after he ceases to be.

Congressional committee: Who authorised Operation Oedipus?

Counsel for the Cheney Foundation: Mr. Cheney.

(Sensation in Congress.)

Committee: And how is it financed?

Flack: My client asserts executive privilege over any and all information relating to Operation Oedipus.

(Astonishment, and disbelief.)

Committee: Your client is currently deceased. Indeed, he was deceased at the time Oedipus was initiated. He remains so. In fact, you don’t actually have a client.

(Silence. A blogger is ejected by guards.)

Flack: I am retained to represent Mr. Cheney’s continuing interests as a juridical person, which continues insofar as the provisions of his last will and testament must be placed in execution..

Senator Moulitsas (D-CA), intervening: Given what little we know of Operation Oedipus, execution is the right word!

Flack: I’m afraid I’m not at liberty to discuss that. It is my contention that Mr. Cheney’s position as Vice-President of the United States conferred privilege on his responsibilities as deputy head of the executive branch, including those which continued after his leaving office. As Mr. Cheney’s prior status is unchanged by the mere termination of his biological existence, so this privilege continues unchanged.

Committee: Do you mean to say that people are taking orders from a dead man?

Flack: I dispute the use of the term “man”. It implies certain responsibilities and expectations inconsonent with the dignity of the deceased Vice-President.

Sen. Moulitsas: You’re damn’ tootin! And that’s my line!

Committee: I think we will adjourn to digest the implications of this remarkable argument..


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Mugabe’s price cuts bring cheap TVs today, new crisis tomorrow

Posted on July 17th, 2007 at 14:18 by John Sinteur in category: What were they thinking?

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Zimbabweans are shopping like there’s no tomorrow. With police patrolling the aisles of Harare’s electrical shops to enforce massive government-ordered price cuts, the widescreen TVs were the first things to go, for as little as £20. Across the country, shoes, clothes, toiletries and different kinds of food were all swept from the shelves as a nation with the world’s fastest shrinking economy gorged itself on one last spending spree.

Car dealers said officials were trying to force them to sell vehicles at the official exchange rate, effectively meaning that a car costing £15,000 could be had for £30 by changing money on the blackmarket. The owners of several dealerships have been arrested.

[..]

Economists say the price cuts will only deepen the national crisis, leaving many shops bare because they will not be able to afford to restock while official retail prices remain lower than the cost of buying wholesale or importing. Mr Mugabe has dismissed such warnings as “bookish economics”.

[..]

The impact of the price cuts was felt almost immediately as fuel virtually disappeared from sale after garages were forced to sell petrol for 23p a litre, less than they paid the state-owned supplier.

The police and army broke the locks on petrol pumps at some garages and tanks ran dry amid panic buying. Now petrol is available only on the blackmarket, at more than seven times the official price and three times what garages had been charging. By Saturday, most minibus taxis had gone from the roads because drivers could not find petrol.

So that’s what happens when you give the reigns of a wealthy country to a privileged frat-boy with no understanding of geopolitics or military strategy…


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Saudi fighters pose special problem

Posted on July 17th, 2007 at 13:48 by John Sinteur in category: Mess O'Potamia

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Although Bush administration officials have frequently lashed out at Syria and Iran for helping the insurgents and militias attacking U.S. troops and civilians in Iraq, the largest number of foreign fighters and suicide bombers in Iraq come from a third next-door neighbor, Saudi Arabia, according to a senior U.S. military officer and Iraqi lawmakers.

The U.S. military believes 45 percent of all foreign militants are Saudi, 15 percent are from Syria and Lebanon, and 10 percent from North Africa, according to official U.S. military figures released to the Los Angeles Times by the officer. Nearly half of the 135 foreigners held in U.S. detention facilities in Iraq are Saudi.

Saudi fighters are thought to have carried out more suicide bombings than any other nationality, said the senior American military officer, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the subject’s sensitivity for the U.S. government. It is apparently the first time a U.S. official has given such a breakdown on the pivotal role played by Saudi nationals in Iraq’s Sunni Arab insurgency.

He added that 50 percent of all Saudi fighters in Iraq are suicide bombers. In the last six months, such bombings have killed or injured 4,000 Iraqis. The situation has left the American military in the awkward position of facing an enemy whose top source of fighters is a key regional ally that at best has not been able to prevent its citizens from undertaking bloody attacks in Iraq, and at worst shares complicity in sending jihadists to commit attacks against U.S. forces, civilians and Iraq’s Shiite Muslim-led government.

And how many of the 9/11 hijackers where saudi, again?


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LOL: the Daily Irrelevant

Posted on July 17th, 2007 at 13:23 by John Sinteur in category: ¿ʞɔnɟ ǝɥʇ ʇɐɥʍ

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(the site can turn any rss feed into LOLCATS, have fun with it!)


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Cartoon

Posted on July 17th, 2007 at 13:20 by John Sinteur in category: Cartoon

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Trojan Horse

Posted on July 17th, 2007 at 11:35 by John Sinteur in category: Security

Feel safer yet?


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Frog Umbrella

Posted on July 17th, 2007 at 11:20 by John Sinteur in category: Great Picture

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State orders flak jackets in Baghdad’s Green Zone

Posted on July 17th, 2007 at 11:10 by John Sinteur in category: Mess O'Potamia

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The dress code at the Blue Star restaurant inside Baghdad’s Green Zone now calls for vest and hat.

Flak vest and Kevlar helmet, to be precise. And it’s a good thing.

[..]

The embassy issued its memo later that day.

“As a result of the recent increase of indirect fire attacks on the International Zone, outdoor movement is restricted to a minimum,” it states. “Remain within a hardened structure to the maximum extent possible and strictly avoid congregating outdoors. Personal protective equipment (PPE) is mandatory until further notice.

“Public places that are not in a hardened structure – such as the Blue Star Restaurant – should be frequented only in conjunction with the use of your PPE.”

An embassy spokesman on Saturday initially denied that State now requires workers to wear body armor in the Green Zone.

He got upset when shown the memo.

“You’re asking me to comment on an internal document?” he said, refusing to give his name. “How did you get it? We don’t talk to what our security posture is.”

Yep, another corner turned.


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Marine: Beating of Iraqis became routine

Posted on July 17th, 2007 at 11:08 by John Sinteur in category: Mess O'Potamia

[Quote:]

A Marine corporal testifying in a court-martial said Marines in his unit began routinely beating Iraqis after officers ordered them to “crank up the violence level.”
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Cpl. Saul H. Lopezromo testified Saturday at the murder trial of Cpl. Trent D. Thomas.

“We were told to crank up the violence level,” said Lopezromo, testifying for the defense.

When a juror asked for further explanation, Lopezromo said: “We beat people, sir.”

Within weeks of allegedly being scolded, seven Marines and a Navy corpsman went out late one night to find and kill a suspected insurgent in the village of Hamandiya near the Abu Ghraib prison. The Marines and corpsman were from 2nd Platoon, Kilo Company, 3rd Battalion, 5th Regiment.

Lopezromo said the suspected insurgent was known to his neighbors as the “prince of jihad,” and had been arrested several times and later released by the Iraqi legal system.

Unable to find him, the Marines and corpsman dragged another man from his house, fatally shot him, and then planted an AK-47 assault rifle near the body to make it appear he had been killed in a shootout, according to court testimony.

Four Marines and the corpsman, initially charged with murder in the April 2006 killing, have pleaded guilty to reduced charges and been given jail sentences ranging from 10 months to eight years. Thomas, 25, from St. Louis, pleaded guilty but withdrew his plea and is the first defendant to go to court-martial.

Lopezromo, who was not part of the squad on its late-night mission, said he saw nothing wrong with what Thomas did.

“I don’t see it as an execution, sir,” he told the judge. “I see it as killing the enemy.”

He said Marines consider all Iraqi men part of the insurgency.


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Hard drive

Posted on July 17th, 2007 at 11:02 by John Sinteur in category: Great Picture

Sent to me by mail:

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It was also clear that the state of the art transport system (which unlike the London transport system actually works and is clean and safe) runs from something other than a hard drive or diskette. Hong Kong being the way it is, it’s probably running from a holographic memory by now. None of this 3rd world spinning metal disc stuff.

thanks, Kam!


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Geytenwollenvreetzaken weigeren koeldeuren

Posted on July 17th, 2007 at 10:03 by John Sinteur in category: Nederland is Gek!

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De natuurvoedingswinkels ‘De Natuurwinkel en ‘Ekoplaza‘ weigeren pertinent hun co2-uitstoot te beperken. De winkels hebben geen zin om koeldeuren voor de koelvakken te plaatsen zodat koude waren milieuvriendelijk bewaard kunnen worden. De linkse vreettenten zeggen dat het economische gewin belangrijk is dan milieuvriendelijkheid. Dit terwijl uit onderzoek blijkt dat natuurvoedingswinkels met name bezocht worden door chagerijnige bleke selderijvretende types die altijd hun grote mond open trekken over fijnstof, binnenstadverkeer en milieuvervuiling. “Deuren of platen voor het koelvak remmen de verkoop”, aldus de natuurfreaks. Nou, kom op stelletje boomknuffelaars, waar blijft de boycot en het grootscheepse protest.


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