Monday, November 20, 2006

"Suspect Nation"

Just watched "Suspect Nation" on More4 this evening. Nothing surprising from my point of view - apart from the fact they actually got the CCTV footage they requested from the Houses of Parliament - and I'm not sure enough people will have seen it who didn't already know of the problems discussed in it. Of which there were many, particularly in regard to the RFID enabled passports and ID Cards.

Which is disappointing. Particularly when you consider the dumbing down of the popular science strands - such as Horizon, which recently had Danny Wallace investigating whether chimps can understand language and should be classified as people - and the lack of hard-hitting journalism on the main terrestrial channels. Celebrity Big Brother or the X Factor, yes, stuff that is actually important, hell no, check out one of the minority channels instead.

The most interesting thing - from my point of view - was how the "No Fly List" used by the Americans to decide who can fly into and around the US, contained people who disagreed with the current government's position. Not terrorists in any way shape or form, but people like Senator Teddy Kennedy.

The War Against Terror (and the acronym sums up those who introduced it) has been used to introduce the majority of Civil Liberty infringing laws in both the UK & the USA. Unfortunately, these laws are now being used to restrict the populations of these countries from complaining about the changes. And there has never been a debate about how the Civil Rights - which have been in place since the signing of the Magna Carta - have been removed.

300 million people in the US alone had their telephone conversations monitored by their own government. That's a lot of people.

"Beneath Iraq And A Hard Place"

Annoyingly, "Suspect Nation" was followed by "Beneath Iraq and a Hard Place". I say annoyingly as I'm not sure how many people would have watched this either. Which is a shame as this was also an excellent piece of investigative journalism, into how American companies have profiteered out of Iraq and how 98% of the money sent into Iraq is unaccounted for. That's 98% of nearly $1billion just washing around somewhere in Iraq or, indeed, anywhere in the world. Yet if you transfer more than £1000 from your bank account to the Middle East, you're probably going to be investigated by the CIA.

Haliburton, under the auspices of Dick Cheney, had gas turbine generators sent in to produce electricity. Unfortunately, Iraq has never been a large producer of natural gas, so these turbines had to be changed to use low-grade oil at increased expense and for much lower electricity output. The companies who oversaw this are immune from any potential lawsuits from Iraq, so will never have to pay a cent toward the added costs they've caused.

The US have now stated they never intended to fully re-build Iraq after the invasion and that it was supposed to be "a jump start". Hundreds of thousands of people have died, cities around the world have been put at risk, and billions of dollars spent on a mission that was never intended to be completed.

$200bn has been wasted in Iraq due to the lack of planning prior to the invasion. As the late, great, Bill Hicks said, "the amount of money spent on weapons every day would be enough to feed and clothe the entire world many times over, without missing a single person out. We could then investigate space - both inner and outer - and go ahead as one to the stars."

Amen to that.



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