May 10, 2004
May 09, 2004
David Aaronovitch attempts to plant the seeds of exoneration for what took place in Abu Ghraib prison (Comment, last week). In Northern Ireland this twisted logic used to be called 'whataboutery' (yes, the Loyalist murders are horrific but what about the Provo bombings?).
We must dwell on the vile incidents in Iraq precisely because they were perpetuated by the 'representatives of justice'. This evil cannot be forgiven on the back of other evil. The existence of the photos is a blessing. We already know about the Saddams, Pinochets, Suhartos and Sharons of this world. Evil is evil.
Thank you Kevin Downey for introducing me to that word. I'd never heard it before and yet a Google search for it yields 217 results - only a few less than "Jews sans frontieres" gets today. Poor old Aaronovitch has had a tough 8 days though. In last week's Observer he had to tell a bit of a porky, revising his statement that "the Americans... in many ways, have acted in Iraq with extraordinary restraint" to "the restraint [he] had witnessed on the part of US troops in Baghdad". And in The Guardian he had to be corrected from falsely attributing quite serious errors of fact to Naomi Klein. He's playing it safe this week by filing an article on the American cult TV show: Friends. I wish him every success in his new career as a TV critic. Politics clearly isn't his forté.
May 08, 2004
Lord Hutton (aka "Hutton") said that he would investigate the leaking of the Hutton Report (aka "Hutton") to a newspaper. I haven't heard anything about the "Hutton" investigation into "Hutton". I wonder, has "Hutton" done a "Hutton" on "Hutton"? Or was he serious about an investigation?
Here's the reply [name deleted to protect the innocent]
Thank you for your email of 19th April 2004 and I apologise for the delay in replying.
The investigation is still continuing into the disclosure by "The Sun" newspaper of some of the conclusions of Lord Hutton's report before its publication. In the light of the outcome, Lord Hutton will review what further steps he wishes to take.
I hope that this is helpful. [helpful? hmmm, not sure, what do you think?]
Inquiries Policy Division
Department for Constitutional Affairs
54-60 Victoria Street
London, SW1E 6QW
I'll see how people get on with The Guardian. slaughter saga and maybe run another £10 competition like guess when Hutton delivers his verdict on the leak. I'll think about that one. Hutton could tip someone off or pass himself off as someone else, take a guess, announce the findings and pocket my tenner. Hmmm, too risky. I'm gonna save my tenner.
Don't go, there's more. There was a holocaust memorial event at the House of Commons on Tuesday. Now these events don't bother me but this one was organised by the so-called Holocaust Education Trust, Chaired by Lord Janner. They established their name by campaigning against. holocaust education in the form of the late Jim Allen's play: Perdition. Finally, as racist a letter as you will find in a community newspaper. In last week's JC it was said that a Palestinian woman became a suicide bomber to purge her "guilt" over not being able to have children. This, according to the letter writer was an "indictment of Palestinian. thinking and demonstrates the sheer impossibility of reaching "a settlement with such a morally corrupt society". No one in the JC seems to want to ask why the suicide bombings only began in 1994. It's almost as if they don't want their readers to know.
"Sir: Peter Salomon's solution for Palestine (letter, 5 May) is for both sides not to look back, which is fine for the Israeli occupiers who have now annexed 90 per cent of the country, a no-go area for the indigenous Palestinians. Hopefully, he really means to see the demolition of the Apartheid Wall, the opening of roads to all, the reconstruction of Palestinian towns and villages, an end to 'targeted killings' and the repatriation of Palestinian refugees. The country could then call itself 'the only democracy in the Middle East'."
Martlesham Heath, Suffolk
May 07, 2004
May 06, 2004
May 05, 2004
May 04, 2004
May 03, 2004
Consider the following paragraphs from Conal Urquhart's report on the Likud party membership's rejection of Sharon's partial annexation of the occupied territories.
CONAL URQUHART: But the prime minister hinted he would not take no for an answer, promising merely to "examine" the result before proceeding with a plan to deliver peace and security. [my italics].
ARIEL SHARON: One thing is clear to me - the Israeli people did not elect me to sit on my hands for four years. I was elected to find a way to bring the peace and security. [my italics] that (Israelis) so deserve.
Then consider the headline: "Blow for Sharon" What blow would that be? The fact that the Likud membership has made Sharon's plan look like the "painful. concessions" he has said he is willing to make? Is that a "blow for Sharon"? I'm thinking about this. Aha! the penny's dropped. The Likud movement has struck a "blow for Sharon", hence Urquhart's celebratory headline.
Why doesn't The Guardian just cut out the middle man and let Ariel Sharon write up his own reports?
May 02, 2004
he says that he attracted criticism over "talking about the restraint [he] had witnessed on the part of US troops in Baghdad. ". What he actually said was "the Americans....in many ways, have acted in Iraq with extraordinary restraint". [note: not just Baghdad - Iraq. ] Not quite the same as US troops watching their manners in front of the world's press in Baghdad.
May 01, 2004
April 30, 2004
April 29, 2004
Ilan Pappe is definitely one of the good guys in Israel. He is one of the original supporters of the academic boycott of Israel and he is calling for sanctions in the London Review of Books article above.
"An Anti-Defamation League report on Monday said anti-semitic views were on the wane in most EU states, but distrust of Israel was rising." So there we have it. Anti-Semitism is in decline but Israel's conduct is earning it public disapprobation. So why are we wasting time, money and newsprint on conferences "on" anti-Semitism?
April 28, 2004
I can't understand why George Bush openly describing American Middle East policy since 1967 is considered a setback. The Sharon "plan" doesn't seem to differ from what the Clinton-Barak axis was offering back in Setember 2000? Then Clinton blamed Arafat for rejecting the proposals which left illegal settlements in tact and refugees displaced. So what are these ex-diplomats beefing about? Did they really take their absurd wranglings over the last 50 odd years seriously?
April 27, 2004
"That this House expresses strong concerns about the comments of President George W. Bush on 14th April, endorsing Ariel Sharon's proposed Disengagement Plan; notes that the partisan nature of President Bush's comments have undermined the Road Map and believes that his uncritical approach has emboldened Israel to continue with its policy of assassinations which is not only illegal but sets back the cause of peace; further notes that the 14th April exchange of letters between President Bush and Ariel Sharon prejudices the Road Map's stipulation that final status issues including Jerusalem, refugees, borders, settlements and water should be matters for joint agreement between the parties rather than imposition by Israel; further notes that the US President's comments contradict international law and existing UN resolutions on the illegality of Israeli settlements and the rights of Palestinian refugees; welcomes, however, the Israeli Government's decision to remove its settlements from the Gaza Strip and calls on Israel also to withdraw its military presence, arranging these withdrawals through proper negotiation with the Palestinian Authority; and further calls on the quartet of the UN, EU, Russia and USA to reassert its collective responsibility for the Road Map and to take immediate steps to secure the implementation of UN resolutions to achieve Israeli withdrawal from all territories it illegally occupies, justice for the refugees and security for Israel alongside a viable and independent Palestinian state."
Reading it now I'm not sure it's worth the candle. It's yet another plea for an unviable Palestinian state on 22% of Palestine. Still it discomfits that imbecile Blair so it's not all bad.
Robert Fisk is a wonderful, if a tad over-emotional, commentator on the Middle East. The bit about Webster's, the official American-English dictionary, defining anti-Semitism as:"opposition to Zionism: sympathy with opponents of the state of Israel" is particularly scary. If someone in a pub told me this I would accuse them of reading too much "protocols". But, alas, it's true. The Zionists have tampered with Webster's. Be afraid, be very afraid.
April 26, 2004
Well that's according to Conal Urquhart in today's Guardian.
I thought it might be the Zionist movement's ethnic cleansing of the Arabs of Palestine, the establishment of an apartheid state in their place and relentless aggression to the natives and neighbours (especially the Lebanese) of Palestine. Lucky I read The Guardian. to keep me on the liberal straight and narrow.
April 25, 2004
April 24, 2004
Holocaust movies are mere Zionist propaganda says Zionist propagandist: Ronald Harwood, as reported in this week's Jewish Chronicle. Obviously Israel has no right to exist on the basis of ethnic cleansing and apartheid laws; no state does. It can't use national. self-determination arguments: Jews come from many countries, speak many different languages and enjoy different cultures. So the Zionists have to fall back on the "where else can Jews live" argument. That's still not a very good one considering that a good two thirds of the world's Jews come from outside of Israel and most Israelis weren't born there. So, according to The Pianist. screenplay writer, Ronald Harwood, Zionists have to keep making Holocaust movies like The Pianist. and Schindlers' List . Hooray for Hollycaust, there's no business like Shoah business, etc. Any more? There will be.
April 22, 2004
In The Guardian
Tony Blair sets a hare running about a referendum that may or not happen in a couple of years. Gears grind, Tories gibber impotently, and news of his disastrous adventures in Iraq disappears into an inside page. Who's a clever boy?
In The Independent
Sir: When Blair was in trouble earlier over WMDs, Campbell diverted attention with the BBC row. After a disastrous meeting with Bush, the Middle East Road Map in tatters and Iraq in a mess, Blair steps off the plane and diverts our attention with the referendum show. Don't be fooled again. Keep your eyes on the ball.
R A STEEL
Now See Martin Rowson 3 days ago in The Guardian or "Condi" or "U-turn" below.
April 21, 2004
Anti-Semitism is 'infecting' British politics, MPs warn
By Marie Woolf, Chief Political Correspondent
21 April 2004
MPs have warned that the "virus" of anti-Semitism is beginning to infect mainstream politics in Britain, as figures show a record number of attacks on Jews last year.
The former cabinet minister Stephen Byers said yesterday that the "line is now being crossed from legitimate criticism" of the Israeli government into "demonisation, dehumanisation of Jews and the application of double standards". [how about explaining what or where the line is?]
In a debate in the House of Commons, James Purnell, chairman of Labour Friends of Israel, criticised caricatures and cartoons of Jews in the media as dangerous. He said: "Today overt anti-Semitism is still taboo, but anti-Semitism is a virus that once again has started to infect our body politic." [Did he give any examples?]
The warnings come after an unprecedented number of attacks on Jews in Britain last year, including desecration of synagogues and cemeteries. [not true. The high point, going by Community Security Trust stats was 2000. But please look at their stats - I'm not linking to their site. Google them - one category is "suspicious behaviour". There were 94 cases of people behaving suspiciously anti-Semitically. How do people do that?] Jewish women walking down the street have been attacked by strangers, and Jewish schools and community centres have been put on a high state of alert. [a high state of alert, but what actually happened?]
Mike Whine, of the Community Security Trust, which defends Jews against attacks in Britain, [not very successfully according to itself.] said: "We have seen a year-on-year rise since September 2000 of anti-Semitic incidents and, unfortunately, also an increase in violent attacks against both religious institutions and persons. The Jewish community has been at a high level of security since the threat to attack Jewish communities announced by al-Qa'ida two years ago. Increasingly, anti-Semitic discourse is influenced by the Middle East and the anti-Zionism of the far left."
There were 375 attacks in Britain last year, [see above] part of a rising number of anti-Semitic incidents within Europe which has been blamed [without any evidence] on the far right and Islamic extremists. The attacks have been linked [without evidence] to unease about Israel's policies towards the Palestinians and its campaign of assassinations and enforced curfews.
Yesterday, MPs warned that anti-Israeli feeling should not spill over into
criticism of Jews in general, [it usually doesn't, but is anti-Semitism really what is on the agenda here?] many of whom do not support the policies of the Israeli Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon [, or Zionism, or the right of Israel to be a Jewish state rather than a democratic secular one].
Stephen Byers, a former transport secretary [resigned for dishonesty] who chairs the committee on anti-Semitism, said that anti-Israeli criticism should not be used as "a cloak of respectability" for racist views. [it rarely is] He said there was the danger of the development of an "intellectual argument" bolstering anti-Semitic feeling. "We need to be robust on confronting anti-Semitic views wherever these may occur," Mr Byers said.[uh-oh. Is he talking censorship?]
Mr Purnell said memories of the Holocaust had largely inoculated Europe
against anti-Semitism for 60 years, but some people on the extreme left had
allowed themselves to find "some extremely strange bedfellows" in their criticism of Israel. [name some names] "During the anti-war protests there were some really terrifying pictures of individuals dressed up as suicide bombers holding banners with the Star of David and an equals sign to a swastika," he said. "This apparent embrace of such symbols by the anti-war left is absolutely astounding." [The comparison of the Nazis to any aggressor is routine among demonstrators since World War II. This is particularly true of racist states based on ethnic cleansing like South Africa, Rhodesia and, yes, Israel. The equation of the Swastika with the Israeli or Zionist flag is the continuation of an anti-racist, anti-colonial, and anti-war tradition. Nothing astounding there except the fact that MPs are spending lots of time on what seems to be another tedious and transparent Zionist propaganda stunt.]
April 20, 2004
Sir: On 25 March 2003, Jack Straw stated: "Our policy remains that clearly laid down in [UN] resolutions... a [Palestinian] state based on the 1967 borders, an end to the [Israeli] settlements, ...a solution to the refugee problem." (Hansard, column 143) Last week, when the Prime Minister acquiesced to the Bush-Sharon deal, he unilaterally abandoned all three principles. Can the Prime Minister remind us when he announced to Parliament this fundamental change in long-standing British policy? I cannot seem to find a reference anywhere in Hansard?
So now what do I conclude? The Independent is a mainstream newspaper and its editor - Simon Kelner - is Jewish. So what's wrong with my MP? Is he not worried that the Zionist movement and occasionally the world get told of profound policy changes before the party or Parliament? Apparently not.
Ronan Bennett asks "Who will speak out" about Falluja (Comment, April 17)? Answer: none of them! They are a shower of spineless bastards. Edit that how you like.
Well done that man!
April 19, 2004
April 18, 2004
Blair's ludicrous claim that 'dictators would rejoice' if the occupation forces left Iraq is belied by events in other parts of the world.
The only head of state to be exiled since Saddam was toppled is Haiti's Aristide who was elected. Also, while Gadaffi has abandoned the WMD he didn't have and renounced terrorism abroad, he is still a dictator at home, now with the blessing of Blair.
April 17, 2004
Busy day today what with a well attended demonstration at Downing Street. In the wake of US massacres in Falluja, where, asks Ronan Bennett, are MPs of conscience?
What does it take to get a New Labour politician to speak out on Iraq? I'm not talking about the likes of Blair, Hoon and Straw - key players so deeply implicated in the cruel tragedy of conquest and occupation that they have no option but to stay the course, even as it spirals into slaughter and chaos. But there are ministers and backbenchers with a history of commitment to human rights. What does it take to shock them out of their baffling silence?
Not the 600 or 700 Iraqis killed over the last fortnight in Falluja, it seems. Perhaps they believe, like the prime minister, that those attacking coalition troops are Saddam loyalists, al-Qaida fighters or religious fanatics, and deserve everything they get. Perhaps they have been reassured by General John Abizaid, head of the US Army's central command, who spoke of the coalition's "judicious use of force". Maybe they accept the reassurance of the commander of the US marines besieging the city that his men are "trained to be precise in their firepower", and that "95% of those killed were legitimate targets".
Let's accept for the moment that the commander is right and accept that the AC-130 gunships and F16 fighter-bombers unleashed against the people of Falluja are precise, that the 500lb bombs falling on the city come under the definition of judicious. Let's look at just a handful of the 5% of civilian casualties the Americans concede they have inflicted.
These include the mother of six-year-old Haider Abdel-Wahab, shot and killed while hanging out laundry; his father, shot in the head; Haider himself, and his brothers, crushed but dug out alive after a US missile struck their house. They include children who died of head wounds. They include an old woman with a bullet wound - still clutching a white flag when aid workers found her. They include an elderly man lying face down at the gate to his house - while inside terrified girls screamed "Baba! Baba!" They include ambulance crews fired on by US troops - and four-year-old Ali Nasser Fadil, wounded during an air strike. The New York Times reporter who found the infant in a Baghdad hospital described him lying in bed, "his eyes wide and fixed on a spot in the ceiling". His left leg had been crudely amputated. The same reporter found 10-year-old Waed Joda by the bedside of his gravely wounded father. "American snipers shot at us as we were trying to flee Falluja," said Waed.
Every one of these incidents has been documented by journalists, aid workers or medical staff. And there are plenty more. Even allowing for casualties caused by the Iraqi resistance, the dread catalogue of American-inflicted suffering and death is long and undeniable. At this point it's worth reminding ourselves that 5% of 600 is 30. But the evidence of the bodies alone gives the lie to the American account: at least 350 of the dead in Falluja have been women and children.
The Americans say they are engaged in a mission to bring to justice the perpetrators of the four security contractors - or mercenaries - killed and mutilated in the city on March 31. Locals see it differently. They describe their occupation, initially by troops of the US 82nd Airborne, as oppressive from the start. Almost as soon as they arrived, in April 2003, US soldiers killed 18 protesters during a demonstration. After six months of occupation, the 82nd Airborne had killed at least 40 civilians and police in the city.
In March, the 82nd Airborne were replaced by a Marine Expeditionary Force and, shortly afterwards, an American soldier was killed. On March 27, marines undertook a "sweep" through the city, described as "revenge" by Mohammed Albalwa, president of the city council. At least six Iraqi civilians, including an 11-year-old boy, were killed. It was in this heightened atmosphere that the mercenaries met their grisly deaths. No one can pretend that the assault on Falluja is anything other than retribution for the mercenaries - even members of the hand-picked Iraqi governing council accept it as such.
On all of this - a shameful and deafening silence. Politicians are not usually so tongue-tied. Remember Peter Hain, leader of the House, after bands of landless black poor invaded white-owned farms in Zimbabwe? The number of white farmers killed was a fraction of the toll of civilians who die every week in Iraq at the hands of coalition forces. Hain was swift to denounce Zimbabwe's government as "uncivilised". He spoke of his "horror" at the killings. Tyranny, he said, was "running riot in Zimbabwe" and "disfiguring the whole of the southern African sub-continent". So far, Hain has been silent about the horror wreaked by US firepower in Falluja and the disfigurement of Iraq by what has by any reckoning been a massacre.
And what about Chris Mullin, a former Tribune editor and now junior minister at the Foreign Office? Best remembered for his campaign to free the Birmingham Six, Mullin is frequently described as a friend of the underdog, with a commitment to human rights. Sadly, these qualities have not been much in evidence recently. Last summer Mullin defended to me the kangaroo courts held in Belmarsh prison, at which anonymous witnesses testify against men imprisoned by the home secretary without charge ("Better than sending them back to their countries of origin where they would be killed," he said). And though he was outraged by the denial of justice to the Birmingham Six, Guantánamo does not disturb him ("September 11 changed everything"). The underdogs of Falluja have yet to move Mullin.
Then there's Hilary Benn, international development secretary, who has spoken of Britain's responsibility to get Iraqi schools and hospitals up and running, to ensure a future for Iraqi children. But it isn't easy to square the rhetoric of international development with that of military occupation: the promise of a good education doesn't mean much to parents dodging US snipers to dig a hole in a sports field in order to bury their child.
The list of the shameful silent could go on: Angela Eagle, a longstanding leftwinger? Silent. Harriet Harman and Patricia Hewitt, former stalwarts of the old National Council for Civil Liberties? Silent. Oona King, who in her maiden speech cited the 1880 Match Girls' strike, has spoken passionately about the 35,000 children who die every day from preventable diseases and denounced the "slaughter and oppression" of the Palestinians in Jenin. Silent. Joan Ruddock, former chair of CND. Silent. Ann Clwyd, defender of the Kurds and the Marsh Arabs, who wrote: "Some will continue to argue that internal repression is not a matter of legitimate concern for other countries. I disagree. There are basic human rights that must be defended." Are we to take it, then, that external repression is acceptable? That the human rights of the inhabitants of Falluja are not worth defending? What has happened to these people? Many of them don't even have ministerial jobs to protect. I have yet to hear any of them acknowledge that what is going on in Falluja is wrong. That killing children is wrong, blasting their houses is wrong, blowing up mosques is wrong, burying a family under a ton of rubble is wrong.
Today the siege of Falluja continues. US troops are massing outside the holy city of Najaf. In the south, the situation has been further inflamed by the British Army shooting 15 people dead in Amara on April 6 (silence there, too). In Baghdad's Sadr City, camouflaged Humvees tour the streets with loudspeakers warning people not to leave their homes. No one seriously believes things are improving in Iraq under occupation. How long before our MPs speak out?
April 16, 2004
April 15, 2004
April 14, 2004
The Guardian is so good today I might even go and buy a copy. Terry Jones runs a spoof comment on Tony Blair's "historic struggle" essay that appeared in sunday's Observer.
"Dear Mr and Mrs Blair,
I have just had to mark Tony's essay, Why We Must Never Abandon This Historic Struggle in Iraq, and I am extremely worried.
Your son has been in the sixth form now for several years, studying world politics, and yet his recent essay shows so little grasp of the subject that I can only conclude he has spent most of that time staring out of the window.
His essay, of course, is written with his usual passion and conviction, but, in the real world, passion and conviction do not count for many marks.
Crucially, Tony does not seem to have read any of the first-hand accounts that are easily available and describe what is really going on in Iraq. On the recent escalation in violence, for example, he writes: "The insurgents are former Saddam sympathisers ... terrorist groups linked to al-Qaida and, most recently, followers of ... Moqtada al-Sadr." This is simply not good enough. Tony ignores the multitude of reports indicating that revulsion against the occupation is now widespread among ordinary people."
"Mote and beam, Sir" was a cheeky riposte in a winning sketch in the 1960s satire show Beyond the Fringe. It was a reference to a biblical warning to pompous critics of their fellows. Such critics should, the Bible warns, consider first the beam (great big splinter) in their own eyes before criticising the mote (tiny speck) in other peoples' eyes.
The mote and beam comparison keeps making imbeciles of the dwindling band of ministers and functionaries who seek to defend the military invasion and grisly occupation of Iraq. Paul Bremer is the blinkered reactionary in charge of the administration of that country. Bremer was described in a special Financial Times profile last week as "an imposing figure with a devastating intellect".
Last week, in the middle of the growing chaos in Iraqi cities, Bremer savagely denounced groups "who think power in Iraq should come out of the barrel of a gun". He was not apparently referring to the US and British armed forces who seized power in Iraq (and put him into his powerful post) entirely and exclusively by sustained use of the barrels of thousands of guns, not to mention helicopter gunships, guided missiles, cluster bombs and weapons of people destruction of every conceivable kind. Bremer, in short, is an "imposing figure" in Iraq only because he was able to rely on the greatest firepower on earth.
Again last week, during the uprising in Falluja, Bremer became very annoyed with the insurgents, led, he alleged, by Sheikh Moqtada al-Sadr. On Tuesday last week I turned on the television to see Bremer angrily protesting that Sadr "basically tried to take control of the country". In an attempt to apply Bremer's "devastating intellect" to that sentence, I would define "the country" as Iraq, Sadr as a man who lives in that country, and Bremer, a career diplomat who lives in the US, as a man who not only tried but succeeded in taking over Iraq by force of arms without recourse to the people there (or even the United Nations).
What advice can we offer Bremer and his fellow imperialists, who keep denouncing Iraqi resistance to the invasion and occupation of their country for the violence and duplicity that they themselves regularly deploy? The mote and beam story appears twice in the New Testament, and each time the advice is spot on: "Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye, and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote in thy brother's eye."
April 13, 2004
Breathtaking stuff by Martin Kettle today. He says that regardless of the rights or wrongs of the war we should support Blair in Iraq now. Some quotes from the article are magnificent: "He [Blair] was never fully honest about what he was doing and why he was doing it".[biggest understatement since Noah said "hmm looks like rain"] "But strip away the self-indulgent grandiosity, and the current core messages are still surely right" [no; strip away the "self-indulgent grandiosity" and there's nothing left]. "For what is the alternative to the current policy of achieving the best and most secure transition to Iraqi self-government that can be managed in the circumstances? Not even the most uncompromising of Blair's critics have much of an answer to that question." [really? what about those who criticise a constitution that avoids majority rule and guarantees foreign, certainly private, ownership of the bedrock of the economy?] "In most of Iraq, life goes on without lethal violence." This has been true of most of the whole world since the dawn of written history. Most places on earth are not afflicted with with lethal violence, but Iraq, and let's face it Palestine, have more than their fair share. "The only practical and principled course is to back him, though without illusions" [well I'm thinking about it..... Nope chuck him out and get the troops out of Iraq]
April 12, 2004
Roy Greenslade, in his haste to condemn (It's time to judge the pundits, April 10), has forgotten to mention the Guardian's own David Aaronovitch, who was also "generously given space" for his pro-war stance.
April 11, 2004
Editorial, Aaronovitch and even Blair himself are mobilised for a defence of the war on Iraq. Editorial blames banditry, Blair invokes the facing down of dictators and Aaronovitch says "all Iraqis (and Palestinians and Arabs generally) are liars". Well almost - but see for yourselves.