Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Further BBC News TV Footage Predicting WTC Building 7's Collapse

But this one has the time on the screen.....

When It Rains, It Pours: BBC News 24 Reports WTC7 Collapse Before It Fell

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Tuesday, February 27, 2007

The BBC / 9/11 coverage - an official response

The BBC have lost the original news footage? They say it was just a mistake?? Hmmmm......
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BBC News
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The Editors

BBC News
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BBC News

The Editors

Richard Porter

Part of the conspiracy?

1. We're not part of a conspiracy. Nobody told us what to say or do on September 11th. We didn't get told in advance that buildings were going to fall down. We didn't receive press releases or scripts in advance of events happening.

2. In the chaos and confusion of the day, I'm quite sure we said things which turned out to be untrue or inaccurate - but at the time were based on the best information we had. We did what we always did - sourced our reports, used qualifying words like "apparently" or "it's reported" or "we're hearing" and constantly tried to check and double check the information we were receiving.

4. We no longer have the original tapes of our 9/11 coverage (for reasons of cock-up, not conspiracy). So if someone has got a recording of our output, I'd love to get hold of it. We do have the tapes for our sister channel News 24, but they don't help clear up the issue one way or another.

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WTC 7 - update

Since the original Google Video was 'pulled' (pun intended) here are further links to the BBC TV report:
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BBC Reported Building 7 Had Collapsed 20 Minutes Before It Fell

This amazing clip was on Google Video, but was removed within hours of the story breaking. You can watch it for the time being at this link as well as here. Bit torrent versions of the file can be found here. An avi version can be found here. We are attempting to compile numerous mirrors of the video file. Skip forward to around the 14:30 minute mark. We expect the surviving links to quickly disappear, so we've uploaded an FLV file to our own server. Click here to download. You'll need a free player that plays FLV files, a selection of which can be found here. Please use this download to create mirror copies in all formats and e mail the links to us.

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BBC News Announced World Trade Centre Building Collapse 20 Minutes Before It Happened

Was on Google, then was removed but is now hosted on LiveLeak:

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Monday, February 12, 2007

Examples Of Failed Petitions On The 10 Downing Street Website

PM Tony Blair recently took UK democracy forward by providing a facility for members of the public to submit petitions which others could lend their support to. Presumably if a petition receives enough signatories it will then have some bearing on future government policy or lawmaking.

I noticed that, sadly, many seemingly worthy petitions have been rejected for no good reason and I am therefore strongly considering raising a petition myself in order to bring the matter to the Prime Ministers urgent attention. Here are some of the best (all genuine, go check!):

We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to…

....ask his wife to wear a burka more often. a large inpenetrable fence around Hull to protect the surrounding areas from those people.

....agree to allowing trolls to live under every bridge in London.

....give freedom to Tooting.

....attend PMQ's in a clown outfit and greasepaint.

....ban broccoli as an edible foodstuff and reclassify it as a toxic substance.

....provide every person of 70 years of age with a grey squirrel.

....invade France and hence provide us with a war we can all get behind.

....impose a maximum weight limit for women wearing stiletto heels as they pose a massive threat to other members of the public on dance floors and in crowded bars nationwide.

....endorse a scheme that would see the child benefit scheme extended to cats.

....force terrestrial television newsreaders to wear underpants on their head. stop numpties creating Petitions and posting them on internet forums.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Fox News Filters The Truth Yet Again

The US carried out two seperate airstrikes yesterday on two different locations in Iraq. One was in Arab Jabour, a mostly Sunni Muslim suburb south of Baghdad, and resulted in the deaths of 8 suspected terrorists. The other occured at a similar time yesterday evening, in Mosul, and led to the deaths of 8 Kurdish troops and wounding six more. The Kurds were part of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, a supporter of the U.S. in Iraq and the attack was a blue-on-blue incident (ie. friendly fire).

The news of both attacks were released to the media at the same time this morning and early reports by news outlets covered both incidents - except for good old reliable Fox News. They made the effort to mention that during the Arab Jabour raid 'no U.S. forces or Iraqi civilians were injured' and that 'Iraqi soldiers did not take part in the clashes' - almost makes you feel that the war in Iraq is being won, doesn't it? Thanks Fox for being so fair and balanced. 'We Report, You Decide'? No comment.

Why The Bush Approval Ratings Will Fall No Further

President Bush is riding low at the moment, with approval ratings at just 32% - just 26% for how he is handling Iraq - and apparently he is still in a downward spin. You'd assume that he still has some way to go before these ratings bottom out, in which case you might be suprised to find that these figures are unlikely to sink much further. Why? Because roughly 30% of the American people will approve of him no matter what. Nixon bottomed out at 28%, even during Watergate, and why? Because approximately 30% of Americans can be fooled all the time; 30% are blind to reality and hold on tighter to their beliefs the worse things get. So if you're waiting for George Bush's rating to continue going down in the hope that the extra overwhelming public opinion will lead to impeachment or resignation, forget it. The current 70% or so is the maximum level of dissatisfaction that we are likely to see, so those citizens better get a lot louder or smarter if they want to bring about change, cos they ain't getting any bigger.

In-Text Advertising - Selling Tap-Dancing Shoes to Snakes?

There is a form of online marketing which most people will be familiar with which is called 'in-text placement'. This is a contextual form of advertising whereby certain words are underlined on a webpage so when the readers cursor passes over them a pop-up advertisement relating to the keywords appears.

For example, you may be reading an article on lawn maintenance on a gardening website. You may notice certain words or phrases highlighted and underlined, such as grass cutting or mowing and when your cursor is moved over any of these words an advertisement for lawn mowers appears. How relevant and convenient you might think- it seems great in that example - but is it actually so well targeted in the real world? I suggest not.

I was reading an interesting article yesterday which talked about the ability to install Ubuntu (a Linux operating system) while still using Windows XP. The article had my attention and this was the perfect setting for a savvy publisher to ambush me with some well-placed in-text advertising. I must say that certain (seemingly random) words being underlined was a minor distraction and did nothing to enhance the presentation of the webpage, but I was not unduly concerned about this at the time. What totally threw my concentration and ruined my experience was when my mouse pointer drifted over the words Windows Installer, as demonstrated from the actual screenshot below.

Suddenly I found myself being interrupted by a 3" x 1.5" pop-up advertisement for double glazing! I can see why but I don't understand how. How could the person responsible for this ad campaign not see the problem here? How many referrals will Anglian Home Improvements get as a result of this? I decided there and then that I did not like this form of advertising and wanted to banish it from my sight forever.

Apparently I can - a Greasemonkey script called Uh Oh IntelliTXT to block IntelliTXT popups for Firefox users. IntelliTXT can also be deactivated with the Adblock plus Firefox extension by using the string *Intellitxt* in your filter list.

To block IntelliTXT popups in Opera browser simply add the url http://*.** into Tools > Advanced > Blocked Content.

To block IntelliTXT popups in Internet Explorer 7 simply download and install IE7pro and add the string *intellitxt* to your Ad Filter list under the Block list.

Competitors in the in-text advertising space include Kontera, Adbrite, Ontok and LinkWorth.

I'm a Marketing Manager who can usually tell a good or bad strategy simply by experiencing it from the end-users perspective. It takes little empathy to know that in-text advertising of this kind walks a fine line and, on balance, is not the way to go. Its far too invasive and advertisers should know their place.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

How An Attack On Iran Would Be A Calamity For The US

From the rhetoric of President Bush to his dispatch of Patriot air-defense systems and a second carrier battle group to the Persian Gulf, there are growing signs that the Bush administration is showing its willingness to solve the Iranian nuclear crisis with a preemptive military attack. The already tense US-Iran relationship is now a tinderbox.

Secretary of Defense Robert Gates was correct in stating recently that Iran is "acting in a very negative way" in the Middle East. The Islamic Republic trains and supports Hizbullah and Hamas. It provides aid and explosives to Iraqi Shiite militias who attack American soldiers. Most alarming, it seems determined to develop a nuclear bomb. This panics moderate Arab states and poses an existential threat to Israel. The ruling mullahs in Tehran terrorize their own citizens, especially pro-democracy groups.

Bombing Iran, however, will not resolve any of these dangers - it would exacerbate them. But where military strikes would fail, containment and comprehensive negotiations would succeed.

Contrary to conventional accounts, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is neither the most powerful official in Iran nor is he loved by the Iranian people. The authoritarian regime is not united behind Mr. Ahmadinejad and his policies, but divided and uncertain about who will prevail. The real kingpin in Iran is Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei, and his failing health has launched a succession struggle. On one side of this fight are Ahmadinejad, a cabal of leaders from the Revolutionary Guards, and the Basij (the militia-cum-gangs that terrorize the regime's opponents). On the other side is a loose coalition united by their disdain for Ahmadinejad's gross economic mismanagement and reckless hubris. This includes Iran's bulging generation of young people, along with businessmen, technocrats, reformists, allies of former President Hashemi Rafsanjani, and even the conservative Motalefe Party.

After a year of rising stardom, Ahmadinejad is starting to lose in this power struggle. He has not delivered on his campaign pledges to fight corruption or improve the lot of the working classes and the poor. In recent elections for local councils as well as for the powerful 80-man Council of Experts (entrusted with the task of choosing the next spiritual leader) Ahmadinejad and his allies suffered humiliating defeats.

To reverse his waning popular support, Ahmadinejad has tried to change the subject from his domestic failures to his foreign adventures. He knows there is only one thing that could bring the people back to him - a US military attack on Iran. His repulsive remarks about Israel and his nuclear bravado aim precisely to provoke such an attack, which would create the crisis conditions necessary for his faction to seize full power.

Just as Iran's reactionaries are pining for war, some of Iran's more moderate leaders have written a letter asking the Saudi government to help reduce tensions between the US and Iran. Military confrontation with US forces would silence this camp domestically.

In fact, Iran's democratic opposition warns that a US military strike would strengthen the regime hard-liners and weaken their own already limited ability to operate. If Ahmadinejad welcomes war with America and Iran's dissidents fear it, shouldn't the Bush administration think twice about the unintended consequences of military action?

If Ahmadinejad does consolidate power, Iran would act in an even more negative way. Moreover, it would do so with soaring support throughout much of the Muslim world, for an American attack would elevate him to hero status.

This would only fan his faction's ambitions to establish Iranian hegemony in the Middle East. Its support for terrorist organizations would increase. Terrorism, polarization, and sectarian violence would intensify in
Iraq, Lebanon, the Palestinian territories, and
Afghanistan, and could begin to engulf Bahrain and even the Shiite region of Saudi Arabia - where most of the country's oil is.

A sustained US bombing campaign would disrupt Iran's nuclear weapons programs. But the newly consolidated hard-line regime in Tehran would be even more emboldened to acquire nuclear weapons. A preemptive attack, which would lack international legitimacy, would also prompt Iran to withdraw entirely from the nuclear nonproliferation regime, as some of Ahmadinejad's allies have already threatened, while inducing the crucial international fence-sitters - Russia and China - to back Iran without hesitation.

There is an alternative. Rather than throw the reactionaries in Tehran a political lifeline in the form of war, the United States should pursue a more subtle approach: Contain Iranian agents in the region, but offer to negotiate unconditionally with Iran on all the outstanding issues. Comprehensive negotiations could offer the powerful inducements - such as a lifting of the economic embargo and a significant influx of foreign investment and thus jobs - necessary to persuade Iran to halt nuclear enrichment. And if the hard-liners reject the offer, they would have to contend with an angry Iranian public. Such internal strife would be far preferable to an Islamic Republic united against the attacking forces of the "Great Satan."

By Abbas Milani, Larry Diamond,Michael McFaul (Yahoo News, Tue Feb 6, 2007).

Abbas Milani, Larry Diamond, and Michael McFaul are research fellows at the Hoover Institution. They also teach at Stanford University.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

The Truth Behind The Iraq Invasion And A Possible US Conflict With Iran

I originally wrote the following in January 2006 and have decided to resubmit it, with minimal alterations, because of its increasing relevance to the current situation in the US/Middle East:

It is now openly obvious why the US (and its 'coalition of the willing') invaded Iraq (without UN backing) in 2003 under the banner ‘Operation Iraqi Freedom’. It wasn't for the reasons the Bush administration maintained at the time (suspected WMD, a link between Saddam and Al Qaeda, etc. etc.) but to do with the petrodollar. Many people suspected that oil was the underlying reason but few were aware of the more important need to maintain the 'petrodollar recycling' system.

Petrodollar recycling was introduced by the US in the early 70's, when Middle Eastern countries were beginning to produce oil of their own under the OPEC group of nations. Previously, most of the worlds oil was supplied by the US and all trading in this market was carried out using US dollars. When OPEC came into competition with the US oil giants, the Americans struck a deal with their Middle Eastern counterparts in which they would supply Saudi Arabia, etc. with arms as long as OPEC traded their oil in dollars. This meant that if a country wanted oil, for example Japan, they had to sell to the US their home-produced products (Toyota cars for example) in order to raise the necessary dollars to buy their oil from an OPEC country. These dollars were then invested back into the US by, for example, Saudi Arabia and this left the US in a great position. As long as they could print enough dollars to meet demand they would continue to dominate the worlds oil markets and would (and did) make a fortune doing so. This is what ultimately has made the US into the worlds only superpower, with the ability to afford the necessary military might to match.

Thirty years later, at the turn of the millenium, this cosy arrangement came under threat. Saddam Hussein announced his intention to begin trading oil in the other world currency - Euros - and began doing so before the US invasion in 2003. This gave the US serious concerns. With a massive dept of trillions of dollars (made worse by the habit of the average US citizen to spend far more than they saved, using credit to do so) the US could not afford to stand by and watch the petrodollar recycling system be undermined. The risk to the country's status as sole superpower was massive and with the debt the prospect of US economic collapse was very much a reality.

When elected into office, George Bush had as priority #1 to sort out this petrodollar threat by gaining control of Iraq and in 2003 he invaded. One of the first post-war actions was to revert the country's oil trading currency back to the US dollar, even though this meant that approximately 13% of Iraqs trading value was instantly lost (because the Euro was worth more than the dollar at the time). The invasion was also to serve as an example to neighbouring oil producers not to go down the same 'petroeuro' route.

Unfortunately, Iran has plans to begin trading its oil in Euros and Saudi Arabia is giving serious consideration to the idea. Should this happen the US is likely to economically implode, with its massive military very quickly becoming an unaffordable asset. America would become little more than just another country and its global influence would be consigned to the history books, something that is regarded as unthinkable by the corporate elite.

So the US looks increasingly likely to carry out an attack on Iran, probably involving tactical 'battlefield' nuclear weapons (in an attempt to destroy underground installations there). It is not because the Iranians are close to producing their own nuclear arsenal (the Washington Post reported that the most recent National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) of Iran’s nuclear program revealed that, “Iran is about a decade away from manufacturing the key ingredient for a nuclear weapon, roughly doubling the previous estimate of five years.” (see source) but rather to keep the petrodollar on track.

Wargame simulations carried out by the US resulted in the following conclusion being reached by Sam Gardiner, the retired Air Force colonel who has run war games at the National War College for the past two decades: “After all this effort, I am left with two simple sentences for policymakers: You have no military solution for the issues of Iran. And you have to make diplomacy work.” The problem is, as was highlighted in the Iraq invasion and post-war years, that the neo-cons in the Bush administration are prone to acting illogically and against advice provided by people who know far better than themselves. Internationally-respected reporter Seymour Hearsh wrote the following in The New Yorker one year ago:

In my interviews [with former high-level intelligence officials], I was repeatedly told that the next strategic target was Iran. Everyone is saying, ‘You can’t be serious about targeting Iran. Look at Iraq,’ the former [CIA] intelligence official told me. But the [Bush administration officials] say, ‘We’ve got some lessons learned – not militarily, but how we did it politically. We’re not going to rely on agency pissants.’ No loose ends, and that’s why the C.I.A. is out of there."

However, a disturbing article by intelligence analyst Philip Giraldi who, in an article entitled “In Case of Emergency, Nuke Iran,”, said:

The Pentagon, acting under instructions from Vice President Dick Cheney's office, has tasked the United States Strategic Command (STRATCOM) with drawing up a contingency plan to be employed in response to another 9/11-type terrorist attack on the United States. The plan includes a large-scale air assault on Iran employing both conventional and tactical nuclear weapons. Within Iran there are more than 450 major strategic targets, including numerous suspected nuclear-weapons-program development sites. Many of the targets are hardened or are deep underground and could not be taken out by conventional weapons, hence the nuclear option. As in the case of Iraq, the response is not conditional on Iran actually being involved in the act of terrorism directed against the United States. Several senior Air Force officers involved in the planning are reportedly appalled at the implications of what they are doing – that Iran is being set up for an unprovoked nuclear attack – but no one is prepared to damage his career by posing any objections.

Should the US decide to carry out such an attack on Iran, China would undoubtedly become involved, since its massive economic expansion is heavily reliant on oil from the region. The US is leading us down a road to potential global conflict in order to protect its dominance in the world oil markets and is seemingly likely to bring about the pre-conditions to justify an attack regardless of the consequences. Hopefully there will be no 'coalition of the willing' giving Bush and Cheney some kind of international credibility and this may help to deter them from following their plans through, but we're surely in for a bumpy year, one in which the spectre of the US administration and its shadowy backers showing its true colours is quite horrifying.

How the US war with Iran will play out

It seems so obvious, particularly since the Iraq 'thing', how the US (with help from the UK) plan to build up to war with Iran. It appears that they are employing the same method as with the pre-Iraq war :

"A report, put together by Campaign Iran and published at the end of 2006, revealed that Daily Telegraph's political editor Con Coughlin, the man who 'broke the story' of Iraq’s 45 minute WMD capacity, was behind 16 articles containing unsubstantiated allegations against Iran over the past 12 months. The Press Complaints Commission has launched its third investigation into Coughlin in as many months after a number of high level complaints about his latest article on Iran. The investigation is looking at an article by Coughlin on 24 January relying on an unnamed "European defence official" alleging that North Korea is helping Iran prepare a nuclear weapons test."

(source: UK Indymedia)

So convinced am I of the certainty of this that I predict the following train of events:

1. the US struggles to bring the Iraq situation under control and the Iraqi government continues to fail to meet the benchmarks set by the US.

2. these failings, coupled with the 'threat of nuclear weapons' scenario, causes an increase in tensions between the US and Iran.

3. a specific incident, maybe a 'terrorist' attack on US soil or something equally horrific, provides the pretext needed for a first strike by the US against Iran.

4. the war, far from being a short-sharp, shock-&-awe experience, drags out and draws in neighbouring countries (Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Pakistan, etc) into a bigger, uncontrollable and unpredictable confrontation.

5. World War III rages on relentlessly for several decades, with every nation in Europe, the Middle East and Asia being directly involved at some point.

And all this to save the petrodollar from collapsing, sending the already-bankrupt US economy into free-fall.

Hey, Bush, here's that holy crusade you wanted! You better hope that there IS a second comming and your ass gets raptured good and early, since there will be plenty of people wanting to see you hang as a war criminal after all this.......

Monday, February 05, 2007

More Madness From The US

A 21-year-old woman told police Saturday that a man grabbed her off Howard Avenue and raped her behind a building during the Gasparilla festivities.

But officers investigating the case arrested her after learning she had an outstanding warrant from her teenage years for failure to pay restitution.

She spent the next two nights in jail.

Police are reviewing their policies after the arrest, which one victim's advocate said could have "a chilling effect" on the rape investigation, the woman's well-being and the desire of future victims to contact police.

The woman's family is outraged.

"We're incensed. Everyone is just beside themselves," her mother, 47, said at 5:20 p.m. Monday, moments before escorting her daughter from Orient Road Jail.

The Tampa Tribune is not identifying the woman or her family because police are investigating a sex crime.

"You've got to make sure you throw somebody in jail on a four-year-old felony warrant after they've been brutally raped?" the mother said. "It was a failure to take the actual dynamics into play."

and if thats not weird enough.......

Adding to the mother's ire is her claim that a jail nurse prevented her daughter from taking a second dose of emergency contraception prescribed by a nurse at a clinic as part of a rape examination. The jail nurse, said the mother and the victim's attorney, denied the medication for religious reasons.

What a screwed-up country....

Thursday, February 01, 2007