LONDON Banking capital of the world
Royal family wedding: Celebration in London

ROME Spiritual capital of the world
John Paul II beatification: Celebration in Rome

WASHINGTON Military capital of the world
Obama on Bin Laden death: Celebration in Washington

The headlines just get weirder and weirder . First en masse bullshit about the black nobility wedding now they have moved to America and Obama gets to bask in the glory with the news the elusive Bin Laden is dead. We can all sleep sounder knowing the powers that be are getting rid of all the 'bad' guys. Those same lot they blamed on all the false flag operations carried out across the globe that are allowing the ruling mafia's to bring in the New World Order. The BBC comes out with the news as if terror is being defeated by the biggest creators of terror and allows Bush to have justified the mass killing across the globe by the American military industrial complex. For anyone following events on Planet Royal the headlines are getting ever more bizarre.

President Obama tonight heralded Osama bin Laden's death as a major milestone in the war against al Qaeda, and "justice" for families of the nearly 3,000 victims of the Sept. 11 attacks.

Obama said the operation was carried out Sunday afternoon in northwest Pakistan after "years of painstaking work" by intelligence agencies yielded new clues to bin Laden's whereabouts starting last summer. "I met repeatedly with my National Security team as we developed more information about the possibility that we had located Bin Laden hiding within a compound deep inside Pakistan," Obama said in an address from the East Room of the White House Sunday evening. "Finally, last week I determined that we had enough intelligence to take action and authorized an operation to get Osama bin Laden and bring him to justice," Obama said.

"Today, at my direction the United States launched a targeted operation against that compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan. A small team of Americans carried out the operation with extraordinary courage and capability. No Americans were harmed. They took care to avoid civilian casualties. After a firefight, they killed Osama bin Laden and took custody of his body." A senior administration official said key members of the national security team gathered in the White House situation room at 1 p.m Sunday to monitor the operation, which was carried out on the ground by Navy SEALS. Nearly three hours later, Obama was informed that bin Laden's body had been tentatively identified. The identity was later confirmed, likely through DNA testing.

Bin Laden's body is being handled in accordance with Islamic practice and tradition, one senior administration official said. He is expected to be buried at sea. The government has not said whether a photo of bin Laden will be released to the media as proof of his death. "The death of bin Laden marks the most significant achievement to date to defeat al Qaeda," Obama said.

In his address, the president invoked the memory and imagery of the 9/11 attacks, and the "gaping whole in our hearts" that led to the international manhunt for bin Laden nearly a decade ago. The president said the killing of bin Laden would resonate around the world with people who oppose terrorism, and he stressed that the U.S. did not target bin Laden because of his faith. "The U.S. is not at war with Islam," Obama said, echoing a phrase also used by his predecessor President George W. Bush. "Bin laden was not a Muslim leader. He was a mass murderer of Muslims.

"His demise should be welcomed by all who believe in peace and human dignity," Obama said. The president said that the development demonstrates America's resolve to uphold justice and would be particularly meaningful for families of the victims. "We will be relentless in our defense of our citizens and our friends and allies," Obama said. "And on nights like this one, we can say to families who lost loved ones to al Qaeda's terror: justice has been done."

  • BUSH ON BIN LADEN'S DEATH: 'Momentous Achievement'
  • Will Death of Osama Bin Laden Trigger Terror Attacks?
  • HUCKABEE: 'Welcome to Hell, Bin Laden'
  • Osama Bin Laden: How Important of a Target?
  • Was Bin Laden already dead (from 2007) (VIDEO)

    PART 2

  • Thousands to protest against war

  • After George Bush's 'waterboarding' claims: How much did Britain know?
  • George Bush could face arrest over sanctioning torture, says leading human rights lawyer

    iraq veteran More than 1,000 veterans in California under 35 died after returning home from Iraq and Afghanistan between 2005 and 2008 - three times as many California service members who were killed in conflict overseas, according to a recently published Bay Citizen report.

    Investigative journalist Aaron Glantz studied the cases of Reuben Paul Santos, Alex Lowenstein and Elijah Warren to shed light on a growing trend among Afghanistan and Iraq veterans who have died through high-risk behavior and suicide after being discharged. In particular, veterans who returned home to California died through motorcycle and motor vehicle accidents and unintentional poisoning; in addition, veterans were two and a half times as likely to commit suicide as Californians of the same age who had not served in the military.

    Glantz, who has reported on the Iraq and Afghanistan wars since 2005, decided to focus on veterans in California because "it's important to look at our own community. [Santos] was this young man that was from a community that was literally right down the street. That's how silent this epidemic is." Santos returned from the military to his home in Daly City in 2003. He attempted to battle depression with a variety of treatments, from poetry to video games and, eventually, turned to psychiatric treatment. But according to Glantz, a number of bureaucratic obstacles prevented Santos from receiving adequate treatment once he recognized that he needed health care for psychiatric trauma. Currently, veterans receive five years of free health care following their discharge; when Santos left the military in 2003, veterans were only eligible for two years of free health care - and Santos did not begin to experience symptoms until three years at home. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression symptoms "don't emerge right away," Glantz said. When Santos did apply to for treatment at the US Department of Veteran Affairs (VA), Glantz said, he "got the runaround," often being transferred among therapists and having to retell his experiences in the war over and over. According to the report, Santos enrolled in a study treating veterans with PTSD six months before his death; after nine weeks with the same therapist, Santos left the study, while his doctor rated him as having "no clinical anxiety at that time."

    Santos hung himself three months later. "He finally got treatment, but it was too late," Glantz said. "Reuben's death was preventable. He passed away six years after his return, so there were opportunities for the story to have had a different ending." Lowenstein and Warren never attempted to receive mental health before committing suicide in 2010 and 2008, respectively. According to the report, less than half of returning veterans register at VA facilities for mental health treatment. A 2008 Rand Corporation study found that only half of veterans who need care seek it, as many traumatized soldiers remain silent to conform to a longstanding Army taboo against mental health care. "VA and DOD [Department of Defense] appear to have a policy for veterans called 'Don't look, don't find,'" said Paul Sullivan, a Gulf War veteran and executive director of Veterans for Common Sense.

    Since 2008, Glantz said, policies have slowly shifted in a positive direction for veterans. "Under President Obama, the amount of money spent on veterans has increased dramatically," Glantz said. "Under President Bush, there was a real head-in-the-sand attitude. That's begun to change." But the VA has a lot of ground to cover to make up for lost time, he said. "We started so late in the game." Specifically, Glantz recommends that veterans receive automatic registration with the VA, rather than having to seek it out on their own after their mental health begins to deteriorate. "Santos, Warren and Lowenstein should all have been automatically enrolled in the VA when they left the military. They should not have to fight a democracy to get in the system." Overall, Glantz said, it is the VA and not the veterans that should uphold a standard of proactive behavior. "The VA needs to make themselves more friendly to these young men and help them come forward if they need help," Glantz said. "Out of one million veterans, only half are turning up at the VA, which means the VA needs to do a better job of reaching out to them."

    Guantanamo WASHINGTON — A US federal judge dismissed Wednesday a complaint by the families of two Guantanamo detainees who alleged the men's deaths in 2006 had been covered up when the Pentagon ruled them as suicides.

    In her ruling, US District Judge Ellen Huvelle said "the highly disturbing nature of allegations in a complaint cannot be a sufficient basis in law" for the case to be heard. The families of Saudi prisoner Yasser al-Zahrani and Salah al-Salami of Yemen had asked the judge to reexamine the case in March after adding new testimony from military officials, including an officer who served at the US prison camp in southern Cuba the night of the events.

    At the time of their deaths, Al-Zahrani, 22, and Al-Salami, 33, had been detained without charge and held incommunicado for about four years at the US naval base. The Pentagon maintains the two men, along with a third detainee, Mani al-Utaybi of Saudi Arabia, committed suicide by hanging themselves in their cells. Utaybi's family did not file a complaint. But first-hand accounts provided by soldiers raised questions about the circumstances surrounding the deaths, and suggested the men may have died as the result of torture at a site off base known as "Camp No," according to the petition. One of the soldiers -- Joe Hickman, an army officer on duty at a watch tower with a view of the cells where the men were held overnight June 9-10, 2006 -- said he witnessed them being transported by van to Camp No -- so called because when asked if the camp existed soldiers would say "no".

    Later, rather than returning the men to their cells, the van pulled up to an infirmary. Hickman was told by a medical soldier that three dead prisoners had been brought to the infirmary "because they had rags stuffed down their throats, and that one of them was severely bruised," the petition said. But he was later told that the official cause of the men's deaths was that they had been found hanged in their cells.

    In her ruling on Wednesday, Huvelle pointed to a decision by a federal appeals court in Washington stating that matters relating to the conditions of detention in Guantanamo remain the purview of Congress alone -- not the courts -- due to national security concerns. "The question before the court is not whether homicide 'exceeds the bounds of permissible official conduct in the treatment of detainees in US custody and demands accountability' or whether the families of Al-Zahrani and Al-Salami deserve a remedy," Huvelle said. "Rather, the question is 'who should decide whether such a remedy should be provided.'"

    Al-Zahrani's father Talal denounced the ruling, saying "the courts should be investigating my son's death and holding those responsible accountable." "President Obama should be defending human rights and the democratic values the US preaches to the world, rather than going to court to defend the lies and gruesome crimes of the Bush administration," he added. President Barack Obama has acknowledged his administration has "fallen short" of his campaign promise to shutter the controversial facility within a year of taking office.

    Twelve American soldiers face charges over a secret "kill team" that allegedly blew up and shot Afghan civilians at random and collected their fingers as trophies.

    Five of the soldiers are charged with murdering three Afghan men who were allegedly killed for sport in separate attacks this year. Seven others are accused of covering up the killings and assaulting a recruit who exposed the murders when he reported other abuses, including members of the unit smoking hashish stolen from civilians.

    In one of the most serious accusations of war crimes to emerge from the Afghan conflict, the killings are alleged to have been carried out by members of a Stryker infantry brigade based in Kandahar province in southern Afghanistan. According to investigators and legal documents, discussion of killing Afghan civilians began after the arrival of Staff Sergeant Calvin Gibbs at forward operating base Ramrod last November. Other soldiers told the army's criminal investigation command that Gibbs boasted of the things he got away with while serving in Iraq and said how easy it would be to "toss a grenade at someone and kill them". One soldier said he believed Gibbs was "feeling out the platoon". Investigators said Gibbs, 25, hatched a plan with another soldier, Jeremy Morlock, 22, and other members of the unit to form a "kill team". While on patrol over the following months they allegedly killed at least three Afghan civilians. According to the charge sheet, the first target was Gul Mudin, who was killed "by means of throwing a fragmentary grenade at him and shooting him with a rifle", when the patrol entered the village of La Mohammed Kalay in January.

    Morlock and another soldier, Andrew Holmes, were on guard at the edge of a poppy field when Mudin emerged and stopped on the other side of a wall from the soldiers. Gibbs allegedly handed Morlock a grenade who armed it and dropped it over the wall next to the Afghan and dived for cover. Holmes, 19, then allegedly fired over the wall. Later in the day, Morlock is alleged to have told Holmes that the killing was for fun and threatened him if he told anyone. The second victim, Marach Agha, was shot and killed the following month. Gibbs is alleged to have shot him and placed a Kalashnikov next to the body to justify the killing. In May Mullah Adadhdad was killed after being shot and attacked with a grenade.

    The Army Times reported that a least one of the soldiers collected the fingers of the victims as souvenirs and that some of them posed for photographs with the bodies. Five soldiers – Gibbs, Morlock, Holmes, Michael Wagnon and Adam Winfield – are accused of murder and aggravated assault among other charges. All of the soldiers have denied the charges. They face the death penalty or life in prison if convicted. The killings came to light in May after the army began investigating a brutal assault on a soldier who told superiors that members of his unit were smoking hashish. The Army Times reported that members of the unit regularly smoked the drug on duty and sometimes stole it from civilians.

    The soldier, who was straight out of basic training and has not been named, said he witnessed the smoking of hashish and drinking of smuggled alcohol but initially did not report it out of loyalty to his comrades. But when he returned from an assignment at an army headquarters and discovered soldiers using the shipping container in which he was billeted to smoke hashish he reported it. Two days later members of his platoon, including Gibbs and Morlock, accused him of "snitching", gave him a beating and told him to keep his mouth shut. The soldier reported the beating and threats to his officers and then told investigators what he knew of the "kill team".

    Following the arrest of the original five accused in June, seven other soldiers were charged last month with attempting to cover up the killings and violent assault on the soldier who reported the smoking of hashish. The charges will be considered by a military grand jury later this month which will decide if there is enough evidence for a court martial. Army investigators say Morlock has admitted his involvement in the killings and given details about the role of others including Gibbs. But his lawyer, Michael Waddington, is seeking to have that confession suppressed because he says his client was interviewed while under the influence of prescription drugs taken for battlefield injuries and that he was also suffering from traumatic brain injury. "Our position is that his statements were incoherent, and taken while he was under a cocktail of drugs that shouldn't have been mixed," Waddington told the Seattle Times.


    (CNN) -- Journalists and other observers around the world spent Monday pouring over a vast cache of documents a whistleblower website says are U.S. reports that exhaustively chronicle the twists, turns and horror of the 9-year-old war in Afghanistan.

    The whistleblower website published more than 75,000 of the reports on Sunday. The documents date from between 2004 and January 2010, More.. and are divided into more than 100 categories. Tens of thousands of pages of reports document attacks on U.S. troops and their responses, relations between Americans in the field and their Afghan allies, intramural squabbles among Afghan civilians and security forces, and concerns about neighboring Pakistan's ties to the Taliban. The "direct fire" category accounts for the largest number -- at 16,293 reports -- while "graffiti," "mugging," "narcotics" and "threat" each account for one. And WikiLeaks has another 15,000 documents that it plans to publish after editing out names to protect people, according to the website's founder and editor in chief, Julian Assange. He told CNN's "Larry King Live" that the first-hand accounts represent "the cut and thrust of the entire war over the past six years," from the military's own raw data -- numbers of casualties, threat reports and notes from meetings between Afghan leaders and U.S. commanders. "We see the who, the where, the what, the when and the how of each one of these attacks," Assange said. That includes, he said, possible evidence of war crimes by both U.S. troops and the Taliban, the Islamic militia that has been battling U.S. troops since 2001.

    Assange said some events listed in the reports are "very suspicious," such as reports of skirmishes in which "a lot of people are killed, but no people taken prisoner and no people left wounded." "In the end, it will take a court to really look at the full range of evidence to decide if a crime has occurred," he said. But earlier, he noted, "This material does not leave anyone smelling like roses, especially the Taliban." CNN has not independently confirmed the authenticity of the documents. The White House condemned the release of the documents as "a breach of federal law," but simultaneously dismissed them as old news. "I don't think that what is being reported hasn't in many ways been publicly discussed -- whether by you or by representatives of the U.S. government -- for quite some time," White House spokesman Robert Gibbs told reporters. But he said an investigation into the source of the leak had begun by last week.

    "There is no doubt that this is a concerning development in operational security," he said. The reports tend to be filled with jargon, like this one that describes a border incident from September 4, 2005: "The Pakistan LNO [liaison officer] reports that ANA [Afghan National Army] troops are massing and threatening the PAKMIL [Pakistani military] 12km NE of FB Lwara [Firebase Lwara, a U.S. military base] ..." And that's not even the entire first sentence.

    Assange said WikiLeaks withheld some documents that dealt with activity by U.S. Special Forces and the CIA, "and most of the activity of other non-U.S. groups," Assange said. But he said the documents reveal the "squalor" of war, uncovering how a number of small incidents have added up to huge numbers of civilian deaths. "What we haven't seen previously is all those individual deaths," he said. "We've seen just the number. And like Stalin said, 'One man's death is a tragedy, a million dead is a statistic.' So, we've seen the statistic." The release of the documents is being called the biggest intelligence leak in history, drawing comparison to the disclosure of the Vietnam-era "Pentagon Papers." "There hasn't been an unauthorized disclosure of this magnitude in 39 years," said Daniel Ellsberg, the onetime Pentagon official who leaked that multi-volume secret history of the conflict. He said he wished the WikiLeaks documents had come out earlier, but, "Better late than never."

    Others disagreed with the comparison. Bruce Riedel, an analyst at the Saban Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution, noted that the Pentagon Papers were part of a document prepared for U.S. leaders that analyzed how the United States got into Vietnam, "which assessed successes and failures in a comprehensive way." "This is really the raw material of the war -- unassessed, raw, fragmentary data that I think in each case, you have to be very careful how much of a larger picture you can conclude from these fragments and snippets," Riedel said. And CNN Terrorism Analyst Peter Bergen said the Pentagon Papers revealed "a huge disconnect between what the American government was saying officially and internally."

    "Here, all sorts of American government officials are saying the war is not going very well. No one is disagreeing with that," Bergen said. But Ellsberg said the documents, "low-level as they are," raise the question of whether the United States has a winning strategy in Afghanistan and whether it should continue to pursue the war. "They do give us the sense of the pattern of failure, of stalemate, and why we're stalemated -- civilian casuatlies that recruit or the Taliban for us and raise the question of what we're doing there," he said. The United States and its allies invaded Afghanistan in 2001 after the September 11, 2001, attacks on New York and Washington. The attacks were carried out by the Islamic terrorist network al Qaeda, which operated from bases in Afghanistan with the approval of the Taliban, the fundamentalist movement that ruled most of the country at the time.

    The invasion swiftly toppled the Taliban, but al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden and Taliban leader Mullah Mohammed Omar escaped and remain at large. Meanwhile, the Taliban regrouped along the rugged border between Afghanistan and Pakistan, which is now battling its own Taliban insurgency as well. Gary Berntsen, who led a CIA commando team in Afghanistan in the hunt for al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, told CNN's "Rick's List" that the documents "probably are accurate." But Berntsen, now a Republican candidate for a U.S. Senate seat in New York, said the reports are likely to be a propaganda coup for the Taliban and "sap morale in the United States." "It does paint a bleak picture on this," he said. "But it doesn't mean this fight is less worth fighting and trying to make progress on." And Paul Rieckhoff, founder of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, said the information should be put "in context" and that journalists should avoid publishing anything that could harm U.S. troops in Afghanistan. Assange, he said, "is an anti-war activist who has repeatedly cast a very unfair light on the American military and on the American population in general."

    "There are American troops in harm's way getting shot and killed," Rieckhoff said. "If WikiLeaks is endangering them, we need to push back, and the American public needs to push back." Once the jargon of the report is pierced, the stories can be eye-opening. In a February 5, 2008, incident, Task Force Helmand reported that an Afghan National Policeman [ANP] was in a public shower smoking hashish when two members of the Afghan National Army walked in. "ANP felt threatened and a fire fight occurred," the report says. "The ANP fled the scene and was later shot. ANP and ANA commanders held meetings to contain the incident."

    An October 15, 2007, incident describes an ANP highway police officer's shooting of another Afghan national police officer in the shoulder and leg, not seriously. "The shooting was not accidental the policeman had been arguing with each other for a few days," the report said. In a March 19 2005 incident, "FOB [Forward Operating Base] Cobra received a local national boy who had received a gunshot wound to his stomach," another report said. "He had been shot during a green-on-green [Afghans attacking Afghans] firefight in Jangalak Village. The boy and his older brother had heard shooting outside of their compound and went outside to check it out, at which point the boy was shot in the stomach. Another brother had also been shot and died at the compound. No adult males had accompanied the brothers, and only the older brother of the injured boy could provide information on the incident. The older brother explained that men in the village were having personal disputes with each other and had then began shooting at each ones' compounds." The New York Times reported Sunday that military field documents on WikiLeaks suggest that Pakistan, an ally of the United States in the war against terror, has been running a "double game" by allowing its powerful Inter-Services Intelligence agency to meet with the Taliban. The talks included "secret strategy sessions to organize networks of militant groups that fight against American soldiers in Afghanistan, and even hatch plots to assassinate Afghan leaders," reported the newspaper, which had prior access to the documents.

    Though it is not news that Pakistan has a relationship with the Taliban, "the extent of it, the depth of it, the texture of that relationship is now laid out in copious detail," Riedel said. "We already had a very strained relationship in Pakistan over this issue, for several years. This is going to pressure that relationship even more." But Pakistan's ambassador to the United States, Husain Haqqani, said the government now in power in Pakistan is committed to battling the Taliban. "The misgivings of past cannot always easily be overcome," he said. "But what we can change is the future, and that's what we will do," he added. "This government was voted in on a platform in which we said very clearly, 'We will fight terrorists, and we will defeat them. And as long as this government has the legitimacy and support of parliament, that's exactly what it will do," Haqqani told CNN's "The Situation Room." He blamed the leak on unnamed parties he said are "trying to give Pakistan a bad name," but said raw intelligence reports "cannot be the basis of undermining what is now emerging as a truly meaningful partnership in our region."

    "You know that things are getting a lot better, and Pakistan, Afghanistan and the United States are working together right now to essentially defeat the terrorists," he said. But Afghanistan's government expressed amazement at the documents. "The Afghan government is shocked with the report that has opened the reality of the Afghan war," said Siamak Herawi, a government spokesman. He said Washington needed to deal with the ISI, which he said had "a direct connection with the terrorists," including al Qaeda. "These reports show that the U.S. was already aware of the ISI connection with the al Qaeda terrorist network," he said. "The United States is overdue on the ISI issue, and now the United States should answer."

    Numerous reports name Gen. Hamid Gul, the former head of Pakistan's intelligence service. But Gul rejected the accusations Monday. "These reports are absolutely and utterly false," Gul said . "I think they [the United States] are failing and they're looking for scapegoats." Assange said the documents were "legitimate," but said it was important not to take their contents at face value. "We publish CIA reports all the time that are legitimate CIA reports. That doesn't mean the CIA is telling the truth," he said.

    He declined to tell CNN where he got the documents, and says the identities of his sources are less important than the authenticity of the documents they provide. And he denied that WikiLeaks has put troops in danger, and said the documents' publication will help people make informed decisions about whether to support the war. Assange, an Australian, said the site is coming under "significant pressure" from authorities, including several recent "surveillance events." But he said that due to the response the latest release has received, "It is not politically feasible to interfere with us at a high level.

  • Secret files leak: Afghanistan's hidden war
  • Afghanistan war logs: Secret CIA paramilitaries' role in civilian deaths
  • Afghanistan war logs: Special forces wound two, kill six, including young girl, plus donkey and chickens
  • Afghanistan war logs: Air strike called in by Marines kills seven children
  • Afghanistan war logs: Reaper drones bring remote control death
  • View Is Bleaker Than Official Portrayal of War in Afghanistan
  • Afghanistan: The war logs
  • What the Wikileaks files TRULY reveal
  • Wikileaks Proves Media’s Sanitizing War
    death ray A ‘pain ray’ that blasts the enemy with unbearable heat waves has been pulled out of Afghanistan by the US military.

    The Active Denial System (ADS), which cost about £42 million to develop, was on the brink of being deployed to disperse members of the Taliban as they attacked US forces. The weapon, which causes immense pain to subjects but no lasting physical damage, was pulled from the war zone last week but US army chiefs in Afghanistan have stayed silent about the reason for the U-turn. The ADS, which has been in development for almost 20 years, works by firing a beam of high-frequency waves at the speed of light.

    The beam can cover a person’s entire body, causing agonising pain as it heats water and fat molecules beneath the skin’s surface. The beam can hit someone up to a third of a mile away, and they are only relieved of the pain when they move out of the way. A spokesperson from the American Department of Defence said: ‘The decision to recall the weapons back to the US was made by commanders on the ground in Afghanistan.’

    war memorials LEFT: War memorial on Parliament street created by radical feminists who DIDN'T fight during the war hence the strange monolith of coats hanging up which shows how ridiculous this monument is in representing women's' role during the second world war.

    We have the cenotaph: we don't need more memorials

    If you want to put up a statue to the fallen of world war two it seems nothing can stop you. It is becoming a death cult, and it's time to end it Lacking popular support, sound leadership, a definable purpose or agreed legal standing, and bound to end in squalor and defeat, the peace camp squatting in Parliament Square is an unintentionally exact replica of the wars it claims to oppose.

    As such it is also a much better memorial to recent British military disaster than any other monument now ossifying the capital. Someone should start a committee, raise funds and recreate the rabble in white Portland stone before Boris Johnson's lawyers get the real thing evicted. Britain has always marked its warriors to excess, which is why London has three times more war memorials than schools. To Victor Hugo it was a city with "statues of three or four Georges, one of whom was an idiot… For having drilled the infantry, a statue. For having commanded the Horse Guards, on manoeuvres, a statue." Nothing, other than our reduced global status, has changed. London is suffering a fresh bout of monumentitis: nostalgia wrapped up in patriotism that has as little to do with present realities as the statue of Boadicea by Westminster Bridge does with the fall of Rome. If you want to put up a memorial to those who died in world war two, it seems nothing can stop you, not even good design or the planning laws; yet so far we have largely left the sacrifice of Korea, Suez, the Falklands, Iraq and Afghanistan to the tranquil National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire. Last week I was sent a stiff-backed card to the unveiling of a statue of Air Chief Marshal Sir Keith Park GCB, KBE, MC, DFC, DCL, MA, RAF. You would have thought the titles were tribute enough, but at least his statue is modest and traditional. That is more than can be said for other structures, which mistake scale for sentiment and mawkishness for power but which, because of the sensitivity of the subject, people have found difficult to oppose. To question these memorials is not to question the sacrifice: only our desire to do it now, on such a scale, and for some conflicts above others.

    The most peculiar is the Animals In War memorial, which has plonked bronze beasts of burden in the middle of Park Lane, where they must struggle forever to reach Marble Arch beneath the slogan "They had no choice". Nor, for that matter, did most of the men conscripted into 20th-century battles, but we don't like to point it out. How this thing was allowed, and who wanted it, is unclear, other than it has celebrity backing from the likes of Jilly Cooper, such support being a prerequisite of every monument campaign. Robin Gibb, from the Bee Gees, is supporting an unfortunate plan to hand a large corner of Green Park to a neo-classical tribute to Bomber Command. The proposed structure, 85 metres long, is all Doric columns and Churchillian inscriptions, as if the deaths of 55,000 courageous young men and women are best served by recreating a vast classical relic on quiet, unbuilt green space. Bomber Command bore some of the greatest risks of the war and has not been remembered as it should have been. But it should not lessen our respect to question this banal and intrusive structure, or to ask whether we are turning our last unquestionable moment of national greatness into something uncomfortably close to a death cult. Bomber Command is getting a monument in part, I suspect, because Fighter Command already has one in the Battle of Britain Memorial, an awful design erected five years ago on the Embankment, its frieze seemingly carved from chocolate by a mawkish Soviet realist.

    The purest and most moving structure in London is Sir Edwin Lutyens' Cenotaph and it might be thought that no other form of remembrance is necessary. As each group is commemorated, so another will feel left out. The fragmentation of what was a collective endeavour into an array of specialist sites diminishes the whole. The Cenotaph's power has been reduced, though, by the Women at War monument just behind it in Whitehall. Its designer was apparently inspired by a photograph of coats on hooks in a 1940s cloakroom, and the result is as bad as that sounds.

    Monuments say as much about the circumstances of the time in which they are built as the events they mark. This is true of the memorial to the victims of the 2002 Bali bombings, an elegant presence at the foot of King Charles Street. Many people died in the attack, but the British connection was limited. Why is there a monument? It must have something to do with the mentality of the war on terror, and our identification with the young westerners who died above victims of other foreign disasters. In all these judgments there can be no absolutes, only a sense of what is appropriate. Some may want to see the governing heart of the capital reminded of what happens when wars go wrong. I think the Cenotaph does that already. Others may want to see more monuments to peaceful endeavour: in their elegant book, The Statues of London, Claire Bullus and Ronald Asprey list 100 people who deserve a monument, and suggest where they should be erected. Some of them are military men. But there is no statue of John Milton, or Thomas Paine, or Geoffrey Chaucer, or Jane Austen in London and only a feeble one of Shakespeare. Perhaps that is where our commemorative efforts now should be headed.


    Judges quash UK troops human rights ruling

    The Supreme Court has ruled that British troops are not protected by human rights laws on the battlefield. The family of Pte Jason Smith, who died of heatstroke in Iraq in June 2003, had argued that troops should receive such protection in conflict overseas. Commanders said it was impractical to allow troops in combat zones to be protected by human rights law.

    The Supreme Court has now quashed previous rulings that the legislation should apply to soldiers at all times. The president of the Supreme Court, Lord Phillips, said service personnel fighting abroad would not necessarily be covered by human rights law. He said that only in "exceptional circumstances" could obligations be imposed on countries in relation to people outside their territorial jurisdiction. The court ruled they did not extend to servicemen and women abroad.

    Jocelyn Cockburn, representing Pte Smith's mother, Catherine Smith, said the decision was "shocking". She said soldiers believed they were under UK jurisdiction and were sent abroad by the Queen to serve the people of the UK. "Despite this, the Supreme Court has held that soldiers leave the UK jurisdiction, in so far as the Human Rights Act is concerned, when they leave a UK army base," she said. "It can only be hoped that the morale of soldiers who are risking their lives for us will not be severely damaged by this astonishing finding. "It is artificial to assert that rights can be protected on-base but not off-base."

    She said the issue would ultimately have to be tested in the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg. Mrs Smith said she continued to have concerns about what rights soldiers had when off-base. However, she welcomed a decision to hold a fresh inquest into her son's death which would be fully compliant with the European Convention on Human Rights. The Ministry of Defence (MoD) said it was pleased the Supreme Court had upheld the appeal.

    Air Chief Marshal Sir Jock Stirrup, chief of the defence staff, said: "This outcome is not about denying rights to our people, it is about ensuring that we have a clear and workable set of rules under which they can carry out their demanding and dangerous work. "Within that context, commanders at all levels are committed to the safety of the men and women they lead. "We will continue to do everything we can to keep our people from harm by providing the best possible equipment and training." Defence Secretary Liam Fox said the government was committed to provide the "very best support and equipment" to UK troops.

    He added: "Common sense has prevailed and it is of course right that commanders' orders given in the heat of battle should not be questioned by lawyers at a later date. "It would have been absurd to try to apply the same legal considerations on the battlefield that exist in non-combat situations." The president of the Supreme Court, Lord Phillips, gave details of the ruling

    Pte Smith, from Hawick in the Scottish Borders, was 32 when he died while serving with the Territorial Army in Al Amarrah seven years ago. An inquest later ruled that his death was caused by a "serious failure" in not recognising the difficulty he was having adjusting to the climate. It prompted his family to begin a test case which led to a High Court ruling in 2008 that human rights laws could be applied to British troops in combat. The UK government decided to appeal against that decision but that, in turn, was rejected by the Court of Appeal. However, a final appeal to the Supreme Court has now proved successful.

    John Wadham, group legal director at the Equality and Human Rights Commission, said it was "disappointed" by the decision. "Soldiers are often required to lay down their life for their country and in return, should be afforded human rights protection," he said. "Extending human rights protection is not about individual decisions in the heat of battle, but ensuring that when we send soldiers off to war they are properly prepared; kitted out correctly and with equipment fit for combat."

    There is a simple reason why the gay rights lobby is trying to rush through repeal of the Pentagon’s homosexual exclusion policy. They know that a comprehensive review of a proposed change would disclose the substantial evidence that admission of open and active homosexuals would put our troops in further danger through exposure to tainted blood. In fact, evidence to this effect is already in the hands of top military commanders and Pentagon officers.

    The Pentagon understands that 19,000 soldiers already have HIV/AIDS and that some -- if not most -- came down with the deadly disease through prohibited gay sexual conduct. It is common sense that opening the ranks to open and active homosexuals would only increase this problem. Here’s another critical fact that a comprehensive review would disclose --there is no blood test that can be guaranteed to screen HIV and other deadly diseases out of the blood supply once the gay males, who are currently prohibited from donating blood, are welcomed into the services. Meantime, Peter Sprigg of the Family Research Council reports in a blockbuster new study that the evidence indicates that a disproportionate number of assaults in the military are committed by homosexuals. The evidence, in short, already demonstrates a significant problem of homosexual misconduct in the Armed Forces, even though such behavior is supposed to be prohibited.

    Oblivious to the demonstrated need to tighten up rather than loosen the current policy, the Washington Post has editorialized in favor of a quick congressional vote, saying it is “reprehensible” to keep homosexuals out of the military. One of the Post’s leading editorial writers, Jonathan Capehart, is a homosexual activist who used to cover gay sex clubs. The gay rights lobby is labeling as “offensive” a new video that exposes homosexual misconduct in the Armed Forces and wants it taken down from YouTube. They have not pinpointed one factual inaccuracy in the film or in the heavily documented 60-page report by Dale O’Leary that forms the basis of it. Their desperation is being guided by the realization that male homosexual conduct is directly linked to tainted blood and deadly diseases such as HIV/AIDS, and that no cure or vaccine has yet been found. They don’t want the public to learn about cases such as Johnnie Lamar Dalton, a soldier who came down with HIV and then infected a boy he met in a gay online chat room. Dalton went to prison, but homosexuals in the Armed Forces coming down with HIV/AIDS cost at least $18,000-$20,000 a year per patient.

    A comprehensive review, which would also take into account the views of our soldiers currently fighting two wars, was promised to our troops before any legislative action was to be taken. The comprehensive review was to be completed by December and was part of the questionable deal that Defense Secretary Robert Gates made in order to accommodate President Obama’s irresponsible campaign pledge to admit open gays, no matter what the consequences to military readiness, order, and discipline. The promise to our troops would be broken if the Congress votes now to admit open and active homosexuals into the ranks. The gays and their allies, however, don’t care about the troops. They want their “rights” and they want them now. They simply don’t care if a premature policy change causes thousands of our soldiers to leave the Armed Forces in disgust and dismay and thousands more never to sign up because they don’t want to room or shower with individuals sexually attracted to them.

    When the gays realized that the November elections would probably mean more conservatives being elected to Congress and more opposition to repeal of the policy, they decided to accelerate their demands and called on their congressional allies, led by Senator Carl Levin, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, to move up the schedule. That is why Congress is right now in the midst of debating this far-reaching policy change. In short, Gates and our troops have had the rug pulled out from under them. When the vote was moved up to the present time, Gates could have resigned in protest. But he decided to go along with the campaign to force open homosexuals into the ranks. While Gates is reluctantly joining the liberal politicians and Obama himself in playing politics with soldiers’ lives, top military commanders are remaining firm in their opposition to a premature and reckless change in policy without all of the evidence being gathered and evaluated. Senator John McCain, top Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, is proving to be a true profile in courage in the current circumstances. He has assembled the views of our top commanders on his web site and is leading the opposition to what Levin and the others are trying to do.

    McCain notes that the four Service Chiefs -- General George W. Casey, Jr, U.S. Army; Admiral G. Roughead, U.S. Navy; General James T. Conway, Commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps; and General Norton A. Schwartz, U.S. Air Force -- have again stated their position that a comprehensive review must be completed before any legislative action is taken to repeal the homosexual exclusion policy known as “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” (DADT). General Casey tells McCain that “repealing the law before the completion of the review will be seen by the men and women of the Army as a reversal of our commitment to hear their views before moving forward.” General Schwartz says, “I believe it is important, a matter of keeping faith with those currently serving in the Armed Forces, that the Secretary of Defense commissioned review be completed before there is any legislation to repeal the DA/DT law. Such action allows me to provide the best military advice to the President, and sends an important signal to our Airmen and their families that their opinion matters.”

    They are exactly correct, of course. What they may not realize is that the promise to our troops and their families is being broken because the liberal politicians are more committed to the gay rights agenda than the survival of our troops in battle. Our troops have become cannon fodder in the gay rights campaign to force their views and acceptance on the rest of us. The rights of gays are now supposed to take precedence over our soldiers’ lives. A matter of life and death, gay males can’t donate blood but Levin and his allies want them in the service anyway, put in a position where they could be called upon to donate blood and could bleed on their fellow soldiers. While the gay rights lobby and their backers in the George Soros-funded Center for American Progress smear anybody drawing attention to this problem as a “hate-monger,” the facts are the facts. Their real agenda is censorship of the truth about the health hazards of the gay lifestyle. The civilian sector is not immune to this kind of special interest politics. The Obama Administration, working with the same liberal politicians pushing repeal of DADT, is also considering lifting the ban on gay men donating blood. That means that civilians could soon be facing the same deadly threat now stalking our soldiers on the battlefield.