Washington Unmoved By Miliband Visit

There is no mention of Ed Miliband’s unscheduled ‘brush-by’ with President Obama in Mike Allen’s Playbook, the morning round up of anything going on in Washington that matters to anyone who is anybody in Washington. Sebastian Payne at the Post reports that Ed is scheduled to meet national security adviser Susan Rice this afternoon, officially the White House pointedly says there is “nothing to announce on the president’s schedule”. Presumably at this point Obama will drop in, if he doesn’t have a world war to avoid. Damian McBride, recounting the President’s five snubs of Gordon Brown and subsequent humiliating chat in a kitchen, has his fingers crossed:

“Team Miliband will have left nothing to chance before their man’s meeting at the White House today. For starters, they will have ensured he gets at least as much ceremony and time as David Cameron enjoyed in his first visit to President Bush as leader of the opposition. Aides will have their stopwatches out, ready to squash any suggestion that Mr Miliband was given less time than he was due…

The reality is that every presidential summit, visit, brush-by, drop-in, and walk-and-talk is nowadays so stage-managed that only someone as afflicted by bad luck as Gordon Brown could ever come a cropper. Provided Obama turns up and the White House doesn’t serve bacon sandwiches, today’s meeting will be the diplomatic equivalent of the speaking clock.”

Miliband’s intellectual henchman Stewart Wood was responsible for White House relations under Gordon Brown, surely he will ensure that this time there is no screw up. Interestingly McBride names Dougie Alexander as the source of the leak of the ‘five snubs’ story back in 2009. Which goes some way to explain the enmity between him and Michael Dugher, then Brown’s comms chief…

Foreign Office Rendition Files ‘Destroyed by Water Damage’

Official documents recording flights in and out of Diego Garcia, the British Indian Ocean Territory where the United States is accused of carrying out ‘extraordinary rendition’ of terror suspects, have been destroyed by water damage. The Foreign Office says that records from 2002, the year in which former Foreign Secretary David Miliband admitted two US rendition flights landed on the island, are “incomplete”. Answering a written question from Tory MP Andrew Tyrie today, Foreign Office minister Mark Simmonds confirms:

“Records on flight departures and arrivals on Diego Garcia are held by the British Indian Ocean Territory immigration authorities. Daily occurrence logs, which record the flights landing and taking off, cover the period since 2003. Though there are some limited records from 2002, I understand they are incomplete due to water damage.”

Diego Garcia has been dogged by allegations that it is used by the US government as a base to torture terror suspects with impunity. The last Labour government was forced to apologise after admitting rendition flights landed there in 2002, despite previous denials. And now files from that year have been destroyed…

More Want to Leave the EU Than Stay In

President Obama is in Brussels with Dave to tell us how he thinks the British people should be voting. He says Scots should vote no to freedom and that Britain should stay in the EU, haughtily remarking: “I’m sure the people of Britain will make the right decision”. Unfortunately for the President an ITV/ComRes poll out today shows more Britons want to leave the EU than stay in. 42% would vote to leave if there was a referendum tomorrow and just 40% would vote to stay. Sadly Obama didn’t give us his verdict on whether the people of Newark should go for Robert Jenrick or Roger Helmer today…

Arnie on Boris

Guy News: Palin and Romney Were Right About Russia

Palin’s geo-political grasp is Kissinger-like compared to Obama…

US Assistant Secretary of State: “F**k the EU”

According to Kyiv Post, this is a leaked recording of US Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt and US Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland discussing a plan for UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon to help sort out the situation in the country:

Assistant Secretary of State Nuland: “That would be great I think to help glue this thing and have the UN help glue it and, you know, f**k the EU.”

Ambassador Pyatt: “Exactly.”

Always good to hear our transatlantic allies share our values…

Guy News Special: Al Gore’s Ice Crap Prediction

In 2009 Al Gore said the polar ice caps would melt away in five years time. In 2014 the main threat to the polar ice caps appears to be icebreakers rescuing stranded ships. 

Pardon Snowden, He Blew Whistle on NSA Crimes

pardon-snowden

Ed Snowden has been demonised by some on the right as a traitor. Those on the right don’t as a rule put their trust in governments and Snowden is a patriotic, freedom loving libertarian, not a Russian or Chinese dupe, as some conservatives seem to believe. (He even donated $250 to Ron Paul’s election campaign.) His motivation was ideological and principled – it has cost him his personal freedom and his career. People who Guido would normally expect to side with the cause of liberty have focused on the medium not the message – because it was Alan Rusbridger’s Guardian that broke the story they have got their backs up. Whatever right-minded people think of the Guardian, it was disgraceful to hear Rusbridger’s patriotism questioned by a Select Committee over him publishing the Snowden story.

Ed Snowden was as the New York Times argued yesterday clearly justified in believing that the only way to blow the whistle on the blanket intelligence-gathering was to “expose it to the public and let the resulting furor do the work“, revealing what his bosses covered-up and lied to Congress about. Beyond the mass collection of phone and internet data Snowden revealed:

  • The NSA (aided and abetted by GCHQ) broke the law, and exceeded their authority, thousands of times per year.
  • The NSA (aided and abetted by GCHQ) broke into the communications links of Microsoft, Google, Yahoo, Facebook and other internet giants, allowing it to spy on hundreds of millions of user accounts. Many of those companies are now, thankfully, scrambling to install systems that the NSA cannot yet penetrate.
  • The NSA systematically undermined the basic encryption systems of the internet, making it impossible to know if sensitive banking or medical data is truly private, damaging businesses that depended on this trust. Ironically this opened back doors that could also be used by hostile intelligence agencies.
  • His leaks revealed that James Clapper Jr., the director of national intelligence, lied to Congress when testifying in March.
  • The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court rebuked the N.S.A. for repeatedly providing misleading information about its surveillance practices, according to a ruling made public because of the Snowden documents. One of the practices violated the Constitution, according to the chief judge of the court.
  • A federal judge ruled earlier this month that the phone-records-collection programme probably violates the Fourth Amendment of the US Constitution. He called the programme “almost Orwellian” and said there was no evidence that it stopped any imminent act of terror.

When someone reveals that government officials have routinely and deliberately broken the law, that person should not face life in prison at the hands of the same government. Rick Ledgett, who leads the NSA’s task force on the Snowden leaks, told CBS News that he would consider amnesty if Snowden halted any additional leaks. President Obama should do just that, bring Snowden home. He is a hero.

Hat-tip: New York Times

Bashir Resigns After S**t in Her Mouth Palin Rant

martin bashir

“After making an on-air apology, I asked for permission to take some additional time out around the Thanksgiving holiday. 

Upon further reflection, and after meeting with the President of MSNBC, I have tendered my resignation. It is my sincere hope

[…]

+ READ MORE +

WATCH: Rob Ford: The Movie

Via teh internetz.

[…]

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WATCH: Another Day, Another Rob Ford Apology

Fire up the autotune.[…]

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Bill and Ed’s Excellent Adventure

Move over Red Sox, Ed has a new red American hero:

Guido hears that this is not the […]

+ READ MORE +



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Quote of the Day

Mary Creagh’s coded attack on Ed Miliband…

‘I want the country to be united behind a single vision, we aren’t going to do it by sort of having a Rubik’s Cube approach to politics’. 

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