Wednesday, May 16, 2007


End of day 3..

I'm so poleaxed by today (and I was only listening) that I can't get what pass for my thoughts into any semblance of order, so this will be a stream of (semi)consciousness.

Question: what's this pink thing?
Answer: the kind of thing Mr Blair (I mean the prosecuting QC, but it could well be the other Mr Blair also) seems to think would be dropped from B52's onto Iraq - a Barbie pink tank cosy. Mmmm, nice.......but hardly likely, I think? Actually, it was leaflets he suggested were to be dropped, but we think cuddly toys would be a nice touch.

And now for today's quiz.

1.Imagine if you will, that war is imminent, and some planes are about to set off from the UK. What do you suppose they would carry?

a) leaflets

b) custard pies

c) cluster bombs and other munitions

2. If you wanted to prevent war crimes, would you :

a) ask a nice friendly policeperson to investigate your concerns

b) get shut out of yet another pro-war MP's surgery

c) go to Fairford and try to prevent planes from taking off

3. If you wanted to invade Iraq, and had thought up some jolly good reasons which were unfortunately totally unsupported by any evidence, would you:

a) lift someone else's dodgy dossier and present it as True Fact?

b)twist your colleagues' arms until they agree to at least pretend to believe you

c) listen to the majority of your electorate and consider that there could be some alternatives to waging war, inevitably causing thousands of civilian casualties?

Answers at the bottom

What else happened today? Toby gave evidence and did very well, but he's not finished yet and still under oath so he's not allowed to talk about it.....fortunately for y'all, we can blather on regardless and probably will.

So, from the top, Ed 'The Crooner' Rees, QC for the defence (who is really trying to get close to that microphone, urged on by the judge) called Toby to the witness box. Toby was sworn in and Ed's questions started - initially to give a thumbnail sketch of the beliefs that lead him to take this action and what he intended to do. He went through his understanding of the political and military lead-up to the invasion, including the situation post the first Gulf war since when the bombing of Iraq has never completely stopped. Toby talked about how previous conflicts have been conducted, such as the first Gulf war, Kosovo and Afghanistan; the weaponry and how it has been used, and the situation in Iraq resulting from years of punitive sanctions. These have left the country and its inhabitants desperately vulnerable, with the infrastructure ( water, sewage treatment, electricity etc.) on the verge of collapse. It is reliably estimated that over 1 million Iraqis have died as a result of the sanctions, more than half of them children. In particular, Toby described cluster weapons, their inability to be targeted accurately and the way in which as many as 20% of them fail to explode on initial impact, leaving them armed and extremely unstable. They remain hidden where they fell (which can be over an area equivalent to 3 football pitches) in house gutters, farmland, trees - anywhere- and are effectively land mines, which civilians bear the brunt of. This renders huge areas of farmland unsafe, denying people the ability to grow food without serious risk of death or injury.

Ed took Toby through his knowledge of the B52's arrival at Fairford and their likely deployment in the planned massive air bombardment known as 'Shock and Awe', to disable Iraqi defences before ground troops went in. Then we had a brief tour of some of the exhibits as Toby explained what he'd do if they had got to the planes, namely putting nuts and bolts in the engines' air intakes and affixing warning signs - 'Danger - Bomber Grounded'. Phil and Toby planned to do this to as many planes as possible before they were stopped or ran out of warning signs - their primary concern whilst trying to stop the loss of innocent life in Iraq, was to ensure nobody was endangered as a result of damaging the planes. They also planned to seal the bomb doors with pictures of Iraqi civilians; splash red and black paint, symbolising blood and oil, over the planes (which would also alert the USAF personnel to possible damage); drape a big colourful banner proclaiming 'Swords into Ploughshares - Hope and Resistance' over the plane, and above all stay there until they were taken away.

Oops, out of time again cafe's closed, so I'm off home. Until tomorrow....

Answers to today's quiz

Mostly As - are you Mr Blair? or at least one of them?

Mostly B's - mmm, getting there - have you considered standing against Gordon for the Labour party leadership?

Mostly C's - you're obviously far too well informed for your own good, and willing to take action. Keep it up!

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