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Ian



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

Post Post subject: Letter to EDP - Chemical weapons in Falluja Reply with quote

Published, edited slightly.

Dear Sir/Madam

Following the publication of the Afghan War Logs the spotlight has been turned on to the increasingly brutal and deadly war in Afghanistan. However, we should not forget the continuing humanitarian catastrophe the US and UK visited on Iraq with their illegal 2003 invasion.

Last month Patrick Cockburn from the Independent newspaper reported the results of a new study which showed how "Dramatic increases in infant mortality, cancer and leukaemia in the Iraqi city of Fallujah, which was bombarded by US Marines in 2004, exceed those reported by survivors of the atomic bombs that were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945". Cockburn went on to note "Iraqi doctors in Fallujah have complained since 2005 of being overwhelmed by the number of babies with serious birth defects, ranging from a girl born with two heads to paralysis of the lower limbs".

Dr Chris Busby, the lead author of the survey published by the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, said that while he could not identify the type of armaments used by the Marines, the extent of genetic damage suffered by inhabitants suggested the use of uranium in some form: "My guess is that they used a new weapon against buildings to break through walls and kill those inside."

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Ian Sinclair
Mon Aug 09, 2010 10:00 am
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Ian



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

Post Post subject: Letter to EDP re: Con-Dem cuts Reply with quote

Published.

Dear Sir/Madam

As the Conservative-Lib Dem coalition Government sharpens its knives for what the Institute for Fiscal Studies has called the "longest, deepest, sustained period of cuts to public services spending... since World War II" George Osborne has repeatedly said "we are all in this together".

However, let's not forget that out of the 23 full-time cabinet members, 18 are millionaires according to the Times newspaper. We shouldn't be surprised then by the results of a recent Fabian Society study that found the poorest 10% of households, earning under £14,200, will see a cut equivalent to more than one fifth of their income. By contrast the richest, those earning over £49,700, will suffer a cut of just 3.6%.

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Ian Sinclair
Tue Aug 17, 2010 11:55 am
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Ian



Joined: 16 Jan 2004
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Location: Norwich, England

Post Post subject: Letter to EDP re: American 'withdrawal' from Iraq Reply with quote

Published - edited

Dear Sir/Madam

By unquestionably reporting the imminent American “withdrawal” from Iraq, the mainstream media have once again let the US and UK Government’s define the terms of the debate.

However, as the top US military spokesman in Iraq recently noted, “In practical terms nothing will change”. 50,000 US troops will remain in Iraq and, as the New York Times notes, “what soldiers today would call combat operations – hunting insurgents, joint raids between Iraqi security forces and United States Special Forces to kill or capture or arrest militants – will be called ‘stability operations’.”

Why did the US and UK invade in the first place? The consensus among the political and media elite is that George Bush and Tony Blair blundered into Iraq and through poor planning failed in their attempt to institute democracy. In contrast a recent Zogby International survey of public opinion in the Middle East shows that the people living in the Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Jordan, Lebanon, and the United Arab Emirates have an entirely different take on Western intervention in the region. Asked which was the most important factor driving US policy in the Middle East, just 5 percent said it was “promoting democracy”, while 45 percent it was about “controlling oil”.

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Ian Sinclair
Thu Aug 26, 2010 11:47 am
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Ian



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

Post Post subject: Letter to EDP - Coalition Government vs Economists Reply with quote

Not published...

Dear Sir/Madam

Predictably a large portion of the mainstream media is fully onboard with the Conservative-Lib Dem Government's argument that public spending needs to be cut radically and quickly to save the economy.

However, a large number of economists strongly disagree. For example, 58 economists wrote to the Financial Times in February to warn that starting a fiscal squeeze immediately could jeopardise the recovery, and "for the good of the British people, the first priority must be to restore robust economic growth".

In February Nobel Prize-winning American economist Joseph Stiglitz said he was "incredulous" at the Conservatives' plans to cut spending, dismissing as "crazy" and "fear-mongering" the claim that Britain is at risk of defaulting on its debts. In addition, last year Paul Krugman, another American Nobel-Prize winning economist, told the journalist Johann Hari he was "shocked" when he heard David Cameron's economic statements in favour of "tightening the government's belt" in a recession. Describing the Prime Minister's statements as "just wrong", Krugman went on to note that Cameron's policies - now fully supported by the Liberal Democrats - will make the recession much worse.

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Ian Sinclair
Fri Sep 24, 2010 11:17 am
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Ian



Joined: 16 Jan 2004
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Location: Norwich, England

Post Post subject: Letter to EDP re: public spending cuts Reply with quote

Published, edited slightly...

Dear Sir/Madam

By calling the public spending cuts "inevitable" ('Keep cuts fair', October 13), the EDP - along with much of the mainstream media - is playing a circular, self-fulfilling game that will have huge reprussions for the most vulnerable members of society.

However, a large number of economists strongly disagree. For example, 58 economists wrote to the Financial Times before the general election to warn that starting a fiscal squeeze immediately could jeopardise the recovery, and "for the good of the British people, the first priority must be to restore robust economic growth".

In February, Nobel Prize-winning American economist Joseph Stiglitz said he was "incredulous" at the Conservatives' plans to cut spending, dismissing as "crazy" and "fear-mongering" the claim that Britain is at risk of defaulting on its debts. In addition, last year Paul Krugman, another American Nobel-Prize winning economist, told the journalist Johann Hari he was "shocked" when he heard David Cameron's economic statements in favour of "tightening the government's belt" in a recession. Describing the Prime Minister's statements as "just wrong", Krugman went on to note that Cameron's policies - now fully supported by the Liberal Democrats - will make the recession much worse.

The trade unions, the Green Party and the Coalition of Resistance coalition as well as many other organisations are actively resisting the government's ideological attack on public services with a rally outside Downing Street at 18:00 on 20 October 2010. Perhaps the EDP should give more coverage to the resistance rather than the cutters?

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Ian Sinclair
Wed Oct 27, 2010 9:48 am
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Ian



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Location: Norwich, England

Post Post subject: Letter to EDP: IFS vs Con-Dem Government Reply with quote

Published.

Dear Sir/Madam

A pattern is emerging with each of the Coalition Government budget announcements.

Unveiling the Government's emergencgy budget in June, Chancellor George Osborne described the £6 billion cuts as "tough but fair". In contrast the respected Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) labelled the budget "regressive", with the poor being hit hardest.

Last month the Chancellor used the word "fair" 24 times to launch the £83 billion of cuts that made up the Comprehensice Spending Review. Again, the IFS dismissed the Government's positive gloss, noting "the tax and benefit components of the fiscal consolidation are, overall, being implemented in a regressive way". James Browne, an IFS anaylst, went on to explain that families with children were "the biggest losers" and "the poorest are losing more as a proportion of their income as a result of these changes."

All this is not lost on the British public, with a recent Guardian/ICM poll finding that 48% of all voters thought the cuts went too far (36% thought the balance about right and 8% wanted them to go further).

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Ian Sinclair
Mon Nov 08, 2010 1:57 pm
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Ian



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

Post Post subject: Letter to EDP: RAF Marham's "proud history"? Reply with quote

Published...

Dear Sir/Madam

If Adam Holloway MP is correct that "the Taliban are, in fact, hundreds of groups, most of whom are no more than traditional Afghan Muslims, the sons of local farmers" and the British occupation of Afghanistan "is making attacks on the streets of Britain more, not less, likely", is the EDP right to refer to this operation as part of RAF Marham's "proud history" ('Now Norfolk's united to save Marham', November 13)?

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Ian Sinclair
Mon Dec 13, 2010 10:49 am
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Ian



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

Post Post subject: Letter to EDP: Eyewitness account of Taliban insurgency Reply with quote

Published...

Dear Sir/Madam

Those interested in reading an independent eyewitness account of the escalating war in Afghanistan would do well to seek out The Guardian's Ghaith Abdul-Ahad's recent series of extraordinary reports from inside a Taliban group just north of Kabul.

Asked by Abdul-Ahad why he was fighting, the group's commander replies "Because the foreigners are here." Then, after an attack by American forces that kills several of the group, Abdul-Ahad describes one of the dead men's sons "running around like a mad animal screaming 'Revenge! Revenge! By the name of god!'"

With a recent US Defence Department report noting "combat incidents" had increased 300 percent since 2007 and President Obama sending more troops in to Afghanistan, this cycle of violence and hatred will only get worse.

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Ian Sinclair
Mon Dec 13, 2010 10:50 am
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Ian



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

Post Post subject: Letter to EDP: why there is “no campaigning against IEDs” Reply with quote

Published...

Dear Sir/Madam

T W Eggett (Letters, December 3) asks why there is “no campaigning against IEDs” planted by the Taliban.

As a British citizen I share responsibility for the actions of the British Government, who have been occupying Afghanistan for over nine years. And as a British citizen I have immeasurably more power to effect change by lobbying the British Government than I do the Taliban, who do not represent me in anyway and for whose actions I do not bear any responsibility for.

As the American dissident Noam Chomsky noted: “it’s a very simple ethical point: you are responsible for the predictable consequences of your actions, you’re not responsible for the predictable consequences of somebody else’s actions.”

During the Cold War Soviet citizens who criticised the United States were not only tolerated but positively encouraged to do so by the Soviet Government. What could be better for the Soviet Government than for people to direct their anger at the crimes of the official enemy? However, it was the Soviet citizens who criticised their own government who were directing their energy at the right target.

But while Soviet citizens who publicly criticised their own Government could have ended up in the Gulag, T W Eggett lives in one of the most free and democratic societies in the world. So why does he choose to focus his ire on the official enemy rather than the murderous actions of his own government?

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Ian Sinclair
Mon Dec 13, 2010 10:51 am
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Ian



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

Post Post subject: Letter to EDP re: Labour public spending myth Reply with quote

Published...

Dear Sir/Madam

Paul Milner (letters, December 23) channels the Coalition Government's propaganda by arguing that cuts are needed "because of the 'spend now pay later' policies of New Labour".

Rather, as the website www.ukpublicspending.co.uk makes clear, until the September 2008 financial crisis New Labour's public spending was little different from the level of spending under the previous Tory Administrations. For example, in 2008 public spending was 39.75 per cent of GDP, while in 1995 public spending was 40.76 per cent of GDP.

Luckily an increasing number of people are seeing through the Government's deceptions, with a recent ComRes/Sunday Mirror poll finding a 55 per cent of respondents now reckon the cuts are "too severe and too fast", while four in 10 voters now believe the Government exaggerated the need for big cuts for party political reasons.

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Ian Sinclair
Wed Jan 05, 2011 10:32 am
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Ian



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

Post Post subject: Letter to EDP re: Egypt and the US Reply with quote

Published, edited slightly...

Dear Sir/Madam

Close to being deposed, President Mubarak has attempted to intimidate the protesters on the Egyptian streets with low-flying F-16 jets, tanks and tear gas. All of this military hardware was made in the United States, who have been bolstering Mubarak's regime for 30 years. According to Reuters, in 2010 the US provided Egypt with $1.3 billion dollars in military aid.

The Guardian's Simon Tisdall notes that "while the US favours Egyptian political reform in theory, in practice it props up an authoritarian system for pragmatic reasons of national self-interest."

So while events on the ground have forced the US Government to drop their support of their one favoured dictator, we should remember that if democracy flourishes in Egypt it will be in spite, not because, of the US Government.

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Ian Sinclair
Wed Feb 09, 2011 10:47 am
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Ian



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

Post Post subject: Letter to EDP re: royal wedding Reply with quote

Printed, edited slightly...


Dear Sir/Madam

The EDP report about who will be attending the royal wedding ('King of Cambodia will not be a guest', April 23) failed to mention the shocking fact the Crown Prince of Bahrain is set to be present at Westminster Abbey for the ceremony. This man is currently directing a murderous suppression of pro-democracy demonstrations in his own country which has left more than 25 dead and hundreds injured. Physicians for Human Rights recently confirmed over 32 Bahraini doctors, surgeons and other medical staff have been detained, with one even arrested while operating on a patient.

Commenting on the wedding invitation list the anti-monarchy group Republic note that it 'reads like a "Who's Who" of tyrants and their cronies. Whatever happened to William's supposedly strong social conscience?'

Of course, I wish every couple a happy wedding day but these inconvenient facts leave a nasty taste in the mouth, don't they?

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Ian Sinclair
Tue May 03, 2011 8:51 am
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Ian



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

Post Post subject: Letter to EDP re: royal wedding Reply with quote

Printed.


Dear Sir/Madam

While there is undoubtedly a large amount of interest in the royal wedding, am I the only person to think the EDP's blanket, pravda-style coverage is over the top? Yes polls tend to show majority support for maintaining the monarchy but they also show about 20 percent of the population would like to get rid of the royal family.

A recent ComRes survey found 38 percent of people were not planning on watching the ceremony, while a YouGov poll found 36 percent of respondents opposed public funding for the wedding.

With this in mind, where are the articles in the EDP critical of the monarchy? Surely basic journalistic standards mean the EDP should reflect all shades of public opinion rather than unquestionably fawning over what many people consider to be an archaic, hereditary, upper-class, patriarchal, militaristic institution?

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Ian Sinclair
Tue May 03, 2011 8:52 am
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Ian



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

Post Post subject: Letter to EDP re: Iraqi and oil Reply with quote

Printed, edited slightly.


Dear Sir/Madam

The EDP has always been quick to dismiss any connection between the illegal US/UK invasion of Iraq in 2003 and the vast oil reserves found in Iraq and the wider region. However, recently published documents suggest the EDP might have to change its position.

Last month The Independent reported that "five months before the March 2003 invasion, Baroness Symons, then the Trade Minister, told BP that the Government believed British energy firms should be given a share of Iraq's enormous oil and gas reserves as a reward for Tony Blair's military commitment to US plans for regime change."

Documents released by the Chilcot Inquiry last week show that in December 2001 MI6 sent a memo to Sir David Manning, Tony Blair's foreign policy adviser, advising that toppling Saddam Hussein "remains a prize because it could give new security to oil supplies".

Those wishing to learn more about the role of oil in the invasion and occupation of Iraq would do well to read Greg Muttitt's brilliant new book Fuel on the Fire.

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Ian Sinclair
Thu May 19, 2011 1:09 pm
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Ian



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

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

Published, edited slightly.


Dear Sir/Madam

As British troops handed over control of Sangin in Afghanistan to US forces in September 2010, David Cameron argued "Our troops have performed magnificently in Sangin and I pay tribute to the thousands who have served, to the over 100 who've given their lives and to the many who have been wounded. They did not die in vain".

Although it is depressing and shocking thought, a recent poll of just over 1400 Afghan military aged men strongly suggests they did indeed die in vain. The results of the International Council on Security and Development poll for the Sangin area shows fully 99% of respondents "think NATO military operations are bad for the Afghan people". The same percentage of respondents said "working with the foreigners is wrong." 72% of interviewees are more negative about the foreign forces than a year ago.

The executive summary of the survey notes there is "increasing resentment of the foreign presence within the local population" in southern Afghanistan.

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Ian Sinclair
Tue May 31, 2011 9:39 am
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Ian



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Location: Norwich, England

Post Post subject: Letter to EDP: 'Peacekeeping in Afghanistan' Reply with quote

Not published.


Dear Sir/Madam

Those still under the illusion that UK and NATO troops are in Afghanistan as ‘peacekeeping forces’ would do well to read the recent work of Stephen Grey, a journalist at The Times newspaper.

Described by one Pentagon adviser as an "industrial scale counter-terrorism killing machine", the US's ongoing Kill-Capture campaign in Afghanistan has killed over 3000 Taliban fighters in the last year and captured more than 8000, according to Grey, quoting US military figures.

Similarly Gareth Porter, reporting for the IPS news agency, notes that in December 2010 US General Petraeus’s command said a total of 4,100 Taliban rank and file had been captured in the previous six months and 2,000 had been killed. “Those figures were critical to creating a new media narrative hailing the success of SOF [Special Operation Forces] operations as reversing what had been a losing U.S. strategy in Afghanistan.”, argues Porter. However, analysing the US military’s own data, Porter discovered that more than 80 percent of those called captured Taliban fighters were released within days of having been picked up, because they were found to have been innocent civilians. “The deceptive nature of those statistics… raises anew the question of whether the statistics released by Petraeus on killing of alleged Taliban were similarly skewed”, concludes Porter.

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Ian Sinclair
Mon Jun 20, 2011 10:01 am
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Ian



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Post Post subject: Letter to EDP - GM crops Reply with quote

Published.

Dear Sir/Madam

George Richards (letters, July 9) believes those who oppose genetically-modified crops have a "neo-Luddite attitude" because GM means "more food for the hungry".

In contrast a four-year UN-sponsored report published in 2008 involving 400 scientists and chaired by Robert Watson, the then Chief Scientific advisor at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, concluded that GM crops had only a minor part to play in eradicating world hunger.

Noting that enough food was already being produced to feed the world's population while 800 million people went hungry, Watson noted "You cannot argue that Africa has hunger because it doesn't have GM today. We have more food today than ever before but it isn't getting to the right people. It's not a food production problem, it's a rural development problem."

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Ian Sinclair
Thu Jul 14, 2011 1:11 pm
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Ian



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Post Post subject: Letter to EDP - UK and Libya Reply with quote

Published...

Dear Sir/Madam

Britain's role in the NATO intervention in Libya was sold to the public as protecting the civilian population of Benghazi from the oncoming forces of Colonel Gaddafi.

Since the setting up of the no-fly zone in March, British planes have bombed approximately 1000 targets right across Libya according to the Ministry of Defence.

Moreover, British planes are currently bombing Sirte - where a number of Gaddafi loyalists are holed up - at the same time aid agencies are saying a humanitatian crisis is unfolding in the coastal city. Speaking on The Today Programme last week, the BBC's Alastair Leithhead reported that the National Transitional Council forces, who NATO are supporting, were targetting Sirte's university with heavy weapons.

"It's a dire situation... Because of lack of oxygen and fuel for the generator, people are dying", an official from the International Committee of the Red Cross told Agence France-Press on Sunday after visiting Sirte. "Wounded or ill people cannot get to the hospital because of the fighting and NATO air strikes". In addition, Agence France-Press reported one fleeing resident as saying "I left with my family as we are caught between NATO bombings and shelling by rebels. NATO, in particular, is bombing at random and is often hitting civilian buildings".

So much for protecting the civilian populaton of Libya.

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Ian Sinclair
Thu Oct 06, 2011 1:01 pm
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Ian



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Post Post subject: Letter to EDP re: Remembrance Sunday and EDP Reply with quote

Not published...

Dear Sir/Madam

As it does every year, I see the EDP devoted a large portion of the November 11 edition of the paper to Remembrance Sunday and the Poppy Appeal ('Take two minutes to remember lost lives', 'Lest we forget', 'When you remember - remember us', November 11).

I also note the EDP has fully supported the wars of choice in Afghanistan and Iraq in which, as of November 11, 564 British soldiers have died and thousands have been seriously injured.

Am I the only person to find these two basic facts deeply troubling and dangerously hypocritical?

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Ian Sinclair
Mon Nov 21, 2011 11:10 am
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Ian



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Post Post subject: Letter to EDP - reply to Martin Mears on climate change Reply with quote

Dear Sir/Madam

Judging by his latest column (‘This protest against global capitalism is so infantile’, November 11), Martin Mears is the last person one would read to get even the most basic understanding of history.

Mears asserts Occupy London Stock Exchange “bears little resemblance to traditional ways of protesting”, which he argues is about waving a placard as you march through the streets. However, occupations/sit-ins have a long and proud history including The Diggers of 1649, Gandhi in South Africa in the early twentieth century, the occupations of the Upper Clyde shipyards in the 1970s and Tiananmen Square in 1989.

Mears goes on to argue capitalists "generally make money and jobs for lots of other people". In contrast, George Monbiot recently noted: "The very rich are often described as wealth creators. But they have preyed upon the earth’s natural wealth and their workers’ labour and creativity, impoverishing both people and planet. Now they have almost bankrupted us. The wealth creators of neoliberal mythology are some of the most effective wealth destroyers the world has ever seen."

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Ian Sinclair
Wed Dec 21, 2011 6:06 pm
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Ian



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Post Post subject: Letter to EDP - Afghan reality Reply with quote

Published.

Dear Sir/Madam

With the grim milestone of 400 British servicemen and women dead in Afghanistan likely to be reached in the coming weeks, it seems the right time to ask critical questions about the continuing British occupation.

According to a recently leaked NATO report the Taliban remain defiant and have wide support among the Afghan people. "Afghan civilians frequently prefer Taliban governance over the Afghan government, usually as a result of government corruption”, the report notes. The level of support is so great, the report explains, that even members of the Afghan government have shown interest in joining the Taliban cause.

This bleak assessment is supported by the testimony of US Army Officer Lt. Col. Daniel L. Davis, who after spending twelve months in Afghanistan interviewing more than 250 soldiers, told the Armed Forces journal he “witnessed the absence of success on virtually every level.” He goes on to explain: “What I saw bore no resemblance to rosy official statements by U.S. military leaders about conditions on the ground.”

With the British army repeatedly proclaiming they are “turning the corner” and “making progress” in Afghanistan, it is clear the British public is also being mislead about the reality on the ground in Afghanistan.

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Ian Sinclair
Tue Mar 06, 2012 11:30 am
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Ian



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Post Post subject: Letter to EDP: Afghanistan and television documentaries Reply with quote

Dear Sir/Madam

Thomas Eggett (Letters, March 1) argues “the only way to get a truthful clear picture of the conflict” in Afghanistan “is to watch TV documentaries.”

Is Mr Eggett aware that nearly all television reports and documentaries are undertaken by journalists “embedded” with British forces? Kim Sengupta, who reports from Afghanistan for The Independent, notes “you are not going to get the full picture” from embedded journalists. Thomas Harding, the Telegraph’s defence correspondent, argues the Ministry of Defence “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.” Harding goes on to say “Dealing with the Ministry of Defence is genuinely more stressful than coming under fire. We have been lied to and we have been censored.”

On the specific issue of television reporting The Guardian’s James Meek, who was embedded in Helmand in 2006, notes “I was told quite candidly that the priority was the tabloids and television because it was important for recruitment.”

I would also politely suggest that Mr Eggett’s continued support for the British occupation of Afghanistan is needlessly endangering the lives of the very soldiers he says he supports, and makes a terrorist attack on the UK more, not less, likely.

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Ian Sinclair
Mon Apr 02, 2012 4:00 pm
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Ian



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Post Post subject: Letter to EDP re: Health and Social Care Bill Reply with quote

Published.

Dear Sir/Madam

According to Colin Leys, honorary professor of politics at Goldsmiths College London, the proposed Health and Social Care Bill will "replace the NHS as a public service with a system of competing businesses - foundation trusts, social enterprises and for-profit corporations."

Both Norwich's MPs, Chloe Smith and Simon Wright, support this Bill. In contrast, the latest YouGov poll showed only 14 percent of the population support the Bill, with 48 percent opposed (38 percent were undecided).

The bill is opposed by the following organisations: the British Medical Association, Royal College of Nursing, Royal College of Midwives, Royal College of GPs, Chartered Society of Physiotherapy, Royal College of Pathologists, Royal College of Radiologists, Royal College of Psychiatrists and Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health. A recent poll revealed that nine out of ten members of the Royal College of Physicians - hospital doctors - oppose the bill. In addition, all three leading health journals, the British Medical Journal, the Lancet and the Health Service Journal, have published a joint critique of the Bill.

The Houses of Commons is about to have its final vote on the Bill. Everyone who opposes the privatisation of the NHS should contact their MP immediately.

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Ian Sinclair
Mon Apr 02, 2012 4:02 pm
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Ian



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Post Post subject: Letter to EDP re: drink driving Reply with quote

Published.

Dear Sir/Madam

In opposing a reduction in the drink-drive limit because “the only people affected would be those who have habitually been driving on or near the limit for 50 years without harming” anyone, Keith Would (Letters, March 17) makes a very dangerous argument.

In 2010 a government commissioned report by Sir Peter North recommended cutting the current drink-drive limit from 80mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood to 50mg. Basing his report on research by the National Institute of Health and Clinical Excellence, North noted as many as 168 lives could be saved by a reduced drink-drive limit in the first year it was introduced. In contrast to Mr Would, North noted the dangers of drinking and driving even if you are under the current legal limit. “With a blood alcohol level between my proposed new limit of 50mg per 100ml and the current 80mg per 100ml limit, a driver has a six times greater risk of road death than a non-drinking driver.”

This evidence chimes with public statements made by British Medical Association Scotland, an organisation also pushing for a reduction in the limit to 50mg, who have noted “Any amount of alcohol affects an individual’s ability to drive safely”.

According to the BBC, 21 European countries have a drink drive limit of 50mg of alcohol or less per 100ml of blood.

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Ian Sinclair
Mon Apr 02, 2012 4:02 pm
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Ian



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

Published. Edited slightly.


Dear Sir/Madam

As a UEA graduate I was appalled by Thomas Otte’s scaremongering and propagandistic article on Iran (‘Time is short to tackle the Iran nuclear issue’, March 17).

Dr Otte argues “the most pressing international issue at the moment is Iran and the nuclear ambitions of its leadership”. In contrast US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said the following on CBS News in January 2012: “Are they [Iran] trying to develop a nuclear weapon? No.” A day after Dr Otte’s article was published, the Israeli English language newspaper Hareetz carried the headline “Mossad, CIA agree Iran has yet to decide to build a nuclear weapon.”

Dr Otte goes on to repeat the old canard about the Iranian president calling for Israel to be wiped off the map, seemingly unaware this has been thoroughly debunked by Juan Cole, Professor of Modern Middle East and South Asian History at the University of Michigan.

Dr Otte also highlights “Israel’s existential fear of a nuclear-armed Iran.” However, he doesn’t mention that Israel has around 200 (undeclared) nuclear weapons of its own.

A decade has not yet passed since the UK invaded Iraq on the pretext of Weapons of Mass Destruction that didn’t exist, and Washington’s useful idiots are at it again. As a supporter of the illegal invasion of Iraq, the EDP has a duty to provide its readers with accurate and evidence-based information on this very important subject.

Kind regards

Ian Sinclair
Mon Apr 02, 2012 4:03 pm
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