User:Neil Conley

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Neil Conley is a pseudonym. Until September 2007, my username was 'Neoconned'. My contributions under that username are here.
My Wikipedia account

Web picks:
Stephen Heller fund
Brian Haw
Craig Murray
Der Spiegel flight database
News Hounds
Reykjavik Transit
Stop the War UK
Trevor Paglen

Winston could not definitely remember a time when his country had not been at war, but it was evident that there had been a fairly long interval of peace during his childhood, because one of his early memories was of an air raid which appeared to take everyone by surprise... In his childish way Winston [had] grasped that some terrible thing, something that was beyond forgiveness and could never be remedied, had just happened. It also seemed to him that he knew what it was. Someone whom the old man loved -- a little granddaughter, perhaps had been killed. Every few minutes the old man kept repeating: "We didn't ought to 'ave trusted 'em. I said so, Ma, didn't I? That's what comes of trusting 'em. I said so all along. We didn't ought to 'ave trusted the buggers." But which buggers they didn't ought to have trusted Winston could not now remember.

Since about that time, war had been literally continuous, though strictly speaking it had not always been the same war... The enemy of the moment always represented absolute evil, and it followed that any past or future agreement with him was impossible. [2]

Bottled it

  1. Fearing a legal circus, and further exposure of the CIA's use of North Carolina as a hub for its kidnap and torture flights, the Johnston County District Attorney has decided to drop trespass charges against three activists from North Carolina Stop Torture Now. The charges arose from an attempt to conduct a citizen's arrest on the premises of kidnap airline Aero Contractors.
  2. Fearing the wrath of its powerful ally, Germany has dropped efforts to extradite the 13 CIA agents accused of complicity in the kidnap and torture of Khaled El-Masri.

Forthcoming events

  • October 18th: The House Committee on Foreign Affairs is holding a hearing on the extraordinary rendition of Maher Arar. More details here.
  • October 27th: North Carolina Stop Torture Now are holding a rally in Smithfield, NC, against the use of their state as a hub for the CIA's rendition flights. Events will include a march to the headquarters of Aero Contractors. Details here.

Rendition good, journalists bad

CIA chief Michael Hayden is worried about journalists reporting on his agency's use of kidnap and torture: "Revelations of sources and methods--and an impulse to drag anything CIA does to the darkest corner of the room--can make it very difficult for us to do our vital work... In a war that largely depends on our success in collecting intelligence on the enemy, publishing information on our sources and methods can be just as damaging as revelations of troop or ship movements were in the past."[3]

And there's really no need for journalists to take an interest, because renditions are invariably "...conducted lawfully, responsibly, and with a clear and simple purpose: to get terrorists off the streets and gain intelligence on those still at large."[4]

He must be talking about the lawful and responsible kidnap and torture of Khaled El-Masri in 2003, based on having a name one letter different to a known terrorist suspect, and on a hunch of the head of the CIA's Counterterrorist Center's al Qaeda unit.[5] More on Hayden's spectacularly dishonest speech here.

Our friends in the South

According to veteran Canadian intelligence hack Stéphane Lefebvre: "I saw no role for TC Intel to play with respect to a friendly visit to Canada from our friends in the south. Since when do we have to worry about the CIA visiting Canada?". [6]

Indeed. What could there possibly be to worry about?

Impunity no more

NEW: Kidnap pilot James Kovalesky flew his Cessna runabout down to Bob Sikes Airport recently. That just happens to be where those rude boys at Tepper Aviation are based. Birds of a feather, flock together? (Hat tip: North Carolina Stop Torture Now)

  • "Get orff my land!" It's been a favourite saying of English farmers since time immemorial. And now it's being used by CIA pilot James Kovalesky (alias James Richard Fairing) as he chases off reporters asking awkward questions. For example, about how he allegedly aided and abetted the kidnap and torture of an innocent man. I hope he's got a good attorney.
  • Kovalesky's co-pilot on the El-Masri kidnapping flight was Eric Robert Hume (alias Eric Matthew Fain). When those pesky German journalists come calling, Hume has some different methods of dealing with them. The first time, he sent his father out to note down their license plate number (that's what dads are for!) The second time, the local sheriff's department showed up and warned the journalists they were committing a parking offence (clearly much more serious than torture). You can watch the second doorstepping incident in this video. If you can't understand German, this machine-translated transcript is clear enough to allow you to follow the report.
  • 'Kirk James Bird' was the alias of the third pilot on the El-Masri flight. Of the 850,000 records in the FAA pilot database, only 90 match or are a superset of Bird's set of certificates and certificate ratings. Of those ninety people, only one has "Kirk" anywhere in his name. And that person just happens to live in Clayton, North Carolina - the same town as Kovalesky and Hume. With a golf course as his backyard. Step forward, Harry Kirk Elarbee (alias Kirk James Bird).
  • Lyle Edgard Lumsden III is the only currently identified member of the El-Masri kidnap 'cabin crew' - and is also the only suspect who travelled under his real name, rather than an alias.

UK political leaders

They really said that

  • Rep. Dana Rohrabacher to antiwar protesters at a Congressional hearing: "Well, I hope it's your families. I hope it's your families that suffer the consequences."[7]
  • Michael Scheuer on innocent victims of extraordinary rendition: "Mistakes are made... They're not Americans. I really don't care" (laughs).[8]
  • Gordon Brown in praise of Paul Dacre: " editor who has devised and delivered one of the great newspaper success stories of any generation... He also shows great personal warmth and kindness, as well as great journalistic skill."
  • John Reid: "My boy Kevin is not doing anything, he can come in and I will find a way of paying him."
  • John Reid: "You don't have to tell any lies. Do you know what I mean?... They cannot prove anything, Alex." [9]

My current interests on SourceWatch

Recent articles

Rendition, CIA aviation, and private military corporations

British domestic politics


  • A year ago, they lulled everyone into a false sense of security by saying they were putting them on hold. But now the UK government has announced that it will in fact be pressing ahead with electronic voting trial schemes.
  • Will the real Doug Lewis please stand up? He says he was executive director of the Democratic Party in Kansas and Texas. But all the contemporary sources say he was running the Republican Party in those states. He surely didn't run both, did he?

Other interests

Three very useful resources for SW contributors

Technical interests

Database errors

These seem to be happening more frequently, of late. I'm going to list them here:

  • Caused by trying to use an accented "c" within an internal link:
A database query syntax error has occurred. This may indicate a bug in the software. The last attempted database query was: (SQL query hidden) from within function "Parser::replaceLinkHolders". MySQL returned error "1271: Illegal mix of collations for operation ' IN ' (".

Things I'd like to know

My articles

Quick links

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