Forum

profile |  register |  members |  groups |  faq |  search  login

Letters to the media
Goto page Previous  1, 2, 3, 4
 
Post new topic   Reply to topic    Media Lens Forum Index -> east anglia
View previous topic :: View next topic  
Author Message
Ian



Joined: 16 Jan 2004
Posts: 111
Location: Norwich, England

Post Post subject: Letter to EDP: intervening in Iran Reply with quote

Published, edited slightly.

Dear Sir/Madam

I agree with Canon Michael Stagg (Letters, April 4) about Iran's human rights record - it is appalling. However, the key question for Canon Stagg and myself, as British citizens, is how we can help to improve this dire situation.

In 2007, Akbar Ganji, "Iran's leading political dissident" according to the Boston Review, wrote an open letter to the UN secretary general, arguing "Even speaking about 'the possibility' of a military attack on Iran makes things extremely difficult for human rights and pro-democracy activists in Iran." The letter was supported by 300 prominent writers and academics across the world, including Orhan Pamuk, Nadine Gordimer, Noam Chomsky and Richard Falk. Shirin Ebadi, the Iranian Nobel Peace Prize winner and human rights activist, said the same thing in 2005: "For human rights defenders in Iran, a military attack on their country represents an utter disaster."

With this evidence in mind, can Canon Stagg confirm he opposes military strikes, and the threat of military strikes - which is illegal under international law - on Iran?

Kind regards

Ian Sinclair
Wed Apr 18, 2012 10:02 am
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Ian



Joined: 16 Jan 2004
Posts: 111
Location: Norwich, England

Post Post subject: Letter to EDP on British public opinion Reply with quote

Dear Sir/Madam

Tony Bird (Letters, April 10) makes a fundamental error in arguing that "there is a need for legislation to reflect the views of the majority and this can only be achieved by a strong leader who does not pander to left wing liberals."

Unfortunately for Mr Bird, on many contemporary issues "the views of the majority" are left-wing/liberal.

For example, polls consistently showed that the majority of the population opposed the Health and Social Care Bill that is likely to lead to the privatisation of the NHS.

On high pay, a recent ICM poll found just 7% of respondents supported pay above £1 million a year.

On Libya, the UK's role in the NFZ/bombing campaign was supported by 97% of MPs. In contrast, YouGov and ComRes opinion polls in March 2011 showed support for military action at just 45% and 35%, respectively.

On Afghanistan, while the three main political parties support the continuing British occupation, polls consistently show a large majority of the British population would like British troops to return home.

In short, it is clear the general population is significantly to the left of our ruling elite on many of the key political questions of the day.

Kind regards

Ian Sinclair
Tue May 08, 2012 1:29 pm
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Ian



Joined: 16 Jan 2004
Posts: 111
Location: Norwich, England

Post Post subject: Letter to EDP on Socialism and the state Reply with quote

Published. Edited slightly.

Dear Sir/Madam

In arguing "the past twenty years" have seen the population adopting "the socialist attitude of seeing that the state could give to them", Tony Bird (Letters, April 21) turns recent British history on its head.

Today, someone wishing to go to university faces tuition fees of up to £9000 a year. Twenty years ago there were no tuition fees.

Today, NHS patients have to pay for prescriptions and dental care, to name just two examples. Previously these were free at the point of use.

Alan Walker, Professor of Social Policy at the University of Sheffield, notes "over the last 40 years unemployment benefit has been cut by 50 percent as a proportion of average earnings, to just 10 percent." The benefits provided in Britain today "are among the lowest in Europe", he notes.

Contrary to Mr Bird's wild assertion, in the last twenty years the state has so radically reduced its level of provision in numerous areas that someone hoping to milk it will be severely disappointed.

And don't get me started on Mr Bird's ignorant conflation of 'Socialism' with wanting to get something for nothing!

Kind regards

Ian Sinclair
Tue May 08, 2012 1:30 pm
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Ian



Joined: 16 Jan 2004
Posts: 111
Location: Norwich, England

Post Post subject: Letter to EDP re: Obama's drone wars Reply with quote

Published.


Dear Sir/Madam

A recent report in the New York Times sheds much needed light on President Obama's ongoing drone wars, which have targetted six nations - Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Libya, Somalia and Yemen.

Titled 'Secret "kill list" proves a test of Obama's principles and will' the article notes that since April the Nobel Peace Prize winner has launched 14 drone strikes in Yemen and six in Pakistan. Obama himself recently claimed the number of Pakistani civilian deaths from US drone strikes is not a "huge number". This highly dubious assertion is only possible because Obama, as the New York Times notes, has "embraced a disputed method for counting civilian casualties" which "in effect counts all military-age males in a strike zone as combatants... unless there is explicit intellegence posthumously proving them innocent."

Unsurprisingly, the report explains that "Drones have replaced Guantanamo as the recruiting tool of choice for militants" with both Pakistan and Yemen "arguably less stable and more hostile to the United States than when Mr Obama became president."

Kind regards

Ian Sinclair
Thu Jun 07, 2012 10:00 am
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Ian



Joined: 16 Jan 2004
Posts: 111
Location: Norwich, England

Post Post subject: Letter to EDP re: media and Afghanistan Reply with quote

Published.

Dear Sir/Madam

Talking about the British military's censoring of the news from Afghanistan, in 2009 Thomas Harding, the Telegraph's Defence correspondent, noted "We have constantly been told that everything is fluffy and good - and we, and the public, have been lied to."

However, despite this continuing effort to censor what information the general public receives careful observers can still find important information in the news coming from Afghanistan.

Take, for example, the second episode of the BBC 3 series Our War, which is based on MoD-authorised footage of 2nd Battalion, Mercian Regiment, who recently fought in Helmand to secure a road - route 611. Assessing the first half of the operation, platoon leader Lieutenant Jimmy Clark tells the camera: "One of the problems, especially with IEDs [Improvised Explosive Devices] on the route 611, is that the insurgents aren't trying to blow up the ANCOP [Afghan National Civil Order Police], or even the civilians, they are just trying to blow up us. So we are actually in a position where we are protecting a route, which only needs protecting because we use it."

This inconvinient truth about the absurd nature of the British occupation of Afghanistan echoes similar remarks made by the Commander of British forces in Basra in 2007. Speaking to BBC Radio 4's World Tonight programme Major General Jonathan Shaw noted “90 per cent of the attacks here, or the violence levels recorded here, are against the British. If you took the British out of it 90 per cent would drop, and you would be left with a residual bit".

Kind regards

Ian Sinclair
Fri Sep 07, 2012 12:05 pm
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Ian



Joined: 16 Jan 2004
Posts: 111
Location: Norwich, England

Post Post subject: Letter to EDP re: Embedded reporting from Afghanistan Reply with quote

Published. Edited slightly.


Dear Sir/Madam

Like Thomas Eggett (Letters, Sept 17) I read Chris Hill's reporting from Afghanistan for the EDP. I very much value independent, firsthand reportage but embedded journalism - where journalists are officially attached to a military unit - is hugely problematic. In 2009 James Harding, the Telegraph's Defence correspondent, noted the British military "manipulate the parcelling-out of embeds to suit their own ends. They use it as a form of punishment to journalists who are off-message or critical of strategy or tactics."

The use of embedded journalists is a part of a wider attempt by the British military and government to control the narrative of the war. As one senior officer told the Telegraph in 2008: “There is a general policy by the MoD to keep the horror of what’s going on in Afghanistan out of the public domain, and that’s probably for political reasons. If the real truth were known it would have a huge impact on Army recruiting and the Government would come under severe pressure to withdraw the troops."

Similarly, Phillip Knightley, whose book The First Casuality is the seminal history of war reporting, argues the media has manifestly failed "to tell the people what is really going on, as distinct from what the government says is going on; to penetrate propaganda and lies" and "to provoke debate".

Luckily, most people are not as naive as Mr Eggett, with a March 2012 ComRes poll finding 73 percent of respondents believed that the war was unwinnable, and 55 percent saying the threat of terrorism on British soil is increased by British forces remaining in Afghanistan.

Kind regards

Ian Sinclair
Mon Oct 01, 2012 10:51 am
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Ian



Joined: 16 Jan 2004
Posts: 111
Location: Norwich, England

Post Post subject: Letter to EDP re: reasons for UK withdrawal from Afghanistan Reply with quote

Published.


Dear Sir/Madam

Thomas Eggett is living in cloud cuckoo land if he thinks the British withdrawal from Afghanistan "is being brought forward" because "the military commanders have been impressed with the excellent progress the Afghan national army and police are making in their training" (Letters, 8 October).

According to Candace Rondeaux, a senior analyst based in Kabul with the International Crisis Group, "Afghanistan is far from ready to assume responsibility for security when US and NATO forces withdraw in 2014." Similarly, in a recent report for the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Afghan expert Gilles Dorronsoro notes "the Afghan army will struggle" to maintain "control of Afghanistan's major cities and main transport corridors" after 2014. Incredibly, he ends his bleak assessment of Afghanistan's future by noting "the desirable endgame" for the US/NATO "should be a stablization of Afghanistan, probably with the Taliban in Kabul."

More plausible reasons for the 'rush for the exits' in Afghanistan is the US/NATO's failed military campaign and Western domestic politics - specifically the general public's strong opposition to the war. As Dorronsoro points out "This drawdown is irreverisble... because of the US public's deep disaffection with the war and the irrevocable withdrawal of the European allies."

Kind regards

Ian Sinclair
Tue Oct 16, 2012 2:03 pm
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Ian



Joined: 16 Jan 2004
Posts: 111
Location: Norwich, England

Post Post subject: Letter to EDP - shooting the Taliban "on sight" Reply with quote

Published.

Dear Sir/Madam

Christopher Ellis argues that members of the Taliban in Afghanistan "should be shot on sight whether armed or not" (Letters, 20 October). If a British soldier followed Mr Ellis's advice, they would likely be committing a war crime. Of course, if there were witnesses, the soldier could well end up in prison. With this in mind, Mr Ellis, and readers of the EDP, may want to consider the very serious moral and legal reprucussions that come from writing and publishing such a letter.

Furthermore, Mr Ellis argues that because some members of the Pakistani Taliban shot an unarmed 14-year old girl, "any member" of the Taliban "has no human rights or legal defence at all." Does Mr Ellis also think every member of the British armed forces shouldn't have any human rights because Grenadier Guardsman Daniel Crook stabbed an unarmed 10-year old Afghan boy in the back in March 2010?

“What we call the Taliban are, in fact, hundreds of groups, most of whom are no more than traditional Afghan Muslims, the sons of local farmers", notes Conservative MP and former soldier Adam Holloway. "Deadly ideological extremists are the smaller but growing part. Approximately 80 per cent of those we call the enemy die within 20 miles of where they live: does that tell you something about who we are really fighting?”

Mr Ellis should ask himself whether his suggested policy of shooting unarmed members of the Taliban would increase or decrease the power of the extremist elements in the Taliban.

Kind regards

Ian Sinclair
Fri Nov 16, 2012 1:37 pm
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Ian



Joined: 16 Jan 2004
Posts: 111
Location: Norwich, England

Post Post subject: Letter to EDP - shooting the Taliban "on sight" co Reply with quote

Published.


Dear Sir/Madam

Roger Hewitt says he found my letter warning of the “very serious moral and legal repercussions” of Christopher Ellis’s 20 October letter “abhorrent” (Letters, 10 November).

To recap, my letter noted that if any member of the British armed forces fully carried out Mr Ellis’s suggestion that members of the Taliban “should be shot on sight whether armed or not" they would likely be committing a war crime.

As the Third Geneva Convention, ratified by the UK and nearly all of the nations on the earth, notes “Persons taking no active part in the hostilities, including members of armed forces who have laid down their arms and those placed hors de combat by sickness, wounds, detention, or any other cause, shall in all circumstances be treated humanely.”

My position is not a radical opinion but rather an uncontroversial position held by international organisations such as the United Nations and the Red Cross. The British Army itself, who both Mr Hewitt and Mr Ellis profess to support, would very likely consider the deliberate shooting of an unarmed member of the Taliban “on sight” a war crime.

I would be interested to hear from Mr Hewitt exactly which part of all this he finds “abhorrent”?

Kind regards

Ian Sinclair
Fri Nov 16, 2012 1:38 pm
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Display posts from previous:   
Post new topic   Reply to topic    Media Lens Forum Index -> east anglia All times are GMT + 1 Hour
Goto page Previous  1, 2, 3, 4
Page 4 of 4

 
Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum


Powered by phpBB © 2005 phpBB Group
    printer friendly
eXTReMe Tracker