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November 24, 2005

I’m puzzled by the memo

I’m puzzled by the memo leaked to the Mirror a couple of days ago. This claims that Bush wanted to bomb Al-Jazeera headquarters in Qatar, until he was talked out of it by Blair. It’s a crazy idea even for Bush, but that doesn’t mean it is impossible. What I find hard to believe is the story of how the document came to light. According to the Mirror article:

The memo, which also included details of troop deployments, turned up in May last year at the Northampton constituency office of then Labour MP Tony Clarke.

Would something this damaging be handed out willy-nilly to MPs - especially to somebody like Tony Clarke, whose voting record shows that he was reasonably anti-war and anti-Blair in the first place.

But then, the government seems to be treating it as if it’s genuine - charging people and threatening editors under the Official Secrets Act. So I’m confused - I guess it’s possible that somebody leaked this to Tony Clarke in the past, and that he and his staff kept it secret until now. It might become clearer in a while - for now, I’ll just hope that the document turns up on Cryptome, which it will if it gets into the public domain.

[also covered by the Guardian, The Times, and probably a few others.]

November 7, 2005

Money in Iraq

The Iraq Analysis site site is accumulating an impressive amount of new content at the moment.

Among it is a fairly damning statement from the IAMB on contract management in Iraq:

The KPMG audit of the 23 sole sourced contracts revealed exceptions in a number of cases including * (i) insufficient documentation to justify non-competitive contracting action, * (ii) lack of support for the provision of services or receipts of goods, and * (iii) discrepancies in the amount billed.

And then they recomment “_ that amounts disbursed to contractors that cannot be supported as fair be reimbursed expeditiously_”

So, one more point goes to those distrustful anti-american anti-corporate types.

On a similar topic, somebody from Corpwatch (the US one) has written this book about the economic end of the war. It might be horribly out-of-date by now (it was published November 2004), but then everything on Iraq seems out of date at the moment. I’m planning to read it anyway, if I can get hold of a copy.

November 2, 2005

Galloway summary

This, despite being 6 months old, is a very useful summary of the allegations against George Galloway. (via crooked timber, which also brings the story up-to-date)