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Ian



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

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

Published...

Dear Sir/Madam

Although the mainstream media have been falling over themselves to heap praise on the new President of the United States, there has been very little coverage of Barack Obama's policy in Afghanistan.

For example, on Monday the Guardian newspaper reported Obama's first military action as president was to authorise "two missile attacks inside Pakistan… killing 22 people, reportedly women and children among them".

Prior to this the Afghan President Hamid Karzai condemned a separate American airstrike in Afghanistan that he said killed 16 civilians. Karzai warned that these attacks are "strengthening the terrorists".

Plus ca change….

Ian Sinclair
Wed Jan 28, 2009 5:22 pm
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Ian



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

Post Post subject: Letter to EDP about Chris Fisher and the BBC Reply with quote

Published...

Dear Sir/Madam

I realise there are always problems of space for journalists, but is it too much to ask for Chris Fisher to actually provide some kind of evidence for his increasingly outlandish claims?

Latest up is his bizarre argument that the BBC led “the opposition in Britain to the Iraq war.” (‘Defending an “impartiality” that is a fiction’, January 27).

In stark contrast to Fisher’s assertion, are the results of three academic studies into the BBC’s coverage of the Iraq war.

A 2003 study carried out by Cardiff University’s School of Journalism regarding the way the four main UK broadcasters reported the invasion of Iraq concluded, “The BBC emerges as generally more respectful and sympathetic towards the government than other broadcasters.”

A second survey conducted by Media Tenor for Germany’s Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung newspaper found that, of broadcasters in five countries, the BBC featured the lowest level of dissent of all, even lower than ABC news in the United States.

Finally, a 2006 study from the universities of Manchester, Liverpool and Leeds, found that accusations of BBC anti-war bias were unfounded, with Channel 4 News least likely to report coalition good news, and Sky News and ITV most likely. The BBC's coverage fell somewhere in the middle ground.


Kind regards

Ian
Tue Feb 03, 2009 5:43 pm
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Ian



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Location: Norwich, England

Post Post subject: Letter to EDP - an "Afghan trap" Reply with quote

Printed, edited slightly....


Dear Sir/Madam

Regarding President Obama's misguided order to send extra US troops to Afghanistan, you say "the exiled Taliban were nurtured by the West in Pakistan to counter Soviet invaders in the 1980s" ('Tackling the many tentacles of terror', February 19).

Unfortunately you have your dates mixed up. As Zbigniew Brzezinski, President Jimmy Carter's National Security Adviser, explained in 1998: "According to the official version of history, CIA aid to the Mujahadeen began during 1980, that is to say, after the Soviet army invaded Afghanistan... But the reality, secretly guarded until now, is completely otherwise. Indeed, it was July 3, 1979 that President Carter signed the first directive for secret aid to the opponents of the pro-Soviet regime in Kabul."

Asked whether he regretted drawing the Russians into an "Afghan trap", Brzezinski replied: "What is most important to the history of the world? The Taliban or the collapse of the Soviet empire? Some stirred-up Moslems or the liberation of Central Europe and the end of the cold war?" I suspect those that lost loved ones on 9/11, and all the bloodshed that has followed, might disagree.

Ian Sinclair
Tue Feb 24, 2009 12:18 pm
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Ian



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

Post Post subject: Letter to EDP re: Liam Carroll on President Obama Reply with quote

Not published...

Dear Sir/Madam

I was saddened to see Liam Carroll blindly supporting President Obama’s foreign policy platitudes (‘Obama plan puts us all on the same page‘, 28 March 2009).

Interestingly, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the man who has the last word on policy decisions in Iran, didn’t see what Carroll describes as “a message of goodwill to the Iranian people” but rather noted “they [the United States] chant the slogan of change but no change is seen in practice”.

Obama may not repeat the idiotic Bushism “you are either with us or you are with the terrorists” but like his predecessor he too views the world in Manichean terms, stating in 2007 “we lead the world in battling immediate evils and promoting the ultimate good”.

Let’s not forget Obama is set on escalating the conflict in Afghanistan, continues to illegally bomb Pakistan, plans to keep up to 50,000 troops in Iraq until atleast 2011, supports the continuation of the barbaric 47-year embargo of Cuba, and has retained Bush’s Defence Secretary Robert Gates in the same role.

It is clear the US empire, with its staggering $711 billion military budget and more than 700 military bases in over 100 countries, will stay - just with a smarter, more media friendly, manager than before.

As one of the writers on the most progressive column in the EDP I expect more critical thinking from Carroll. If the One World Column won’t criticise Obama, who on earth will?

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Ian Sinclair
Tue Apr 07, 2009 10:26 am
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Ian



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Location: Norwich, England

Post Post subject: Letter to EDP - Chris Fisher on Britain's legacy in Iraq Reply with quote

Published...

Dear Sir/Madam

Rather than the pre-meditated, unprovoked, criminal war of aggression and murderous occupation that it is, in his summary of the British legacy in Iraq (‘Blunders in Iraq conflict overshadow any benefits’, April 30) Chris Fisher talks of “blunders”, “mistakes” and “errors of implementation”.

In what could be termed the ‘fight the war better’ school of criticism, Mr Fisher laments the “deficiencies in armoured vehicles and other equipment”, noting Keith Sampson MP’s belief that one of the main problems was “an insufficient deployment of troops at the start of the war”.

The same type of criticisms were made about the American war against Vietnam in the 60s and 70s (that led to millions of Vietnamese deaths) and the Soviet war against Afghanistan in the 80s (that led to over a million Afghan dead). And I’m sure an intrepid researcher could find contemporary testimony from German generals criticising Adolf Hitler for not deploying the right number or correct type of troops to Stalingrad in 1942 or to the Normandy coast in 1944.

However, the question must be asked: if the invasion was illegal (as explained by the United Nations Secretary-General at the time), sold to the public on lies and distortions (see the Downing Street Memo) and has led to over one million Iraqi deaths and over four million Iraqi refugees (see the January 2008 Opinion Research Business poll), surely it is not just poor journalism, but complete moral bankruptcy, to make only these ineffectual tactical criticisms about such an unspeakable crime?

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Ian Sinclair
Mon May 18, 2009 9:46 am
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Ian



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Location: Norwich, England

Post Post subject: Letter to EDP - re: Iraq and humanitarian motives Reply with quote

Published, but edited quite a lot...

Dear Sir/Madam

Jason Bunn (Letters, May 14) says he is offended by my letter describing the invasion of Iraq as “premeditated, unprovoked and a criminal war of aggression” but fails to provide any evidence to counter my description. I provided three sources to back up my claim. Did Mr Bunn take the time to read these?

I have sympathy for those British soldiers who are risking their lives in Iraq - and hope Mr Bunn’s family members return home safely as soon as possible - but this doesn’t alter the predatory nature of the invasion. We can’t simply wish inconvenient truths away because they reveal power as it actually is, rather than as we wish it to be.

I, and many other people, simply do not believe the 1991 and 2003 invasions of Iraq were carried out “to save a lot of people”, as Mr Bunn suggests. Doesn’t the fact the US and UK governments continued to support Saddam Hussein after he used chemical weapons against the Kurds in 1988 strongly suggest humanitarian concerns are not particularly high up on their respective agendas?

A more likely reason for the US and UK’s keen interest in the region is intimated by Lawrence Korb, an assistant secretary for defence under Ronald Reagan, who perceptively noted after the 1991 war, "If Kuwait grew carrots, we wouldn't give a damn."

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Ian Sinclair
Thu May 21, 2009 9:49 am
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Ian



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Location: Norwich, England

Post Post subject: Letter to the Evening News - Ukip on Climate Change Reply with quote

Published...

Dear Sir/Madam

Examining the scientific consensus on climate change, a January 2009 poll by researchers at the University of Illinois found that 96.2 percent of climatologists who are active in climate research believe that mean global temperatures have risen compared to pre-1800s levels, and 97.4 percent believe that human activity is a significant factor in changing mean global temperatures. Summarising their finding, the authors note "It seems that the debate on the authenticity of global warming and the role played by human activity is largely nonexistent among those who understand the nuances and scientific basis of long-term climate processes."

With this in mind I was shocked to see David Campbell-Bannerman, UKIP’s Deputy Leader and Eastern Region lead candidate for the European election, deny the reality of man-made global warming during a recent public meeting in Norwich (a video of which can be found here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VICdhrqaJmw). Referencing ice-caps melting on Venus, the astronomer Sir Patrick Moore and that well known bastion of truth Fox News, Mr Campbell-Bannerman refers to man-made climate change as “utter nonsense”.

Is someone so unaware of the overwhelming scientific consensus on the biggest threat facing this generation fit to represent this region in the European Parliament?

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Ian Sinclair
Tue Jun 09, 2009 4:29 pm
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Ian



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Location: Norwich, England

Post Post subject: Letter to EDP re: US drone strikes on Pakistan Reply with quote

Published...

Dear Sir/Madam

Lee Marsden only tells half the story about President Obama’s continuing air strikes in Pakistan (‘Obama’s war in Afghanistan’, May 16).

Since January 2006 the US military has been using drones - unmanned, remotely-controlled aircraft - to gather intelligence and bomb targets in Pakistan. According to The News International, the second-largest English language newspaper in Pakistan, out of the 60 US drone strikes that have been carried out so far, only 10 have hit their actual targets, killing 14 Al-Qaeda terrorists. Meanwhile these attacks have killed 687 Pakistani civilians.

This shocking 'collateral damage' has produced some unsurprising results, with The Times newspaper reporting in April that the drone attacks are "causing a massive humanitarian emergency" with "as many as 1m people" fleeing their homes "to escape attacks by the unmanned spy planes as well as bombings by the Pakistani army."

David Kilcullen, the top counter-insurgency advisor to US General Petraeus, recently noted the drones attacks are "highly unpopular" in Pakistan and have "given rise to feeling of anger that coalesces the population around the extremists and leads to spikes of extremism".

Where are the voices raised in protest against these murderous and counterproductive air strikes which kill large numbers of civilians, produce thousands of refugees, destablise the entire region and increase the terrorist threat to the UK?

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Ian Sinclair
Tue Jun 09, 2009 4:30 pm
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Ian



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Location: Norwich, England

Post Post subject: Letter to EDP - Afghanistan and the Noriwch by-election Reply with quote

Not published - I expect they were receiving lots of letters on by-election...

Dear Sir/Madam

I note a recently published Guardian/BBC Newsnight poll found 56% of respondents wanted British troops out of Afghanistan by the end of the year, while a subsequent ITN poll found 59% backing withdrawal.

Faced with this consensus of public opinion, the Liberal Democrat's ineffective and tactical criticism of the war - we need better equipment to fight it better - is an insult to the public's intelligence. I am not aware of any military expert that believes another ten helicoptors or more armoured vehicles will change the course of the increasingly unpopular occupation - something the Liberal Democrats are clearly keen to extend, which will only lead to more British soldiers and Afghans dying and an increase in the threat of terrorism to the UK.

In stark contrast to the Labour Party, the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats, the only candidate standing in the Norwich North by-election who has consistently taken a principled stand against the disastrous wars in Afghanistan and Iraq is the Green Party's Rupert Read.

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Ian Sinclair
Thu Jul 23, 2009 12:05 pm
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Ian



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Location: Norwich, England

Post Post subject: Letter to Evening News - Rupert Read's "extreme views o Reply with quote

Not published...

Dear Sir/Madam

Regarding the forthcoming Norwich North by-election, I was dismayed to hear about the Liberal Democrat's shameful attempt to smear the Green Party's Rupert Read, calling his views on 7/7 "extreme".

A quick look at Dr Read's writings shows he has simply argued that British foreign policy – specifically the hugely unpopular and disastrous wars in Iraq and Afghanistan that have led to hundreds of thousands of dead – predictably makes Britain a central target for Al-Qaeda style-terrorism.

As does Lady Manningham-Buller, the former head of MI5, who warned the Government in early 2003 that "The threat to us would increase because of Iraq".

As does two-thirds of the British public who believed there was link between Tony Blair's decision to invade Iraq and the London bombings, according to the results of a Guardian/ICM poll conducted just after the terrorist attack in July 2005.

As does Michael Scheuer, the head of the CIA unit tasked with tracking down Osama Bin Laden in the 1990s, who argues the terrorist attacks against the US have nothing "to do with our freedom, liberty, and democracy, but everything to do with U.S. policies and actions in the Muslim world."

Who would have thought that a majority of the British public, a former MI5 Chief and a former CIA analyst tasked with hunting the head of Al-Qaeda would all hold such "extreme" views about terrorism?

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Ian Sinclair
Thu Jul 23, 2009 12:07 pm
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Ian



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Location: Norwich, England

Post Post subject: Letter to EDP - mainstream media reporting of Afghanistan Reply with quote

Published...

Dear Sir/Madam

Am I the only person baffled by the frenzied debate in the mainstream media about the alleged lack of helicopters and other military equipment for the British troops in Afghanistan?

I ask because Britain has the fourth largest military budget in the world, having splashed out $65.3 billion US dollars last year according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. So compared to whom are the British forces in Afghanistan under equipped? Certainly not the people they are fighting, who have no armoured vehicles, planes, helicopters, drones or body armour. With the Guardian newspaper reporting last year that the Taliban were fighting with "soviet era" weapons and complaining they do not have enough ammunition, one can only imagine the outrage amongst their families and supporters about how poorly equipped they are.

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Ian Sinclair
Thu Aug 06, 2009 5:25 pm
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Ian



Joined: 16 Jan 2004
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Location: Norwich, England

Post Post subject: Letter to EDP 'Afghanistan: The general public vs the rule' Reply with quote

Published, but edited slightly.


Dear Sir/Madam

Speaking at the recent Liberal Democrats conference, former BBC Director-General Greg Dyke argued that "the evidence our democracy is failing is overwhelming".

Nowhere is the disconnect between the general public and the ruling elite greater than on the issue of Afghanistan. Fully six recent opinion polls - by the Guardian, ITN, The Times, the Independent, the Mail on Sunday and the Sun - all found majorities of respondents in favour of withdrawing British troops from Afghanistan.

In contrast the three main political parties all favour continuing the occupation, a course of action that will lead to more dead British soliders, many more Afghan deaths and an increase in the terror threat to the UK. Cheering on this unpopular war is the vast majority of the mainstream media, who while making tactical criticisms about the conduct of the war, are fully behind the Government's overall war aims. Even the Independent, supposedly one of the most progressive national newspapers, argued in an August editorial that "Britain and the rest of NATO must stay the course in Afghanistan."

As the eighth anniversary of the original invasion approaches, the majority of the public who oppose the increasingly bloody occupation have the perfect opportunity to make their voices heard. On Saturday October 24 the Stop the War Coalition, CND and the British Muslim Initiative have organised a national demonstration in London against British involvement in Afghanistan.

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Ian Sinclair
Mon Oct 05, 2009 10:13 am
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Ian



Joined: 16 Jan 2004
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Location: Norwich, England

Post Post subject: Letter to EDP - US troops storm hospital in Afghanistan Reply with quote

Not published.


Dear Sir/Madam

A small, but very important, news story seems to have slipped under the mainstream media's radar regarding Afghanistan.

On September 6 the Swedish Committee for Afghanistan (SCA), which runs schools, medical clinics and development projects in eastern Afghanistan, reported that US troops recently stormed one of its hospitals, searching men’s and women’s wards for wounded Taliban fighters, breaking down doors, tying up hospital staff members and visitors and forcing patients (even those in beds) out of rooms. Anders Fange, the SCA's Country Director, said the episode was "a clear violation of globally recognized humanitarian principles about the sanctity of health facilities and staff in areas of conflict".

How does aggressively searching a hospital run by a Swedish NGO fit with US claims of "fighting terrorism" and bringing "democracy" and "stability" to Afghanistan?

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Ian Sinclair
Mon Oct 05, 2009 10:14 am
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Ian



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Post Post subject: Letter to EDP re: editorial on Iran Reply with quote

Not published...

Dear Sir/Madam

A recent EDP editorial regarding Iran's alleged nuclear weapons ambitions argued "Its behaviour reminds us of Saddam Hussein, and, indeed, Hitler. In both cases war was the inevitable outcome" ('Iran's playing with fire must stop', October 1).

Rather than blindly parroting US/UK Government propaganda, a basic understanding of the facts lends itself to a wholly different understanding of the situation.

Fact: Iraq did not possess any nuclear weapons when the US and UK invaded in 2003.

Fact: War was not "the inevitable outcome" in 2003. In a leaked March 17 2002 memo, the British Ambassador to the US wrote of “the need to wrongfoot Saddam on the inspectors". The goal then, was to use the UN inspectors as a tool for triggering war with Iraq, not to negotiate for a peaceful solution to the crisis.

Fact: While Nazi Germany arguably had the most powerful, modern army in the world in 1939, Iran, as the Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman notes, is "a country with roughly the G.D.P. of Connecticut, and a government whose military budget is roughly the same as Sweden's."

Fact: On September 18 Israel refused calls by the International Atomic Energy Agency to join the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and open up its atomic sites to international inspection. Why does the EDP call for Iran to open up its nuclear sites but not Israel?

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Ian Sinclair
Mon Oct 19, 2009 5:27 pm
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Ian



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Post Post subject: Letter to EDP re: embedded journalist's Afghan video report Reply with quote

Published...

Dear Sir/Madam

I watched with interest Ben Kendall's video report on the EDP website, as he followed 27 Squadron RAF Regiment as they seized a Taliban weapons cache in Afghanistan ('VIDEO: RAF gunners seize Taliban weapons cache', December 3).

Holding one of the seized weapons in his hands, Kendall said it could have been used "by the insurgents against our forces". However, the rifle in question looked like it belonged in a World War Two museum or antique shop, rather than on a modern day battlefield. Perhaps someone with more military knowledge than myself could watch the video and enlighten me about the exact model of the rifle in question?

Furthermore, the weapons on display in Kendall's report broadly support a Guardian newspaper report last year that noted the Taliban were fighting with "soviet era" weapons and complaining they do not have enough ammunition. With the discussion about the lack of equipment for British soldiers reaching fever pitch in the media, one can only imagine the outrage amongst the Taliban's families and supporters about how poorly equipped they are.

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Ian Sinclair
Wed Dec 09, 2009 11:54 am
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Ian



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Post Post subject: Letter to EDP - Straw at Chilcot Inquiry Reply with quote

Published, edited slightly...


Dear Sir/Madam

During his second appearance at the ongoing Chilcot Inquiry, Jack Straw once again asserted that UN Resolution 1441 gave the UK the legal authority to invade Iraq, without having to return to the Security Council.

However, on the day Resolution 1441 was passed by the Security Council Tony Blair himself said "To those who fear this resolution is just an automatic trigger point, without any further discussion, paragraph 12 of the Resolution makes it clear that is not the case."

That none of the members of the Chilcot Inquiry thought to bring this inconvenient fact to Jack Straw's and the public's attention highlights just how ignorant and spineless it really is.

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Ian Sinclair
Fri Feb 19, 2010 12:51 pm
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Ian



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Post Post subject: Letter to EDP re: Martin Mears and climate change Reply with quote

Published...

Dear Sir/Madam

Reading Martin Mears latest column ('A case of global cooling: more inconvenient truths', March 19) it would seem he has gone to see the new Alice in Wonderland film a few too many times.

But while Mr Mears disappears down the rabbit hole of climate change denialism, the rest of us have to face the very real threat of man-made climate change.

For example, a 2008 survey by the University of Illinois found that 97 per cent of climatologists who are active in climate research agreed that there is a strong human role. "The debate on the authenticity of global warming and the role played by human activity is largely non-existent among those who understand the nuances and scientific basis of long-term climate processes," noted survey author University of Illinois associate professor of earth and environmental sciences Peter Doran.

Charlie Brooker, the Guardian's in-house humourist, recently quipped, "If I asked 100 engineers whether it was safe to cross a bridge, and 99 said no, I'd probably try to find another way over the ravine rather than loudly siding with the underdog and arguing about what constitutes a consensus while trundling across in my Hummer."

As for Mr Mears specific arguments, the website Skeptical Science (www.skepticalscience.com/) thoroughly debunks them all.

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Ian Sinclair
Fri Mar 26, 2010 5:43 pm
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Ian



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Post Post subject: Letter to EDP re: Gaza editorial Reply with quote

Published...

Dear Sir/Madam

In a recent editorial ('Still the Holy Land is wholly inflamed', April 3) the EDP referred to Israel's "unilateral withdrawal from Gaza in 2005".

In contrast Richard Falk, UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in the Occupied Palestinian Terroritories, notes that "despite Israel's claimed 'disengagement' in 2005... realities on the ground establish that Gaza remains under Israeli occupation." Israel still controls the airspace over Gaza and enforces a coastal and land blockade that "severly restricts the entry of food, fuel and medicine" in to Gaza, according to Falk.

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Ian Sinclair
Fri Apr 23, 2010 3:49 pm
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Ian



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Post Post subject: Letter to EDP re: Elections and 'national interest' Reply with quote

Published...

Dear Sir/Madam

The Uruguayan writer Eduardo Galeano once perceptively noted that “In general, the words uttered by power are not meant to express its actions, but to disguise them.”

Thus, over the last few days of intense political horse-trading senior members of the Westminster circus have been continually saying a "strong, stable government" is in the "national interest".

Writing in 1937 the anarchist Rudolf Rocker had an all together different take on the term: "We speak of national interests... but we forget that behind all this there are hidden merely the selfish interests of power-loving politicians and money loving business men for whom the nation is a convenient cover to hide their personal greed and their schemes for political power from the eyes of the world."

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Ian Sinclair
Tue May 18, 2010 12:43 pm
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Ian



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Post Post subject: Letter to EDP re: Election leader's debate Reply with quote

Published...

Dear Sir/Madam

Those watching the leaders debate on foreign affairs tonight may want to bear in mind the results of a recent opinion poll.

The ComRes/Independent on Sunday survey of British public opinion found that 77 percent of respondents supported "a phased withdrawal from Afghanistan, the aim being the end of combat operations within a year or so". In addition, just over 50 per cent of those polled believe "the threat of terrorism on British soil is increased by British forces remaining in Afghanistan."

In contrast the Conservatives, Labour and the Liberal Democrats all support the British occupation of Afghanistan. The Green Party was one of the few political parties to oppose the Afghanistan mission from the start and continues to campaign for the withdrawal of British troops - a policy supported by over three-quarters of the British public.

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Ian Sinclair
Tue May 18, 2010 12:44 pm
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Ian



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Post Post subject: Letter to EDP re: EDP's support of British Afghan occupation Reply with quote

Published...

Dear Sir/Madam

I note the EDP's continuing support for the British involvement in Afghanistan ('From Rolling Stone to rolling head', 24 June).

However, the Observer recently reported that the head of the United Nations monitoring mission on the Taliban, Richard Barrett, believes recent attempts by UK and US troops to expand control over Afghan territory have been counter-productive and led to a worsening security situation. Barrett, the UK's former counter-terrorism chief, said "Foreign troops push into areas where they haven't been before and if the Taliban are there they will start fighting. Then it's not calm. It's not calm because the foreign forces have pushed in."

The accuracy of Barrett's analysis is confirmed by a recent report by the Guardian's Jon Boone, which noted there is "out-right hostility" to British forces among refugees from Helmand province (where British troops are based). Khuja Sahib, a refugee from Sangin, told Boone "If they [the British] keep this policy they will never suceed because the more they fight, the more they create enemies for themselves."

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Ian Sinclair
Fri Jul 02, 2010 9:40 am
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Ian



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Post Post subject: EDP letter - re: editorial on Israeli attack on aid convoy Reply with quote

Published - edited slightly

Dear Sir/Madam

Your recent editorial on the Israeli attack on the aid flotilla to Gaza ('Israel must stop being a fool to itself', June 2) contained a number of misleading assertions that cloud this important debate.

Firstly, you state "the very last thing" Hamas wants is a deal with Israel. However, in April 2008 BBC News reported that Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal told a news conference "that Hamas would accept a Palestinian state on the land occupied by Israel in the 1967 war." The same news story noted former US president Jimmy Carter "criticised the US and Israel for refusing to meet" Hamas.

Secondly, you argue "to depict the Israeli blockade of Gaza an an entirely inhumane and unjustified policy is at best to embrace utter naivity and at worst to sign up to malevolent propaganda."

In contrast, Amnesty International notes that Israel’s continuing blockade of Gaza as "a form of collective punishment… is a flagrant violation of international law." In a recent statement The Elders - a group of former world leader including Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu - called the blockade "one of the world’s greatest human rights violations" and "illegal" under international law. Richard Falk, the UN Special Rapporteur responsible for human rights in the Palestinian territories, has described the blockade of Gaza as a "massive form of collective punishment" that is "a crime against humanity."

Are all of these highly respected organisations and public figures the naïve victims of Hamas propaganda?

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Ian Sinclair
Fri Jul 02, 2010 9:41 am
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Ian



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

Published...

Dear Sir/Madam

I fully support M Wallis's excellent letter (Letters, 8 July) which congently critiqued both the continuing British occupation of Afghanistan and the EDP's unwavering support for this deeply unpopular foreign policy.

M Wallis rightly notes "It is the very presence of infidel boots on Afghan soil" which is increasing support for the Taliban. The results of a March 2010 International Council on Security and Development survey of over 400 Afghan men from Helmand and Kandahar following the much publicised US/NATO Marjah offensive fully supports this argument: 96 percent of respondents answered yes to the question "Were a lot of civilians killed during the Marjah operation?". Unsurprisingly, 61 percent said they felt more negative about foreign troops after the offensive with 71 percent saying NATO troops should leave Afghanistan.

Most importantly the poll found 74 percent of respondents supported negotiations with the Taliban. With 60 percent of the British public also supporting negotiatons with the Taliban according to a poll this month by PoliticsHome, it is clear this is the right and popular course of action - something that will drastically reduce the deaths of Afghans and British troops.

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Ian Sinclair
Wed Jul 14, 2010 9:54 am
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Ian



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Post Post subject: Letter to EDP - Andrew Lansley Reply with quote

Published...

Dear Sir/Madam

Andrew Lansley has certainly been busy.

On 7 July the Guardian reported that the new Conservative Health Secretary was pushing for "Beer companies, confectionery firms and crisp-makers… to fund the government's advertising campaign to persuade people to switch to a healthier lifestyle and, in return, will not face new legislation outlawing excessively fatty, sugary and salty food."

Last week Lansley announced the Food Standards Agency would be abolished, a move Tam Fry of the National Obesity Forum labelled the old Conservative party policy of "being the political wing of business".

Then on 13 July Lansley unveiled a white paper on NHS 'reform' that Kingsley Manning of the private health firm Tribal said "could lead to the denationalisation of healthcare services in England."

Where are the voices of protest against these brazenly corporate-friendly policies from the supposedly progressive and principled Liberal Democrats? Unfortunately with the Lib-Dems fully backing June's regressive emergency budget that will hit the poor harder than the rich according to the Institute for Fiscal Studies it is clear Clegg and his Lib-Dem cabinet colleagues are Conservatives in all but name.

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Ian Sinclair
Thu Jul 22, 2010 10:02 am
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Ian



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Post Post subject: Letter to EDP - Occupying Afghanistan makes us safer? Reply with quote

Not published.

Dear Sir/Madam

By arguing "the terror threat in this country" is "closely connected with the politics of Afghanistan" ('Liberty is winning over security', July 14) the EDP closely echoes the official justification for the continuing British occupation. For example, in a statement to the House of Commons on June 14, David Cameron said "let me address the first question people are asking: why are we in Afghanistan? I can answer in two words: national security. That is why we are there."

Responding to the Prime Minister's comments Richard Barrett, the former head of counter-terrorism for the Secret Intelligence Service, told the Financial Times "That’s complete rubbish. I’ve never heard such nonsense". Barrett, who is currently heading a UN team tracking the Taliban and al-Qaeda, went on to warn that the presence of foreign troops in Afghanistan risked inflaming anti-western sentiment among British Muslim communities. "I’m quite sure if there were no foreign troops in Afghanistan there’d be less agitation in Leeds, or wherever", he said.

It seems a majority of the British public agree with Barrett, with an April 2010 Sunday Mirror/Independent poll showing that 51 percent of people agreed with the statement "the threat of terrorism on British soil is increased by British forces remaining in Afghanistan".

Kind regards

Ian Sinclair
Fri Jul 30, 2010 12:33 pm
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