Issue #69 - February 27th - March 6th 2004

Arming the Axis of Evil - Are British and American Intelligence involved in promoting nuclear proliferation?
The notorious Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI) went bankrupt after it's involvement in massive fraud and the laundering of drug money was revealed in 1992. Now it has been linked to funding Pakistan's nuclear programme
By Duncan McFarlane

A soggy, muddy, spaghetti adventure
As we headed to the familiar stream near our house we pretended that we were trekking into the wilds of a tropical rainforest. Lost in our fantasy, and undeterred my the fact we could see the white lion pub if we turned to the right
By Rachel Queen

Some Strange Behaviour
instead of eating her own food she started to eat small oval shaped sweets. Not many of them either. Just two every now and again. They didn't look like a very good replacement for some nice toast or a bowel of cornflakes.
By Belle

Gravity
Alas, Kieran is Kieran, and they didn't quite see the funny side when he stood on their toes, breathed meths in their face, and whispered "Tai-chi make you feel no pain, bitch-boy."
By Paul Williamson

The Mystery of Love: Sherlock Holmes and Valentine's day (Part 2)
"Love? I quite fail to see how this parcel could be related to that mystery, and even should the connection be proved upon me, wherein the mystery could reside, and even then, how it is to be solved!"
By Hugo Johan

 

 

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Arming the Axis of Evil
Are British and American Intelligence involved in promoting nuclear proliferation?

The notorious Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI) went bankrupt after it's involvement in massive fraud and the laundering of drug money was revealed in 1992. Now it has been linked to funding Pakistan's nuclear programme which also involved the export of nuclear technology to much of the 'Axis of Evil' - Iran, Libya and North Korea. Saddam's regime rejected offers of sales of nuclear technology and know-how from Pakistan in the 90s - but it's earlier nuclear programme, largely defunct from the mid-90s on, received funding in the form of letters of credit from BCCI.

Senator John Kerry, the current favourite to be the American Democratic party's Presidential Candidate in November, chaired a US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations inquiry into BCCI. It's 1992 report stated that BCCI's involvement in Pakistan's nuclear programme required further investigation. The Bank's BCCI Foundation - supposedly set up to promote development and eliminate third world poverty - funded the establishment of the Khan Institute for Science and Technology - which was headed by Dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan - the Pakistani nuclear scientist who headed Pakistan's nuclear weapons programme and has admitted involvement in exporting nuclear secrets. In 1991 the Times newspaper quoted an un-named businessmen as saying 'BCCI is functioning as the owners' representative for Pakistan's nuclear-bomb project.'.

BCCI was not merely corrupt. The 1992 Senate Committee report , among other sources, details links between BCCI and the CIA . The CIA and MI6 along with Pakistani Intelligence - the Inter-Services Intelligence Agency - used it as a front for channelling funding to the mujahedin in the Afghan-Soviet War in the 80s - and for laundering money from Afghan heroin (1). It is well established by the testimony of numerous former American Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) Officers - including Michael Levine - that the CIA laundered drug money via BCCI and obstructed DEA attempts to crack down on drug trafficking from Afghanistan , Pakistan and South America to the US itself (2,3). BCCI was a clearing house for CIA financial transactions to everyone from Manuel Noriega - the US backed (and later deposed) dictator of Panama - to the allies of the (later assassinated) General Zia - US backed military dictator of Pakistan in the 80s. The Bank of England - which at that time was Britain's financial regulator - was warned of BCCI's nefarious practices repeatedly from 1984 on but took no action against it. The fact that BCCI was a front for Anglo-American intelligence is unlikely to have been irrelevant to this inaction.

Claims by the ISI and the Pakistani military that Dr. Khan's export activities were unknown to them have been met with widespread incredulity in Pakistan from everyone from former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto to the majority of Pakistan's newspapers. The idea that Khan could have - for instance - exported a centrifuge to Iran - without the army or the ISI knowing - is more than a little ludicrous. Scientists involved in nuclear research were under continual surveillance and could not leave the country unaccompanied. While Musharraff claims Khan was given a free hand the idea that exports could not be distinguished from imports is not credible.

The CIA and ISI were also involved both in organising the funding and training of Osama Bin Laden and other mujahedin in the Afghan Soviet War - and also in the rise of the Taliban (also see off-line source 4 below). This raises other questions. Did the CIA actively promote nuclear proliferation through BCCI and the ISI in the same way that they promoted the drugs trade and the rise of the mujahedin through it ? And if so why? Could it be that some in American and British intelligence and governments wanted to create a pretext for military intervention or the threat of it ? If this seems far-fetched consider that current US Secretary of State for Defense Donald Rumsfeld - who today condemns North Korea as a member of the Axis of Evil - was a non executive director of ABB from 1990 to 2001 - an engineering firm based in Switzerland. In 2000 ABB won a $200mn contract to design and provide components for nuclear reactors in North Korea. Similarly subsidiaries of Halliburton Oil - former CEO Vice President Dick Cheney - operated in Iraq and Libya until at least February 2000 while US and UN sanctions were in place (also see off-line source 5) - and continue to operate in Iran - another member of the 'Axis of Evil' which similarly has US sanctions on it. Halliburton exploits a loop-hole in US sanctions which permits subsidiaries staffed by foreign nationals to operate. Cheney continues to receive payments of around $150,000 a year from Halliburton. It seems that governments and intelligence agencies may be involved in dangerous double games in their wars on drugs, terror and nuclear proliferation - a game in which the majority of the world's population and their own people are treated as pawns. A recent Pentagon study concluded that nuclear proliferation is 'inevitable' which has to raise the question of why, in that case, they were so keen to invade Iraq in what they claimed was an invasion aimed to prevent it.

Duncan McFarlane

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Offline Sources

(1) =Cockburn, Alexander & St.Clair, Jeffrey (1998) , Whiteout - The CIA, Drugs and The Press , Verso, London & New York , 1998 , esp p264-269

(2) =Scott, Peter Dale & Marshall, Jonathan (1992) , Cocaine Politics - Drugs, Armies & The CIA in Central America(2nd Edition) , UCP, Berkeley, California , 1998

(3) = Levine , Michael (2000) Deep Cover uPublish.com , 2000

(4) Rashid , Ahmed(2001) Taliban Tauris,London ,2001 Chapters 10 to 14

(5) = The Star (Jordan, Middle East) 24 Feb 2000 ,Doing business with the enemy? Oil lubricates 'quiet' trade deals between US and Iraq (Also CBS's '60 Minutes' programme Doing Business With the Enemy )

  

 

 

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A soggy, muddy, spaghetti adventure

All in all it was a crazy idea to go fishing in the middle of November. We'd sat huddled in our big woolly coats sipping sweet milky tea out of a thermos and giggling at how silly we must have looked sitting there. Even the fish must have laughed at us with our pieces of string crudely tied onto bamboo canes. Neither of us had ever done any fishing before so we weren't entirely sure how to go about it. Even we knew it wasn't like this though.

As I recall it had been my idea to go in the first place. Just before we went I remember looking out of the rain splattered window wishing I could think of an excuse to be outside. To feel the rain on my skin, and the biting cold wind against my cheeks. In short I wanted an excuse to feel alive.

You must have been thinking along the same lines because you went along with it without putting up much of a fight. In fact you seemed surprisingly eager to come.

We collected up bits and pieces, which we thought we might need: a packet of jammy dodgers for ourselves, and some spaghetti to feed the fish. Neither of us wanted to find real maggots, and the spaghetti looked quite realistic as it happens.

As we headed to the familiar stream near our house we pretended that we were trekking into the wilds of a tropical rainforest. Lost in our fantasy, and undeterred my the fact we could see the white lion pub if we turned to the right, we found the perfect spot to set up our "fishing rods".

Then it started. The talking that is. We talked and talked and talked. About everything really. We told each other about the people we'd loved, and places we'd visit. We told each other romanticised stories from the long lost days of our youth.

We shared secrets too. Things we didn't think we'd ever be able to tell anyone else. I told you things I didn't think I'd dare tell a living soul and felt dizzy as my mind became fee of the burden I hadn't realised was there.

Before you ask, we didn't catch anything. How could we with spaghetti, string a bamboo cane? But as we entered the fish and chip shop, soggy, muddy and glowing we joked that it was nice to eat a meal we'd had to catch ourselves.

It was a crazy idea to go fishing in the middle of November, but it has to be said that it was one of my better ones.

Rachel Queen
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Some Strange Behaviour

The past few days I have noticed that the girl has been acting very strangely. I'm not sure exactly when she started to act this way but I first noticed it one morning when she gave me a whole tin of food for my breakfast. She is normally quite stingy about how much she lets me eat and so when I noticed her absent mindedly spoon out all of the food I knew something was wrong.

The next thing I noticed was the fact that instead of eating her own food she started to eat small oval shaped sweets. Not many of them either. Just two every now and again. They didn't look like a very good replacement for some nice toast or a bowl of cornflakes.

I started studying the girl very carefully and soon discovered that the small oval shaped sweets weren't the only thing that she was eating. She had also started to eat lots of papery white things. Only instead of eating them with her mouth she was eating them with her Nose! I know you think that I'm lying to you but honestly it is the truth!

She was being very wasteful with the papery white things and I discovered a whole load of them, which she had hardly eaten. As you'll know I'm always one for trying foreign foods and so I tried a couple of the papery things she had discarded. I think that they really must be something you need to eat through your nose though because apart from the fact that they were slightly salty they really didn't taste of anything at all.

Not only is the girl eating a totally different set of foods these days but she also seems to be learning a whole new language. Her voice has gone extremely croaky and she says things like:

"Doh Belle dote do thad!"

Or

"Ged down from the table. Dow!"

It's very funny because although I can sort of guess what she means I pretend that I can't because of this I managed to chase that cat all around the garden and all girl could say was:

"Dop thad add come inside dow belle!"

Even the cat laughed at her.

The girl has also started saying "a choo!" a lot in a very loud voice. I have no idea what that means but I think it means "time I ate some more of those white papery things" because that is what she does when she says it. I've even caught her trying to bark! She isn't very good at it yet. In fact she is quite shy about the whole thing and puts her hand up to her mouth and pretends that she isn't really doing it.

Although this new behaviour is quite interesting I really wish the girl would just go back to being her old self. She was a lot more fun when she wasn't eating those papery white things all of the time.

belle

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Gravity

Kieran felt everything go in slow motion as he flew, scud-like, through the cold, 2am Saturday night air. For some reason, during his dalliance with gravity, he thought about the perpetual dream he had about riding over the top of the school on his Raleigh Blazer as a kid. He didn't know why he thought about this, and indeed, the thought lasted only a nano-second or two, for his two-step with gravity was short-lived as he felt his arse hit the pavement and his head hit the back of the skip with a thump, thump, thump. Rather like the music in the club. Thump, thump, thump. Perhaps it was a blessing, after all, that he had shadow-boxed and performed an inebriated and badly choreographed interpretation of tai-chi in front of the tight-tuxedoed bouncers on the door. At first they thought he was just some loon off his head on 'E'. At first they thought he was almost funny. Alas, Kieran is Kieran, and they didn't quite see the funny side when he stood on their toes, breathed meths in their face, and whispered "Tai-chi make you feel no pain, bitch-boy." No, the toothless grins of the men in black were replaced by something altogether more sinister, and before he knew it, Kieran was grabbed by the balls and the back of his neck and was hurled like a javelin through the black door with it's green neon 'Exit' sign. In a perverse way, as he leant against the skip grabbing at the sky and catching his breath, he almost admired their efficiency…

Now would be the time to walk home. Yet home was where? He knew that the door would be locked and the bolt pulled across. She would have also shut the bathroom window, and removed the spare key from under the mat in the shed. All means of entry would be blocked. She would have done all of this and she would be right. Christ, she would be right.

Kieran was too old for this. Too old for sleeping on damp park benches. Too old to get a kicking off the Ritzy's hired goons. Too old and too in debt to waste the Friday pay-day on Epsom Salts and Spitfires.

He sat down on the curb. Thought about his options. Not that there were many. He knew that he couldn't keep running away every time the going got a little rough. It was a trick he had pulled since a pale kid of seven or eight. Run away, come back, and everything would be fine, or at least, forgot about. In his teens and twenties, the philosophy of running, of turning his back on it all, had defined his life. Kieran had hatched careers and kick-started his escapes on a yearly, on a monthly, basis. Nothing ever stuck because he never made it stick, never stuck at anything. At the time, this philosophy served him well. It felt Cavalier, almost gung-ho, to take a pin, drop it on a map, and leave your destination in the hands of gravity. But now he was thirty-eight. With a wife and a kid on the way. And, as he dabbed at the bruises on the back of his head, he realised that gravity isn't always kind, that the more you fight it, the more it pulls you down.

Kieran got to his feet. His head throbbed. He walked along the driveway, the one that HE built, reached out his hand, and rang the doorbell. She will NOT be pleased…

Paul Williamson

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The Mystery of Love:
Sherlock Holmes and Valentine's day

Last week, in Sherlock Holmes and the Mystery of Love:
In Calling on Holmes, Dr. Watson finds his friend perplexed by a mysterious parcel which had been brought to his attention by an extremely distressed young lady. However, Holmes seems reluctant to let his friend into the basis of the mystery. We pick up the story after Watson has forced the following "explanation" from Holmes:

"But Holmes, you must admit to being more than a little wilfully obscure here. Out with it, man! What then is the heart of the matter!"

"Ah old friend, it pleases me to see you fall so faithfully into the verbal trap I had set for you. The 'heart of the matter', you see, is precisely... the heart!"

And leaning contentedly back into his chair, allowed me to bask for a few uncomfortable moments in his pleasure at the bafflement and - dare I admit it? Horror - that I knew was scrawled across my face.

Part 2

"But... you cannot mean to tell me that in that parcel..."

"My dearest friend, the scientific bent of your - regrettably - well-trained mind, has, I fear pre-disposed you to think all too literally. I mean 'the heart', of course, metaphorically (to be more correct, metonymically, but I fear that I shall become rather too pedantic by insisting on that) to indicate that most ubiquitous, yet littlest understood of passion: love."

"Love? I quite fail to see how this parcel could be related to that mystery, and even should the connection be proved upon me, wherein the mystery could reside, and even then, how it is to be solved!"

"Well then, let us proceed apace to sketch this picture that we must paint in lines a little more distinct shall we? Yes, I admit that I have been playing a little bit obscure with my friend, I admit it indeed. And now - for the history of this our case in as clear a manner as I may fashion!"

"Please, if you will. And afterwards I shall be pleased to render you such assistance as I may, though well you know how paltry such an offer must of necessity be!"

"On the contrary, Watson, you have consistently been of the greatest - nay, indispensable! - aid in the adventures we twain have embarked upon. And not only does the recent renewal of your acquaintance with that Platonic classic upon the subject attest to your interest in the matter at hand, but I am in sore need of a fresh perspective on the facts."

"But first, Holmes, the facts, if you will!"

"Ill does your impatience become you, my learned friend, but nevertheless, the sentiment is commendable for the enthusiasm it betrays! The facts then, as I have them: as I have told you, this morning as I was breaking my fast, the breakfast was itself shattered by the entrance of a rather vexed young lady bearing the present parcel. She immediately launched into the reasons for her vexation..."

"A most commendable habit!"

"... upon which the following facts presented themselves. Today, as I have remarked, is the 14th of February, the famed - or infamous, depending on the status of one's relationship with the object of one's particular mode of affection - Feast of St. Valentine. It thus transpired that, waking on this fateful morn, and having been in no way led to expect the reception of such a thing, the lady discovered upon her doorstep this parcel. Now, at first she thought that it must have been delivered at the wrong address - since, as I have indicated, she was not aware of any admirer, secret or otherwise, and moreover, having but recently moved to her present address could not conceive of any putative admirer in her distant future having discovered her whereabouts - and her first reaction was of pity for the poor and unknown maiden who must so be deprived of the love-token which was rightfully hers. However, even a cursory examination of the parcel - as you may see, Watson - reveals that the parcel had been very precisely and meticulously addressed, and to a name and address which - the lady assures me - belongs to her and her alone, to the best of her knowledge."

"So I see, Holmes. I also notice that it had not been redirected, and hence think it safe to conclude that the sender was well aware of the lady's current whereabouts?"

"Indeed. And therefore, discounting the unlikely - and in the event, irrelevant - possibility that there had, by coincidence, and until recently, resided at the same address a lady of precisely the same name and amorous status, who had moreover neglected to inform her paramour of her removal to other premises, we must indeed conclude - as our young lady soon did - that the parcel was in actual fact addressed to none other than her."

"But, if you'll permit me to interrupt you here, Holmes, is that dismissal not perhaps yet in the way of being over-hasty? Granted, it does not seem likely, but less likely occurrences are a daily staple of our newspaper. And as for the lady 'neglecting' to inform her 'paramour' - as you somehow presumptuously put - of her change in address, might that not be explained by positing the attentions attested to by the parcel to be singularly unwelcome. A state of affairs - as it were - which would also explain the - to me, at any rate, though you seem not to have remarked on it - peculiar act of leaving such a parcel to the vicissitudes of a city-doorstep, rather than according it the delivery by hand it would seem to call for?"

"Ah, astute reasoning, my friend, and indeed, the features you point out would all be of great interest were it not for a further fact at our disposal, which will make things at once clearer, and yet prodigiously more murky!

"Oh come on, Holmes! Enough of these gnomic utterances - they are becoming rather tiresome. The facts, if you please."

"Very well then. The fact is, dear Watson, that the identity of the sender is no longer in doubt! And, by extension, neither is the intended receptor of the parcel!"

"So, that is not the mystery we are to solve then? But how, Holmes, and what then?"

"No, indeed not, Watson, although intimately related to the identity of the sender, his name nor his occupation nor even his place of abode form the subject of our inquiries. As for the 'how' - well, I mentioned I believe, that the lady had but recently established residence at the address written here. Of course, the process of such a removal is an arduous one, and not to be attempted without specialised help. And it was precisely such help that the lady had contracted to help her, in the form of a young man of somewhat low standing but honest demeanour - here I quote the lady verbatim - who spent two days assisting her in the move with his sole means of support, an ox-cart. This is of course hardly what one would generally refer to as travelling in style, but the lady herself is in fact, lamentably in somewhat reduced circumstances, although waiting on an inheritance. Again, I merely repeat here what she has herself told me, of course. Nevertheless, she had spent some considerable time in the company of this young man on the various shuttles between her former and new homes."

"And no doubt you mean to tell me that it was this fellow who has had the impudence to make an advance to the present lady, who - if I infer correctly from what you have let fall - is in station far above him?"

"Indeed, Watson: bravo! Correct on both fronts. Yes, the lady is indeed of exquisite breeding and of an immaculate line, and hence far above our suspect in standing; and yes, it would indeed appear to be this fellow who has provided us with the opportunity to exercise our thoughts this eve."

"But on what grounds are these suspicions based, Holmes? I still feel you have not told me all, and indeed, it does seem unlikely, if only for the degree of impropriety evoked!"

"I should say it is based on pretty solid grounds, Watson. You see, when the lady bore the parcel into her boudoir, and there set it down upon a table while she puzzled over it, she noticed on this same table the detailed invoice left her by said removal-man. She was kind enough to furnish me with the self-same note, which... but if you'll be good enough to judge for yourself?"

And so saying, Holmes handed over to me a rather rough-textured sheet of paper on which was written, in a rather peculiar hand, an inventory of items, obviously the household of the lady concerned, which had been totalled, checked and billed. Leaving aside my instinctive distaste at this intimate glance into the detail of a scarcely-known young woman, I examined it closely and then compared it to the address written on the parcel, as I saw Holmes meant for me to.

"Mmh... indeed. A remarkable resemblance."

"Yes, if not conclusive, perhaps, certainly more than merely likely. Upon my own verification of this conjecture by our young lady, she then imparted to me that she and the lad had indeed engaged in rather a large amount of chatter during their two days of acquaintance, which now, in retrospect, might perhaps have been construed as rather encouraging - from his perspective. Enough, at any rate, to merit the liberty constituted by this parcel."

"A liberty which was however not adequately felt to facilitate a delivery by hand?"

"Precisely! One can imagine the trepidation with which the young man contemplated this daring show of affection to one who is, after all, by all convention and decorum at such a great remove from himself. Rather perform the gesture and shy from the vague expectation of scorn than have it visited upon him physically, and to his face!"

"Yes, indeed, and scorn indeed one must assume is what the lady regards this intrusion upon her privacy with?"

"Aha! But precisely not, my old friend! And at last we happen upon the very fabric of the mystery we must unravel! Because the fact is - and this the lady imparted to me with admirable and refreshing candour - that at the realisation of the parcel's origin, the lady was rather overcome by a pleasant, stomach-clenching, fluttery, apprehensive, overwhelming, distressing, buoyant, triumphant, deeply fearful and sickening emotion: in short, all that which we recognise as love! And it is this puzzle which we, my friend, must piece together: leaving aside the forbidding chasm of social niceties which seem to all but preclude it, not to mention the brevity of their acquaintance - how is it possible that this parcel can exert such a strong and peculiar effect upon our young lady? In short, what we must henceforth apply our considerable talents to is the discovery of which element of this parcel - and by extension, the man who sent it! - is that which has the power of eliciting such a powerful and unreasonable response from our young lady."

"Ah! At last is becomes clear! Then let us proceed. But I assume you have already cast your astute eye over every detail at length?"

"But of course. Nevertheless, I should no doubt be edified to see what your fresh eye can discover in the limited material at our disposal. Please - feel free to examine each article here contained at your leisure, and be not inhibited from pointing out any feature that catches your attention, no matter how small it may seem. As you know, it is often in the smallest things that the greatest breakthroughs reside!"

"Very well then - I must admit to be somewhat intrigued by the rather unusual nature of this quest. Where would you have me start?"

"Why not at the same place that our damsel in distress did - with the handwriting?"

"A marvellous idea - as you know, I am something of a keen - if dilettantish - graphologist. Let us what we may discover! Have we more than the address, and this catalogue of chattel?"

"Why certainly - so caddish the boy is not to neglect the inclusion of a saccharine and sentimental card; you know the type. Here you go."

Holmes had indeed not exaggerated his description - what type of card it would be was immediately apparent from the banal yet cloying cover: a yellowish reproduction of one of the new-fangled daguerreotypes, though done on admirably glossy paper. It showed a young girl, behatted and beribboned, clutching a puppy. I could not help arching a conservative eye-brow, but resolved to reserve judgment for the contents. Mercifully, the card was not accompanied by one of those pre-composed printed messages that I find so unbearably trite. As I already feel thoroughly reserved about so far having breached the confidence of a privately-written correspondence, and moreover one of such intimate a nature, I shall refrain from quoting that message here, but suffice it to say that it seemed fairly typical for a card of that type, but was fortunately lengthy enough to provide a veritable specimen of our young lover's hand, having settled my monocle firmly in place I spent some minutes perusing the card closely and then sat back ruminatively.

(To Be Concluded...)

Hugo Johan

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