The Independent reports that up to 13 Iraqis died when US soldiers fired on a group of people in Fallujah protesting about the the Americans’ occupation of a school, which they wanted reopened. The soldiers said some people had guns and they felt threatened. Well, to stop feeling threatened they could perhaps try leaving the country. Obviously some policing needs to be done by someone, but preferably by people who know what they’re doing. If the US is at all serious in its claim that the war is “over” and the people of Iraq have been “liberated”, it must put a stop to these Wild West-style shoot-outs. Amnesty International says: “the USA and the UK [must] deploy forces in sufficient numbers and with the right training and equipment to restore law and order, until Iraqi police forces can operate effectively.” Apart from the killing of those 13 people, the saddest part of this story is that the formerly mild-mannered headmaster of the school in question now says he is willing to become a martyr to avenge the Americans.
Elsewhere in the Independent, it is reported that David Blunkett says Labour could benefit from a supposed “Baghdad bounce” boost in support among its working-class voters at the local elections this week. The home secretary says criticism of the war is “a class issue”, implying that only the middle classes opposed it. When I went on the march through London on 15th February with two million other people, I didn’t notice much of a class divide, David, although I guess you probably weren’t there to see for yourself (no sick pun intended, but I don’t know how else to put it). Anyway, as ever it’s reassuring to see a Labour politician – the home secretary at that – exploiting the class divide to win cheap political points.
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Meanwhile, spamming (sending junk email that is, not slapping people on the forehead) has officially become a criminal offence in the US state of Virginia, according to this report from Internet Magazine. A BBC 10 O’Clock News item on this subject also found that up to half of the millions of emails people now receive worldwide every day are unsolicited adverts for various rubbish, and even more incredibly, something like 90% of all spam ultimately derives from just 180 people around the world. All of which reminds me, I must update Spamcat…