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THINGS THEY SAY

"DEAF? IF you stand next to a steel band, no wonder you're deaf."

  • PRINCE PHILIP to a group of deaf young people

"WHEN people meet Tony Blair they should say, 'What about disability, what about asylum?' I'd like to see these politicians living on 60 or 70 quid a week."

  • TONY BOOTH, father of Cherie Blair

"FRANK Dobson does not like it but he will have to lump it. By the time we enter Kosovo we will find no medical facilities and hordes of local people on the point of dying. Dobson will be told this is an humanitarian emergency and he cannot argue with that."

  • SENIOR GOVERNMENT SOURCE to the Sunday Times on plans to call up NHS doctors with military ties

"LABOUR NOW has this huge majority and it does nothing socialist. Its badge is rocket salad rather than radicalism, and Lord Irvine is the most pompous man in the government even if he is now wearing trousers and not breeches."

  • Playwright JOHN MORTIMER, recently knighted by Labour

"TURKEY IS a country that is making daily a unique contribution to the peace, stability and prosperity of a region extending from Europe to central Asia to the Middle East."

  • US ambassador MARK PARRIS

"SO LONG as there is breath in me the US will never-I repeat, never-allow its national security decisions to be judged by the International Criminal Court."

  • Right wing US senator and Tony Blair fan JESSE HELMS

"WEALTH MAY be stored in jewellery. It is right to take account of that wealth."

  • Home Office minister MIKE O'BRIEN on why asylum seekers might have to sell their wedding rings before receiving assistance

A FIRST GM EXPERIMENT

THE US and Britain stockpiled biological weapons designed to destroy crops in the 1950s and 1960s, says an article in the current edition of the Scientific American journal. During the Second World War Britain used various herbicides for its anti-crop warfare and some of those plant killers were used in the war in Malaya in the 1950s. The US anti-crop weapons were targeted at wheat in the Soviet Union and rice in Asia. Between 1951 and 1969 the US stockpiled more than 30,000 kilogrammes of a fungus that destroyed wheat. The authors say that "quantity is probably enough to infect every wheat plant on the planet".

The US also redesigned a 500 pound bomb, originally meant to drop propaganda leaflets, to fill it with birds' feathers to carry the deadly spores far and wide. This shows up the utter hypocrisy of the US and Britain, which have advocated and used biological weapons, yet excuse the regular bombing of Iraqi civilians on the grounds that Iraq might have developed them.


THE prosecutors in an Old Bailey trial over alleged arms smuggling had to abandon the case after they acknowledged that the involvement of corrupt members of the West Midlands police drugs squad had made it untenable. The officers had been the key handlers of an informant in the trial. But one of them was suspended over corruption allegations. Another resigned before a disciplinary hearing, became a journalist and encouraged the informant to sell the story to a national newspaper. A barrister for one of the accused said the case showed evidence of "a cosy relationship between the corrupt informant and corrupt police officers".


Steady, aim, fire

A BUSH fire at the British military base in Episkopi in Cyprus was seen as the ideal opportunity to test out one of seven high tech fire engines. They cost £250,000 each and the firefighting kit inside the engine is supposed to be "the envy of many a fire service in the UK".

But the kit burst into flames and the military had to call for help from a Cypriot water tanker. And we are supposed to be safe in the hands of army scabs if the government forces firefighters in Britain to strike to defend their conditions and the service.



Whaddaya say, Jack?

ONE OF the five New York cops charged with torturing a Haitian immigrant in August 1997 has pleaded guilty. Officer Justin Volpe changed his plea after fellow officers lined up to implicate him in court.

One officer described how Volpe bragged about the assault on Abner Louima in a toilet in the New York City precinct station and was showing off the blood and excrement on his nightstick. The officer said Volpe boasted he "took a stick and put it five or six inches up [Mr Louima's rectum], took it out and put it up to his mouth and teeth area, kind of like showing it to him." Abner was taken to hospital with serious injuries including torn tissue between his bowel and bladder.

The other four officers are accused of beating up Abner in a squad car and one is accused of covering up the incident. This is the reality behind "zero tolerance on crime" which home secretary Jack Straw wants to copy in Britain.


GUESS who is spearheading criticism of the NATO bombing in the Chinese media? None other than Rupert Murdoch, through his Phoenix television service. While his papers in Britain are urging the blasting of Yugoslavia by air, in China Phoenix television is riding the tide of anger at NATO's warmongering.


Vote for Spock

NEW LABOUR'S leaflet for its Greater London Euro election includes bizarre profiles of the candidates. Typical is Pauline Green, who feels she must tell us she is a Star Trek fan and listens to Dusty Springfield. Then there is Shaun Spiers, who apparently has "twice been the judge of the Champion Beer of Britain competition".

More sinister is the profile of Claude Moraes, who we are told "until recently ran a large charity". Is New Labour too embarrassed to mention that he is the former director of the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants?