“this time we have good intelligence on 108 or so likely suspects..”

Out-going US President George Bush is due to drop in on Stormont on Monday and, as well as turning Belfast into a no-fly zone [Has someone told Gerry – Ed], they’ll thoughtfully close Stormont down for around 48 hours to mark the occasion. Mark Devenport also points out that anyone who does get inside will have to stay there for 5 hours.

Okay, it’s not 42 days, but it does look like a return to the days of “selective internment” to borrow Lord Maginnis’s old phrase. It’s just this time we have good intelligence on 108 or so likely suspects.

He might not be wrong about the “protests by anti-Bush toddlers”, either. Ógra Shinn Féin have promised they’ll participate in the protests, whilst the deputy First Minister, Sinn Féin’s Martin McGuinnness, is promising he’ll be raising those “serious reservations” when he meets with President Bush..

, , , , ,

  • Greenflag

    SF or Ogra don’t need to protest . Most of Europe could’nt be bothered to stage an anti war protest as they consider G. Bush as the lamest of lame duck Presidents ever in the history of the USA .

    And it gets worse for Mr Bush .

    The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Thursday that detainees at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba — some of whom have been held for six years — have the right to seek their release in federal court. The 5-4 decision was a stinging rebuke to President Bush’s anti-terrorism policies, and reaction from law experts and Bush allies was swift.

    “I think that the decision today is the end of Guantanamo as we know it,” said Georgetown law professor Neal Katyal, who represents one of the detainees.

    Andrew McBride, who wrote a brief on behalf of former GOP attorneys general siding with the administration, called it a watershed decision: “For the first time in history, it does inject judicial supervision into the conduct of war.”

    In essence, the court said to the Bush administration that it can continue with the flawed proceedings at Guantanamo, but when they are reviewed by the courts, the prisoners will have a full range of legal tools to challenge their detentions, and the burden of proof will be on the government.

    One can only imagine the stories that some of these ‘prisoners ‘ will be relaying to the USA public . McCain to his credit has always condemned Guantanamo and the torture of prisoners .

    The best thing Ogra SF can do is to ignore Mr Bush’s visit .

  • Mark McGregor

    So who decided that protests wouldn’t be allowed on public land at Stormont? Who agreed to closing it down?

    I assume it was decided by parties in the Assembly.

    What a bunch of arseholes.

  • Greenflag

    ‘Who agreed to closing it down?’

    Presumably the people who hope to benefit from some private sector investment from across the pond at some point in time so that Northern Ireland can move away from being a public sector dependent basket case economy.

    With the Republic telling 500 million europeans -thanks for the dosh now bugger off and screw you to the combined efforts of 26 EU States to modernise the EU – the last thing this island needs is to show the American business community the two fingers .

    Albania here we come and not just the North ( SF have shown their true colours in drowning out Mr Lenihans interview with the foreign preat /tv the count centre .

    People here may kid themselves that millions of europeans will thank the ‘NO’ voters . Not so .

  • Protests against President Bush serve no useful purpose. They will deter US industrial investment north and south of the border. He should be treated with courtesy.
    George Bush can argue that he has protected the US from another 9/11.

  • Greenglag: One might well ask about you and medication.
    George Bush etc have to come to Ireland as it is their only peace success. I guess if they paid asmuch bribery money anywhere else, they might do well as well. To be fait to the Yank terrorists in Iraq etc, they tell the Brits to stfu about NI as it is a littler, insignificant backwater.

    Your take on the Irish expressing their democratic ideals is wide off the mark. i see QUB have an Albanian professor of Economics btw. I wonder what he thinks about your reactionary remarks.

  • Comrade Stalin

    With the Republic telling 500 million europeans -thanks for the dosh now bugger off and screw you to the combined efforts of 26 EU States to modernise the EU

    Why is it bad for Ireland to say no, but not bad for France and Holland to say no ?

  • whilst the deputy First Minister, Sinn Féin’s Martin McGuinnness, is promising he’ll be raising those “serious reservations” when he meets with President Bush..

    Wait a minute: Didn’t Marty invite him???

  • Yo, McGuinness.

    Will Comical Marty be airing his ‘reservations’ in Irish? Bush as smacht went down like a lead balloon.

  • The Bush Euro junket is a bit of a laugh really. No protests, because nobody can be bothered to drag themselves out to protest against a lame duck.

    The only reservations Bush has about the mayhem he visited on Iraq is choice of language. He thinks he should have toned down the rhetoric. Doesn’t matter that he wasted thousands of young American lives and subjected the Iraqi people to a horror show that has taken thousands of innocent victims – Dubyah is agonizing about his choice of words.

    How do you protest against a delusional has-been?

  • nineteensixtyseven

    “They will deter US industrial investment north and south of the border. He should be treated with courtesy.
    George Bush can argue that he has protected the US from another 9/11.”

    Nonsense. If that was the case US investors wouldn’t invest anywhere. Anyway, they’ve moved on to courting the new candidates and I doubt they care what happens to Bush now. Capital isn’t political nor ethical, it’ll go to NI despite protests or Burma despite flagrant human rights abuses. Anywhere with skilled, low-cost labour and tax loopholes.

  • Harry Flashman

    Or maybe there are no protests because the world is beginning to grow up and leave its adolescent anti-Americanism behind in the Student Union where it belongs (well all except Greenflag, expect to hear about ‘rapture’ soon).

    The ongoing collapse of militant Islamism across the globe from Afghanistan to Iraq all the way to SE Asia has proven the wisdom of Bush’s strategy of taking the war to the jihadis while the Europeans realise that maybe being nice to militant Islam isn’t always the best option when your population is 10% Muslim and rising.

    When all the posturing is over history will judge George Bush as one of the toughest and shrewdest US presidents of the twentieth century in exactly the same way as the other favourite ‘moron’ of the liberal chattering classes Ronald Reagan also turned out to be entirely correct in his judgement of America’s place in the world and the twitterers turned out to be nimcompoops.

  • Activist

    “ So who decided that protests wouldn’t be allowed on public land at Stormont? Who agreed to closing it down?
    I assume it was decided by parties in the Assembly.
    What a bunch of arseholes.
    By Mark McGregor “

    Maybe it was just SF – and I jest you not. Guess who’s deciding what kind of protests about anything that we CAN’T have in the future if the Strategic Review Body on Parading has its way?

    Read this –

    “The Independent Workers Union is concerned at the contents of the Interim Consultative Report of the Strategic Review of Parading in Northern Ireland. Union president Patricia Campbell said the report appears aimed at regulating or restricting a far broader range of public assemblies than was ever envisaged by the report from the original Independent Review of Parades and Marches (chaired by Peter North) in 1997. She pointed to several sections of the interim report that would potentially curtail activities of the organised labour movement.

    * On page 6, the Review Body states that the proposals contained in the report should apply to all public assemblies of 15 or more people, all public processions and all related protests.
    * On page 14, Section 2.3 ‘Our Vision’ ii) states “We have concluded that our recommendations should encompass a wider range of public assemblies than only public processions. The proposals contained in this report should apply to all public assemblies of 15 or more people, all public processions and all related protests on the public highway.”
    * Page 25 defines a public place to mean any public road or footway.
    * Page 33, “By way of illustration, this includes, but is not necessarily limited to, all parades, protests, cavalcades, festivals, assemblies and demonstrations etc. which are conducted and organised on a public highway, whether organised by a civic, cultural, sporting, political, arts, religious, community group or other interest group or by an individual.”
    * The notification forms ‘for illustrative purposes’ on page 38, section 12, refer to third party participants and mentions bands and trade unions.
    * In the Human Rights Section (Appendix B) page 52/53 interestingly refers to an ECHR case regarding industrial action.
    Ms Campbell called upon the Review body to state clearly that they did not intend to have the rights of Organised Labour curtailed through any proposed new legislation.”

    Think about all the above very seriously. If your community group wants to protest with 15 or more people outside NIHE offices over housing conditions, you will have to give 35 days notice.
    At present, you don’t.

    If there is an accident on your street or road and you and 15 or more of your neighbours want to protest about it, you will have to give 35 days notice.
    At present, you don’t.

    If the firm you work for goes bust and you and 15 or more of your co-workers want to hold a picket outside its gates you will have to give 35 days notice.
    At present, you don’t.

    Why was the chairperson of Sinn Féin in Ulster (9 Counties) willing to put his name to these measures?

    Does the SF leadership endorse the recommendations of Ashdown, Murray and co?

    Do SF members agree on these restrictions upon all forms of (presently) legitimate protest which include 15 or more people?

    These recommendations go beyond anything to do with contentious parades. They restrict the right of workers, of communities, of political activists to engage in necessary and immediate public actions. That is not republicanism – that is fascism.

  • An Lochlannach

    I saw Gerry last night at the Leonard Cohen concert, along with that cheerful Pat Doherty. Don’t know if they flew in, though. The Cohen song ‘Democracy is coming to the USA’ took on a whole new layer of meaning.

  • Rory

    The ongoing collapse of militant Islamism across the globe from Afghanistan to Iraq all the way to SE Asia

    aahh! brings back fond memories of the “imminent defeat of the Viet Cong” that we were fed with daily almost right up until the US marines pushed the last helicopter off the aircraft carrier as they fled from the entry into Saigon now Ho Chi Minh Vity) of the victorious NVLA.

    Never mind they were able to compensate with a great victory in the tiny island of Grenada before getting their asses whupped once more in Mogadishu.

  • RepublicanStones

    ‘Never mind they were able to compensate with a great victory in the tiny island of Grenada’

    And that was only because Clint Eastwood was there, altogether now….”Yo left, yo left, yo left, right, left.”

  • Steve

    Dubya shrewd?

    What have you been smoking

  • Harry Flashman

    @Rory

    “Never mind they were able to compensate with a great victory in the tiny island of Grenada before getting their asses whupped once more in Mogadishu.”

    Ah yes, because of course the only victory scored over the Communists was in Grenada and now the Soviet Union remains the second most powerful nation on earth with its great tentacles encompassing an empire from the Pacific to the Atlantic, its stamp of authority firmly on the Caucasian republics and satellite states throughout Asia, Africa and South America.

    Yep, that Ronnie Reagan chap, what an eejit eh? Imagine thinking he could bring the Red Empire crashing down, pah, ludicrous!

    I think you’ll find that if you ignore the nonsense propagated by the liberal left media you will discover that militant Islam is on the ropes in Afghanistan and Iraq and that from Indonesia to Turkey governments of Muslim countries are thoroughly co-operating with the United States in destroying its grisly network.

    As a matter of historical record the US did destroy the Viet Cong, it was the North Vietnamese regular army who overran the south and were only able to so because a liberal-left Democratic Congress shamefully abandoned the Saigon government and refused to allow them to defend themselves.

    In the unlikely eventuality of Barack Obama winning the presidency in November history could repeat itself but I doubt it. The American people aren’t that stupid to make that mistake again.

  • Rory

    As a matter of historical record the US did destroy the Viet Cong…

    Oh no they didn’t. Destroying villages and shooting and napalming women, the old and children and notching the casualties up as a victorious head count didn’t work in Vietnam then any more than it is working in Afghanistan today.

    All the political impetus is now to withdraw, thus the necessity for the Big Lie that “the job has been completed”. An interesting result given that no one knew what the job was in the first place. Oh! I remember, “the war against terrorism”, fought mainly against the civilians of Iraq where “terrorists” held no sway until the good old US of A came on the scene but where now militant Islamic militias control more territory than the invaders or the heavily infiltrated police and army of the puppet regime.

    Faced with such a nightmare reality I don’t blame neo-con supporters for taking refuge in the fairy tale propaganda of their supporting organs of “news” and comment.

  • rabelais

    Flashman,
    Reagan did little to bring the Soviet Union. It pretty much mangaed to collapse all by itself. Nobody was probly as surprised as Ronnie.

  • Greenflag

    ‘ Harryflashman’

    maybe there are no protests because the world is beginning to grow up and leave its adolescent anti-Americanism behind in the Student Union where it belongs’

    Not at all . The world heartily sick of Mr Bush just as Americans are at his Republican administration’s failed foreign policies in the Middle East and their failed economic and health care policies at home.

    McCain may still have a slim chance of winning the Presidency simply because of the possible impact of the Electoral College vote -but the Senate and Congress will see a big drop in Republican seats .

    As for the Vietnam comparison . The nationalists won in Vietnam just as they will in Iraq and Iran sooner or later and there’s nothing the USA can do about it .

  • rabelais

    The whole ‘anti-American’ accusation thrown at anyone who disagrees with US foreign policy is the refuge of political scoundrels. It is designed to simply muddy the waters of sensible political debate. The number of occasions that discussions about the US policy in the media have wasted valuable air time with contributers defending themselves against the accusation of being simply anti-American, instead of talking about the substanial issues, is remarkable. It is tantamount to trying to conduct a sensible debate about geography with a flat-Earther!

    The other thing is that history will not judge George Bush one way or the other. Blair evoked the notion that History would somehow reveal the righteousness of their crusade as if history cared one way or the other. (Of course, Blair may have some sort of personal relationship with History given that he has felt its hand on his shoulder at Hillsborough!) History will be written by many hands I would be stunned if Bush and Blair’s actions were not a continuing source of controversy when considered by historians in the future.

  • The Raven

    “Presumably the people who hope to benefit from some private sector investment from across the pond at some point in time so that Northern Ireland can move away from being a public sector dependent basket case economy.”

    There are 900 people in the North West who wouldn’t agree with that sentiment come October.

  • USA

    Protesting against Bush will not scare away FDI from the North. Equally it will have no impact on the current US administration, who I need to say are now widely disliked and mistrusted by the US population.
    Following the attacks on New York and Washington on 9/11 it was obvious that the Marine Corps were going to be sent overseas and someone was going to pay. The administration had the support of the US population along with widespread international support whtn destroying the Taliban and hunting down Al Queda in Afghanistan. However Bush’s Machievelian manouvres over Iraq have been exposed for the lies and propoganda they were and he will retire in shame. Only problem is he is so stupid / shameless that he doesn’t even realise how disliked he is and the extent of the damage he has done to the US through his “might is right” foreign policy.
    The Irish candidate Barak O’Bama will win and will help restore America’s standing in the world. Roll on the election.

  • Greenflag

    harryflashman,

    ‘you will discover that militant Islam is on the ropes in Afghanistan ‘

    On the ropes Harry ? Who is on the ropes ?

    CNN latest .

    Hundreds of Taliban fighters captured over the past six years escaped late Friday after militants attacked the main prison in Afghanistan’s Kandahar province, authorities said.

    Damaged vehicles lie at the entrance of the prison that was attacked in Afghanistan’s Kandahar province.

    1 of 3 The militants used suicide truck bombs loaded with about two tons of explosives to blast holes in the mud brick walls of the Soviet-era prison, a Taliban spokesman said.

    A gun and rocket battle between the militants and prison guards lasted several hours and ended with dozens of militants rushing inside on motorcycles to free all prisoners inside — including about 400 Taliban fighters, the Taliban spokesman said.

    The prison, located on the western outskirts of Kandahar city, held a number of arrested Taliban figures. Several had recently embarked on a hunger strike.

    A Justice Ministry official said about 1,000 inmates were inside the prison. Nine guards, seven prisoners and one civilian were killed in the attack, according to Ahmad Wal Karzai, the brother of Afghan President Hamid Karzai.

    PS . If the US and it’s allies in Afghan keep winning like this they might want to try losing instead .

    Despite the above and before you indulge in your childish accusations of anti americanism- I still favour the ‘occupation’ and pacification and hopefully democratisation of Afghanistan and the defeat of the Taliban.

    The Iraqi War was a major policy mistake as was running out on Afghanistan before the job was finished .

    As I said earlier those who formulated USA foreign policy for that that part of the world have a lot to answer in particular just the hundreds of thousands of lost lives and the billions of dollars poured into a bottomless pit 🙁

  • Greenflag

    harryflashman,

    ‘you will discover that militant Islam is on the ropes in Afghanistan ‘

    On the ropes Harry ? Who is on the ropes ?

    CNN latest .

    Hundreds of Taliban fighters captured over the past six years escaped late Friday after militants attacked the main prison in Afghanistan’s Kandahar province, authorities said.

    Damaged vehicles lie at the entrance of the prison that was attacked in Afghanistan’s Kandahar province.

    The militants used suicide truck bombs loaded with about two tons of explosives to blast holes in the mud brick walls of the Soviet-era prison, a Taliban spokesman said.

    A gun and rocket battle between the militants and prison guards lasted several hours and ended with dozens of militants rushing inside on motorcycles to free all prisoners inside — including about 400 Taliban fighters, the Taliban spokesman said.

    The prison, located on the western outskirts of Kandahar city, held a number of arrested Taliban figures. Several had recently embarked on a hunger strike.

    A Justice Ministry official said about 1,000 inmates were inside the prison. Nine guards, seven prisoners and one civilian were killed in the attack, according to Ahmad Wal Karzai, the brother of Afghan President Hamid Karzai.

    PS . If the US and it’s allies in Afghan keep winning like this they might want to try losing instead 🙁

    Despite the above and before you indulge in your childish accusations of anti americanism- I still favour the ‘occupation’ and pacification and hopefully democratisation of Afghanistan and the defeat of the Taliban.

    The Iraqi War was a major policy mistake as was running out on Afghanistan before the job was finished .

    As I said earlier those who formulated USA foreign policy for that that part of the world have a lot to answer in particular just the hundreds of thousands of lost lives and the billions of dollars poured into a bottomless pit 🙁

  • A friend and I were driving east from Coleraine just before noon. My friend claimed that the helicopter we saw was a Black Hawk. Might it have been on (Black) Bush patrol? 😉

  • Greenflag

    Nevin,

    I know of one Ayatollah now retired who was very popular in those parts but since his retirement from public affairs and active politics his mountain walking military escapades appear to have ceased . His ‘new ‘ friends’ appear to have access to their own helicopters from what I read 🙂

  • Harry Flashman

    “Reagan did little to bring the Soviet Union. It pretty much mangaed to collapse all by itself. Nobody was probly as surprised as Ronnie.”

    One of the most tiresome aspects of the Left’s determination to cling to its childish comfort blanket is the trope that the Reagan administration (backed up by the important allies of Thatcher and Pope John Paul and to a lesser extent the government in West Germany) had no role in the defeat of the Soviet Union and that it all just happened completely by accident.

    It wasn’t an accident, it was the end result desired by Reagan from day one, it was well planned and the victory was complete. If the Reagan presidency had ended with a securely entrenched Communist regime in the Soviet Union and Europe divided and Communist satellite regimes throughout Asia, Africa and Latin America then the “warmongering” Reagan would have been dismissed as a failure.

    It didn’t. Reagan won.

    Both Reagan and Gorbachev took over nations which were defeatist, in an economic slump, unsure about the way forward and whether their respective political systems were actually viable. Both Reagan and Gorbachev were stalwart supporters of their respective systems and both wanted them to be successful, both wished to reinvigorate their nations by reforms.

    Reagan was successful. Gorbachev failed.

    Reagan won by outplaying the Soviet Union, he rejected the complacent advice of the western establishment who wanted “detente”, an end to confrontation with the Soviets and establishment of peaceful relations with the Communists.

    Reagan called the Soviet Union an “evil empire” (correctly, although he was lampooned by the chattering classes for doing so) his “Cold War” policy was simple and admirably direct; “we win, they lose”, he outspent the USSR on weapons, he rearmed his forces, he expanded cruise missiles to the East German border (again against the wishes of the western chattering classes), he actively confronted Soviet militarism everywhere it raised its ugly head around the globe, he supported resistance organisations behind the Iron Curtain and he started building the SDI “Star Wars” system (again curiously enough against the wishes of the western chattering classes) which whether viable or not certainly terrified the Soviet Communists who eventually had no option but to throw the towel in.

    Reagan won the Cold War, no one except him and his policy advisers believed it was possible at the time (the western chattering classes believed it was an absurd prospect), but he won it, you can stick your fingers in your ears and go “Nah, nah not listening” all you want but the man the western chattering classes dismissed as a warmongering buffoon was right.

    The western liberal chattering classes were wrong, not for the first time and certainly not for the last, history will repeat itself, prison outbreaks in Afghanistan notwithstanding.

    PS. Rory,

    the Viet Cong were routed at the Tet Offensive, they were no longer able to operate as an effective military organisation in the field after that date.

    Historical rewriting continues apace by the lefties of Slugger O’Toole I see.

  • Garibaldy

    Speaking of rewriting history, did I imagine all those negotiations and visits and summits that took place between Reagan and Gorbachev?

  • nineteensixtyseven

    “Reagan won the Cold War, no one except him and his policy advisers believed it was possible at the time (the western chattering classes believed it was an absurd prospect), but he won it, you can stick your fingers in your ears and go “Nah, nah not listening” all you want but the man the western chattering classes dismissed as a warmongering buffoon was right.”

    How exactly? Surely it was ‘won’ by economic stagnation in the Soviet Union and a push from the people living in Eastern Bloc countries? And Star Wars was just an excuse to fund the high-technology sector through the Pentagon at the tax payers’ expense; no one in the US expect maybe Reagan himself thought it was a defence shield.

  • Comrade Stalin

    nineteensixtyseven, I did ask Harry that a while ago, but he never had a chance to get back to me. It happens, threads die out and people don’t respond.

    The USSR would have continued to exist, in the same way that North Korea now does, had it’s leadership entrenched itself in a conservative, Brezhnevist line and ruthlessly crushed dissent at home, rather than trying to encourage it. Honecker and all those other wankers knew this and lectured Gorbachev about it. Reform-minded Soviet leaders, going back as far as Khrushchev, knew that they could never outspend the USA in an arms race. But the cracks in the Soviet system were showing before the final withdrawal from Afghanistan, and in many ways were exemplified by the disaster at Chernobyl, a disaster which might have been avoided had the Government not treated the RBMK reactor’s design flaws (which they were warned about by the KGB, who themselves had no doubt received warnings from British reactor designers who considered and rejected this reactor design in the 1950s precisely because of the dangers) as a state secret.

    If Reagan had been serious about collapsing Soviet interests, I do wonder why he never applied pressure to West Germany to stop paying ransom demands, a factor which contributed significantly to the GDR’s position as the richest of the Warsaw Pact states. I see the Pope has been wheeled out too. What did he do, say a couple of prayers ?

    Gorbachev still holds Reagan in high esteem, which is not consistent with the idea that Reagan deliberately worked to overturn his own personal project of reform in the USSR, rather than dissolution. That said, I still find it strange that Gorbachev feels this way, considering that Reagan is anything but a friend of democracy, with his record of overthrowing democratically elected governments and installing and arming tyrants such as Pinochet and that nice man Mr Hussein.

    The detente policy is far from dead – it lives on, and is being applied by the Bush administration towards North Korea and China. Quite why the Bush administration has chosen diplomacy in dealing with North Korea, a country with an internationally established record of resarching WMD, and which is not afraid of lobbing missiles at our friends in South Korea and Japan, is a mystery I’ve never quite gotten to the bottom of yet given the established policy of pre-emption applied towards Iraq and now possibly Iran.

    None of the above points of view are especially “leftist” or “liberal”, unless your definition of “left” encompasses anyone who refuses to accept the neocon definition of reality (reality does, after all, have a very distinct liberal bias) . The indisputable fact is that the USSR couldn’t work, it’s leaders knew this since the late 1960s, it didn’t take Reagan to point it out to them. Had they a precedent to refer to, in the way that China did, they might have managed their transition to being a Western ally (I’m specifically omitting the word “democracy”, because we all know that it’s quite acceptable for anti-democratic sociopaths like the Chinese Community Party to be Western allies provided they serve our purposes) without all of the upheaval.

  • Comrade Stalin

    with his record of overthrowing democratically elected governments and installing and arming tyrants such as Pinochet and that nice man Mr Hussein.

    Omit “installing”. Bloody Sunday mornings.

  • Hugo

    108 or so.

    4+8+15+16+23+42 definetly equals 108.

  • Dewi

    “the Viet Cong were routed at the Tet Offensive”

    Not a particularly brilliant military operation but it’s what finally drove the majority of US opinion aginst the War. Didn’t Carson say on TV

    “I thought we were supposed to be winning this war?”

  • Dewi
  • Dewi
  • nineteensixtyseven

    Comrade Stalin,

    Don’t forget Iran-Contra! That piece of skullduggery in the long line of interference stretching back to Operation Mongoose and the undermining of resistance movements in Korea, Italy, France and Greece after the Second World War.

  • Harry Flashman

    Oh dear Gari old son, where do I start with so many factual inaccuracies?

    A few points to be going along with;

    Reagan didn’t arm Saddam Hussein, the Soviets did. Reagan got in trouble for supplying arms to their enemy Iran.

    No democratic government was overthrown by Reagan.

    You can say from the magnificently lofty heights of thirty years after the event that everyone knew that the Soviet system was on the point of collpase but curiously the governments of the US, Germany, France, UK and all of the Soviet Bloc didn’t seem to think so prior to the challenge by Reagan. The CIA actually claimed that East Germany was the ninth biggest economy in the world.

    Your casual dismissal the Pope John Paul’s contribution displays your ignorance for all the world. Question: what country did John Paul II come from? Which country was the first to rebel against the Soviets in the 1980’s? Whose visit to that country exposed the deep loathing that existed in Poland towards Communism? Which world leader did the Bulgarian secret service try to assassinate in 1981? Who was to the foremost in ending the cleverly disguised form of Marxism in Latin America called “liberation theology” which was supporting the Marxist regime in Nicaragua and encouraging it in El Salvador?

    I suggest you actually read a little bit of history about the Cold War my friend, you have clearly supped for too long at the Kool Aid water fountain.

    The Soviet Union was the second most powerful nation on earth in 1980, it had been for the previous 40 years, by 1990 it had collapsed in ignominy. That decade was the Reagan decade, the decade of a man whose one goal in politics was the destruction of the Soviet Union.

    You can ignore the facts of history all you want but it just ends up making you look like a fool.

  • Harry Flashman

    My apologies, the above post was in response to Comrade Stalin, not Garibaldy!

  • Garibaldy

    Well indeed, you had already started with the factual inaccuracies by the time you got that far.
    Nevertheless, what about Reagan’s negotiations. Where do they fit into your story?

  • Comrade Stalin

    No democratic government was overthrown by Reagan.

    He supported plenty of undemocratic governments, which is strange behaviour for someone being touted as a steadfast defender of freedom.

    Reagan didn’t arm Saddam Hussein, the Soviets did. Reagan got in trouble for supplying arms to their enemy Iran.

    This photograph must be a figment of my imagination then, and probably yours too.

    .. didn’t seem to think so prior to the challenge by Reagan.

    I’m still struggling to find the “challenge” where Reagan broke from the established orthodoxy, and I’m still trying to understand how this can be figured as the sole cause of the end of the USSR. At best, it sped the process along, and even then that’s stretching credibility to breaking point. Wasn’t the decision to confront the Soviets via Afghanistan a decision taken in the Carter administration ? It’s silly talking about hindsight; the reason why the USSR collapsed, and why China and North Korea did not, is nothing to do with Reagan and is nothing to do with the benefit of hindsight.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Maybe I should start claiming that Stalin was responsible for the victory over Hitler in WW2. After all, that was what he resolved to achieve in 1941, and lo and behold, by 1945 it was done, so on one level it’s clearly true. If I did that, though, I might be guilty of rather gross, and indeed wilful, simplification of an important matter to suit my own narrow political outlook.

  • 20,ooo dead Jihadists in the years following the liberation of Iraq. That’s 20,000 less scum liable to highjack aircraft, detonate on trains, or buses. Zero attacks on US homeland. Club Gitmo keeping terrorist scum behind bars (Alien to Northern Ireland readers but hey, not all the world is about releasing terrorists you know) Good result for Bush – an excellent President – and look forward to discussing this on Nolan tomorrow. Do join in children, if you get the chance.

  • Harry Flashman

    You provide a photo of Donald Rumsfeld meeting Saddam Hussein, could you provide some evidence that the AK47’s, T-52 tanks, Scud and Silkworm missiles that equipped Saddam’s army came from Rumsfeld? Because they appear to be products of the Soviet Union, Czechoslovakia and Communist China,

    Just for the record;

    Arms Sales to Iraq in $ millions and % of total

    USSR__ $25,145m (57.26%)
    France__ $5,595m (12.74%)
    China__ $5,192m (11.82%)
    Czech.__ $2,880m (6.56%)
    Poland__ $1,681m (3.83%)
    Brazil__ $724m (1.65%)

    yes that’s correct, Brazil, then a further five places below, beneath Denmark comes the USA at $200m or a magisterial 0.46% of arms sales to Saddam.

    (Source: Stockholm International Peace Research Institute)

    I hope that ends once and for all the tired old nonsense that Saddam was armed by America, he wasn’t, the Communists (and the French) armed him because he was their friend.

    Reagan outnegotiated the Soviets, he outspent them, he outplayed them, he outwitted them and he beat them, hands down.

    History is history, Reagan won the Cold War, that was his declared policy and his objective, he planned it well, he drove it through and he was successful.

    Reagan defeated the Soviet Union.

    End of.

  • Suilven

    Yes, Harry, Reagan’s arming of the mujahideen in Afghanistan (including a young hothead called Osama bin Laden) to fight a proxy war against the Soviets was a great success. No chance of any blowback there whatsoever. Chalk up another ‘victory’ for the Gipper…

  • Harry Flashman

    And yet still the witless witter on;

    “Reagan’s arming of…Osama bin Laden”

    Reagan never armed Osama Bin Laden.

    Any other myths you adolescents need your Uncle Harry to dispel?

  • Greenflag

    Uncle Harry,

    There’s a good film/movie you can rent to educate you on the US involvement with the Mujahdeen .It’s titled Charlie Wilson’s War 🙂

  • Harry Flashman

    I prefer actual historical facts to Hollywood movies GF.

    I’m perfectly well aware of the US support for the Afghan resistance, have you any evidence that Ronald Reagan armed Osama Bin Laden or do you want to tell me about ‘rapture’ again?

  • Rabelais

    Flash Harry,
    See below from Time magazine (Thursday, Dec. 06, 2007 By Sandra McElwaine)

    ‘Wilson expresses no regret over using his power base in Washington to covertly funnel billions in arms through the CIA to the so-called freedom fighters. For him, the best part came in 1986, when Stinger missiles he supplied arrived to clear Soviet helicopters from the skies. Describing it as a “total high,” he says he knew then it was only a matter of time before the Russians would leave. “Who would have thought the ‘evil empire’ would collapse and, most astonishingly, that it would collapse without a single drop of blood from an American soldier?” He also has no remorse over his devotion to the Afghan guerrillas, many of whom later became Islamic warriors and formed the Taliban. “We were fighting the evil empire. It would have been like not supplying the Soviets against Hitler in World War II,” he says. “Anyway, who the hell had ever heard of the Taliban then?”

    What is truly mind-boggling about Wilson’s extraordinary saga is that not one word of it leaked to the press. He credits this to the bipartisan spirit in Congress at the time. “It never leaked because nobody wanted it to,” he says. “Everybody was pulling for [the mujahedin]. It was amazing and will never, never, ever happen again.”‘

    Looks like it was Charlie Wilson that brought the Soviet Union down and not Ronnie then!

    To be frank Flash the problem with throwing about sources and stats on this one is that we are dealing with covert operations. As the above article makes clear this sort of stuff doesn’t make it into the public domain until nobody gives a damn any more.

  • Rabelais

    Flash,
    Below is a qualifying comment on the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute’s statistics, which the insitutue themsleves included (but you omitted)Their data is founded on open sources (newspapers, journals, declassified documents etc) “The type of open information used by SIPRI cannot provide a comprehensive picture of world arms transfers. Published reports often provide only partial information, and substantial disagreement among reports is common. Order and delivery dates, exact numbers, types of weapon and the identity of suppliers or recipients may not always be clear.”

    So, covert transactions wouldn’t be included, would they? Would you deny that covert deals were done? Or perhaps you believe that Ronnie Reagan’s war on the ‘evil empire’ was confined to menacing rhetoric?

  • Rabelais

    end of?

  • Comrade Stalin

    David Vance,

    I know you’re trolling, but setting aside partisan differences of principle… the fact is that there is no measurable metric upon which the invasion of Iraq can be described as having been a success. There have been several terrorist attacks on several countries, allies of the US, which took place after the invasion, not least 7/7 and the Madrid bombings, and several other attacks thwarted which could have been at least as serious as 9/11 (eg the liquid bombs on planes); all of these at the behest of Islamic extremists who said the Iraq invasion was their motivation, not their discouragement. The fact that the USA has avoided an attack is a good thing, but largely more attributable to the significantly heightened security that now exists in that country. Even so, and the US government (which is on a state of alert for further terrorist attacks) concedes this, and is of the position that the likelihood of a future terrorist attack is inevitable. So, I don’t know where you get the idea that the Iraq war has prevented terrorist attacks. It has achieved precisely nothing, other than death, and lots of money for contractors and the firms who are rebuilding the country. It would be a better long-term investment to pursue diplomacy, in the way that the US has done vis. North Korea and China.

    If you think Bush is a successful president, just visit the country now and talk to ordinary Americans, and tell me about it. The US faces record national debt in a time of one of it’s gravest periods of recession in many years. I do not know how that can be considered to be a success, any more than New Labour’s similar economics have been a success. I can’t think of a single aspect of the Bush presidency which has been especially worthwhile. 9/11 offered many opportunities to overhaul the CIA, FBI and other security apparatus which failed to detect and prevent the 9/11 attacks. Those opportunities were lost.

    Uncle Harry :

    I hope that ends once and for all the tired old nonsense that Saddam was armed by America, he wasn’t, the Communists (and the French) armed him because he was their friend.

    It doesn’t, I’m afraid. You want facts ? Let’s talk about facts, specifically the ones documented on this Wikipedia page. The USA did not buy weapons and give them to directly Iraq, it armed the country through weapons from non-USA sources, and channeled billions of dollars to it in credit. The page links to sworn court testimony from the US officials who were involved Where do you think the Iraqis got the money to buy all the weapons in the first place ? The Brits were at it to, through the now infamous Matrix Churchill business. Sadly, these are matters that you are likely to ignore given your now well-established agenda of revising the foreign policy record of Ronald Reagan.

    Reagan outnegotiated the Soviets, he outspent them, he outplayed them, he outwitted them and he beat them, hands down.

    I still can’t identify the change in foreign policy that you’re claiming brought the end to the Soviet Union. The involvement in Afghanistan was started with Jimmy Carter and was expanded upon thanks to the efforts of a certain now-famous senator. At the best, Reagan expanded upon and extended the policy of his predecessor, but you can’t give him the credit for innovation. You have failed, unsurprisingly, to address any of my points concerning other rogue states, and indeed the position taken by Gorbachev, that contradict your nonexistent argument about Reagan’s role in ending the cold war (which happened nearly 3 years after he left office, I might add). The Soviet Union would continue to exist today had it reverted to Brezhnevism and Stalinism (as North Korea did), or had it not chosen to attempt democratic and political reform at the same time as economic reform (as China did). There is no way that Reagan would have intervened militarily had the Soviets chosen to uphold the Brezhnev doctrine in Poland.

    History is history, Reagan won the Cold War, that was his declared policy and his objective, he planned it well, he drove it through and he was successful.

    He didn’t “drive” anything. The Soviet government miscalculated and collapsed. That happened after he was gone, not while he was there. This revisionist stuff is daft, like saying that Stalin won world war 2, because it was his declared policy and objective, because he drove it through and because he was successful. It’s as wilful a misrepresentation of reality as anything taken from Pravda or Iskra.

  • Harry Flashman

    Oh I see, so no one can actually provide evidence that the US armed Iraq but I can provide overwhelming evidence that the French and Communists armed him but because we don’t want to believe this evidence we just assert without any actual evidence that the Americans must have covertly armed Saddam as opposed to the massive overt aid he received from the Reds and the French.

    I can’t beat your argument Harry so I’ll quote movies, wiki pages (two sources of factual accuracy I’m sure ) and simply make stuff up,

    Nice try.

    CS this argument is going to go on forever, the facts are that the United States under the leadership of Ronald Reagan and his successor and former VP George Bush Snr. saw off the Soviet Union if you wish to continue to delude yourself that the most powerful nation on earth having set out to destabilise its biggest rival had no role in the ultimate collapse of that rival then I see little I can do to enlighten you.

    Funny enough however I daresay if I told you the US were behind the collapse of Allende’s government in Chile and Mossadeq’s government in Iraq you’d completely agree with me.

    Double standards, much?

  • Harry Flashman

    As to David Vance’s assertion that Iraq is a success, well let’s look at it this way; in September 12 2001 the world looked on aghast at the sheer scale of the terrorist outrage inflicted in the heart of the western world. The huge nature of the problem of Islamic militancy seemed incredibly difficult to manage much less defeat.

    In the eight years of the Bush presidency what has been achieved? Al Queda has been rolled up into a lonely mountain fastness in the Pakistan Afghanistan borders, the scale of atrocities against western targets has gone into precipitate decline from Bali/Madrid style outrages to sending mental defectives into Exeter cafes with internet bombs. The massive financial network they once controlled has been liquidated, the government in Saudi Arabia is now no longer bankrolling the fanatics in the way they once did, governments from Indonesia to Morocco who once either turned a blind eye to Islamic terrorism or simply appeased it are now actively co-operating with the US government to extirpate it, the populations of these countries are also rejecting the militancy in greater numbers as they recognise it for the dead end it is.

    How was this achieved? Well at the end of the day the United States has one big massive hammer it can take to its enemies; its military forces. But it would hardly be possible to deploy the 101st Airborne to the Finchley Park mosque or the Marines to the madrassas of Lahore, so instead in classical military fashion the US decided to force the Holy Warriors to fight on American terms, Iraq would be the anvil upon which the Jihad would be hammered, as Bush himself said when told Al Queda was flooding into Iraq, “Bring ’em on”, he was as usual derided by the western chattering classes but as is so often the case it was a brilliant strategic move.

    Instead of plotting in the festering banlieus of Paris or Bradford the jihadis signed up in their tens of thousands to fight the Holy War which the western media convinced them the Great Satan was losing in Iraq. And by the tens of thousands, like French infantry at Verdun they were fed into the meat grinder prepared for them by their enemy. Tens of thousands of Pakistanis, Chechens, Saudis, Egyptians, Britons and Algerians all nicely diced and sliced ready to meet their 72 houris in paradise instead of plotting bombs on the Paris Metro.

    Brilliant.

    The cost? 3000 dead. Vietnam had 55,000, Korea something similar with nothing to show for it, the pointless invasion of Okinawa in July 1945 cost the US Marines and army 13,000 dead in a matter of weeks for no discernible result.

    Now the situation in Iraq is stabilising, the Iraqi government has sent boy wonder Muqtada al Sadr packing, their forces are now in control of Basra, Mosul and Kirkuk, Al Queda has been chased off with its tail between its legs from Anbar by the disgusted people of that province and they have no idea where to turn next. Is it all over? Not by a long chalk, there are extremely dark days ahead but the back is broken.

    Of course when it is all over people like the posters of SO’T who confidently predicted an American defeat will tell us how they knew all along that Al Queda could be beaten and that Bush deserves no credit for his stupendous achievement.

    Some things never change.